Cowles v. McHugh

The clinic has represented William Cowles, an Army National Guard veteran who was honorably discharged but illegally denied medical retirement. The Army discharged him based on an erroneous diagnosis of Adjustment Disorder when he should have been medically retired for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and the Army failed to follow its own discharge rules in his case. When Mr. Cowles requested that the Army Board for the Correction of Military Records (ABCMR) correct his discharge, the Board refused. The clinic then represented Mr. Cowles in seeking judicial review in a U.S. District Court.  After briefing and argument on cross-motions for summary judgment, the district court granted Mr. Cowles’ motion for summary judgment and denied that of the government, holding that the Army had violated its own regulations regarding separations based on Adjustment Disorder and the ABCMR had erred in relying on the Army’s diagnosis.  The district court also denied a subsequent Army motion for reconsideration.  On remand, the ABCMR corrected Mr. Cowles’ records to reflect that he was placed on the temporary disability retired list, and then removed from the temporary disability retired list and placed on the permanent disability retired list at 100 percent disability.

Opinion and order denying Army motion for reconsideration, No. 3:13-cv-01741-JCH (D.Conn. Nov. 4, 2014)

Opinion and order granting summary judgment to Mr. Cowles, No. 3:13-cv-01741-JCH (D.Conn. Sept. 30, 2014)

Complaint, Cowles v. McHugh, No. 3:13-cv-01751-JCH (Nov. 21, 2013)

Resources for Veterans Seeking Discharge Upgrade

Media Clips:

Connecticut veteran sues Army over PTSD diagnosis, benefits denial, Associated Press, Nov. 23, 2013.