I am in San Francisco enjoying the scenery and getting ready for a panel on sexual assaults in the military at Hastings College of Law on Friday.  And this came across my desk:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 25, 2012

Advisory: More Than 20 Vets to Allege Military Sexual Assaults; Rep. Jackie Speier to Join Survivors, Advocates for News Conference – Friday

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – A new lawsuit will be filed Friday in San Francisco federal court on behalf of more than 20 U.S. Army and Air Force veterans who allege they were sexually assaulted during their military service.

The sexual assault survivors, who are from a dozen states, will bring suit against Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and the secretaries of the U.S. Army and the U.S. Navy, among others, alleging failure to protect them from rape and sexual assault while on active duty.

This is the fifth federal lawsuit of its kind filed by attorney Susan Burke whose work was featured in the groundbreaking documentary The Invisible War<http://invisiblewarmovie.com>. Ms. Burke and the plaintiffs in the lawsuit will speak at a post-filing news conference. They will be joined by leading advocates from Protect Our Defenders and the American Association of University Women.

Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) will also join the news conference to speak about her efforts in Congress to reform the military justice system and the way it handles cases of rape and sexual assault. In November 2011, she introduced H.R. 3435, the Sexual Assault Training and Oversight Prevention Act (STOP Act) that would create an impartial office made up of civilian and military experts within the military to review cases of rape and sexual assault. The bill has 133 bipartisan cosponsors.

What:
• A post-filing news conference with lawsuit plaintiffs, their legal counsel, and leading advocates of reform of the military justice system.
• Congresswoman Jackie Speier will discuss the STOP Act and its status in Congress.

Who:
• Veterans participating in the lawsuit
• Congresswoman Jackie Speier<http://speier.house.gov/>
• Susan Burke, Burke PLLC<http://burkepllc.com/>, Washington, D.C., lead counsel for the survivors
• Katie Weber, Advocacy Board Member, Protect Our Defenders<http://www.protectourdefenders.com/>
• Kathleen Cha, Director, American Association of University Women<http://aauw.org/>

When:
Friday, Sept. 28, 2012, 11:30 a.m. Pacific

Where:
TBA  Alumni Reception Center 
UC Hastings College of the Law
200 McAllister St., San Francisco, CA, 94102

In addition to the Ciaoca litigation and the litigation to be disclosed above you can see this FTCAclaim decision from federal district court in NC in Durden v. United States.  This relates to the Pernell court-martial that we followed for some time.  Here is an announcement of the Durden lawsuit.

Here is a selection of links to Pernell’s court-martial.

http://fayobserver.com/articles/2010/12/08/1053976?sac=Mil

http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/8751141/

5 Responses to “Civil sexual assault litigation”

  1. Charlie Gittins says:

    Quere . . . . Shouldn’t this be a Rule 11 issue?  The Feres doctrine is settled law and if this is the 5th lawsuit an attorney has filed with 4 previous dismissals on Feres grounds, I would expect that Rule 11 sanctions would follow. Am I missing something?

  2. Lieber says:

    Well, I’ve known about this for a while but now can mention it since it just hit the press…this is going to only get more high-profile now that we have a GO charged under Article 120 today (preferred anyway).

    Also, anyone else notice that there were cases missing from that giant tracker they sent out a few weeks ago for the Congressional reporting?  They’re still not capturing everything.

  3. Lieber says:

    Also,  what’s the relevance of the FTCA case?  It doesn’t apply to an SM victim.

  4. Christopher Mathews says:

    Charlie, I would imagine a lawyer could avoid Rule 11 sanctions by acknowledging Feres and articulating a colorable argument for a change to the law … at least until the argument reaches, and is rejected by, the Supreme Court.

  5. Just Sayin' says:

    Yeah. Agree with CM. This looks like an attempt to argue that Feres is bullshit and provides the government a means to escape accountability for its own misconduct (which it is).