NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A federal lawsuit filed Monday alleges the Army has issued less-than-honorable discharges for potentially thousands of service members without adequately considering the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health conditions.
The plaintiffs, two Army veterans from Connecticut who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, say in the lawsuit that they were wrongly denied honorable discharges.
The lawsuit filed in Connecticut by Yale Law School Veterans Legal Services Clinic is seeking class-action status.
One of the plaintiffs, Steve Kennedy, said he developed PTSD and depression after fighting in Iraq in 2007 and 2008 and began abusing alcohol and cutting himself.
After going absent-without-leave to attend his own wedding, he was diagnosed by the Army with depression and received a general discharge because he had gone AWOL, according to the lawsuit.
Kennedy was later diagnosed with PTSD by the Department of Veterans Affairs, but his discharge status prevented him from receiving benefits including tax exemptions and scholarships that are open only to honorably discharged veterans, the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit targets the review boards that give veterans a chance to contest discharges that may have been unjustly harsh.