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Personality Disorder Discharge
Précis of the Complaint

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT

VIETNAM VETERANS OF AMERICA CONNECTICUT GREATER HARTFORD CHAPTER 120 and VIETNAM VETERANS OF AMERICA v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF
Over the past nine years, the Department of Defense ("DoD") and its component and subcomponent services have systematically and wrongfully discharged nearly 26,000 service members who have service-connected disabilities on the basis of so-called "Personality Disorder." Veterans who responded courageously to the government's call to action after September 11, 2001 by serving in the Armed Forces have returned home only to find that DoD's Personality Disorder designation prevents them from accessing service-connected disability benefits and veterans health care. By carelessly disregarding the Personality Disorder regulations which were promulgated for the benefit of service members, DoD has broken the United States' longstanding promise to provide for its veterans.

Veterans' advocates such as Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), a nonprofit organization whose founding principle is "Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another," pushed Congress to investigate DoD's mistreatment of service members in 2007. Although DoD discharged significantly fewer service members on the basis of Personality Disorder after this Congressional investigation, DoD refuses to admit that it mistreated veterans or to repair the harm that its punitive practice has caused to those it discharged on this basis in 2001-07.  As a result, thousands of veterans who served their country and whom DoD discharged on the basis of Personality Disorder are now unable to access the service-connected disability compensation and medical care they are due.

This is an action under the Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA"), 5 U.S.C. § 552, for declaratory and injunctive relief to compel the disclosure and release of agency records improperly withheld from VVA by Defendant U.S. Department of Defense. Plaintiffs seek to compel the release of records pertaining to Defendant's use of Personality Disorder discharges, since renamed "Adjustment Disorder" and "Readjustment Disorder" discharges, when separating service members from the armed forces and the National Guard Bureau. Plaintiffs seek these records in order to clarify the extent to which Defendant has misused Personality Disorder, Adjustment Disorder, and Readjustment Disorder discharges; and in order to insist on reforms that will prevent misuse of these discharges in the future and help improperly discharged veterans access the benefits they have earned.

 

 

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