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Monk v. U.S.
On November 28, 2022, Conley Monk Jr., a Black veteran who served in the Vietnam War, filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking redress for harm caused by longstanding racial disparities in U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administration of veterans’ benefits programs.
For nearly fifty years after returning home from Vietnam, the VA improperly denied Mr. Monk’s applications for education, housing, and disability compensation. Only in December 2020 did the VA finally acknowledge that Mr. Monk was, in fact, eligible all along. Since then, Mr. Monk has obtained records from the VA showing a statistically significant difference in benefits claims outcomes between Black and white veterans. Specifically, the data shows that for decades, the VA denied the benefit applications of Black veterans at higher rates than their white counterparts. Thus, a Black veteran applying for his or her statutorily provided benefits was more likely to be denied than a white veteran.
Mr. Monk’s lawsuit, brought under the Federal Tort Claims Act, challenges the failure of VA leaders to redress longstanding racial discrimination in VA’s benefits programs. Should Mr. Monk prevail, not only will this victory provide justice for him, but it could provide a legal pathway for the thousands of Black veterans like him who have suffered because of the VA’s discriminatory actions.
For additional information about this lawsuit, see the documents linked below.
Complaint (Nov. 28, 2022)
FTCA administrative claim on behalf of Conley Monk, Jr. (Feb. 25, 2022)
FTCA administrative claim on behalf of the estate of Conley Monk, Sr. (Nov. 28, 2022)
Selected Press Documents and Media
Press Release (November 28th, 2022)
Alex Horton, Racial discrimination by Veterans Affairs spans decades, lawsuit says, Washington Post (Nov. 28, 2022)
Quil Lawrence, A Black Vietnam veteran is suing the VA for discrimination, NPR (Nov. 28, 2022)
Yash Roy, Vietnam Vet Sues Feds for Racial Bias, New Haven Independent (Nov. 30, 2022)
Mike Gooding, Lawsuit: Veterans Affairs Department discriminated against Black vets on benefits claims for decades, Channel 13 News (Nov. 28, 2022)