Navy Veteran Client Secures Discharge Upgrade

June 29, 2021

Cleary Gottlieb successfully represented Mr. B, a Navy veteran, in an application for a discharge upgrade from the Board for Correction of Naval Records (“BCNR”).

After twelve years of service, Mr. B, who received multiple accolades culminating in promotion to First Class Petty Officer, received an “Other Than Honorable Discharge” in 2002 for wrongful use of controlled substances. In 2020, Mr. B was diagnosed with PTSD due to physical and emotional spousal abuse that began in 1996 and continued throughout Mr. B’s service. The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) then service-connected Mr. B’s PTSD in light of evidence establishing a link between the PTSD symptoms exhibited during and after service and the in-service stressor.

Later in 2020, Cleary represented Mr. B by obtaining critical evidence and drafting and submitting a brief to the BCNR arguing the discharge was inequitable due to the circumstances that led to the misconduct, and additionally, that significant meritorious aspects in the record outweighed the misconduct. On June 29, 2021, the BCNR ordered Mr. B’s discharge characterization be upgraded to “General (Under Honorable Conditions).” Veterans whom receive this classification are entitled to all VA benefits except GI Bill education benefits.

Mr. B was referred to the firm and also assisted throughout by the Veterans Consortium, a Washington, D.C.-based pro bono project providing legal representation and assistance to veterans in need.