Justia Military Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
Jackson v. Tate, et al.
Plaintiff appealed a district court order dismissing for lack of subject matter jurisdiction his suit against defendants, asserting that federal constitutional and state common law torts arising out of allegations that defendant fraudulently enlisted plaintiff into the National Guard. At issue was whether plaintiff's suit was barred by the doctrine of intra-military immunity in Feres v. United States because it sought monetary damages for injuries arising out of or were in the course of activity incident to military service. The court held that the Feres doctrine did not bar a discharged serviceman, who remained in the Individual Ready Reserve, from suing active duty National Guard recruiters whom he accused of forging his signature on re-enlistment papers where the alleged injury was not incident to the plaintiff's service. The court also held that defendants met the prima facie test as federal employees under the Westfall Act, 28 U.S.C. 2671, and remanded for further factual determinations on this issue.
Veterans for Common Sense, et al v. James Peake, et al
Plaintiffs, two non-profit organizations, sought injunctive and declaratory relief to remedy the delays in the provision of mental health care and adjudication of service-connected death and disability compensation claims by the Department of Veterans Affairs ("VA"). At issue was whether these delays violated veterans' due process rights to receive the care and benefits they were guaranteed by statute for harms and injuries sustained while serving our country. While the court affirmed the district court's ruling, with respect to various claims for specific forms of relief under the Administrative Procedures Act ("APA"), 5 U.S.C. 500 et. seq., that the APA prevented the court from granting veterans the statutory relief they sought, the court reversed the district court's ruling on plaintiffs' constitutional claims and held that the VA's failure to provide adequate procedures for veterans facing prejudicial delays in the delivery of mental health care violated the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. The court further held that the district court erred in concluding that it lacked jurisdiction to review plaintiffs' due process challenge to delays and procedural deficiencies in the compensation claims adjudication system and that it erroneously denied plaintiffs' the relief to which they were entitled under the Due Process Clause.