Harvard Law Professor: Suing the VA Is Full of Challenges

Tuesday, 27 May 2014 04:24 PM

By Courtney Coren

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
Those affected by the scandal at Veterans Affairs hospitals across the country could file a class action lawsuit, but such a move also presents "some challenges," says I. Glenn Cohen, Harvard University Law School professor and medical ethics expert.

"The main vehicle for bringing a lawsuit here is a statute known as the Federal Torts Claims Act. This is a general statute by which the government waives its immunity when you try to sue it for the action of a federal official or a federal department, so that is the lawsuit they would have to bring," Cohen told John Bachman and Francesca Page on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV Tuesday.

"The problem with bringing that lawsuit is before you bring it, you're required to go to the agency that's responsible — this case the VA — and basically present the claim administratively for them, and only once they either deny it or give you less than you ask for can you then initiate suit in the federal courts," Cohen said. 

"Only then it could go to federal court, and once in federal court, there are additional challenges to bring this as a class action," he added.

Story continues below video.



If veterans or their loved ones want to seek legal redress, they have "a statute of limitations of two years, so they can't take too long."

Cohen explained that the downside to Federal Torts Claims Act lawsuits is that plaintiffs "can only get a maximum of 25 percent" of their attorney's fees covered, and it may be difficult to find attorneys "who are interested in pursing this" on the VA victims' behalf.

He also said that filing a lawsuit against the VA may not make much of difference in terms of "improving the quality of care."

Cohen contends that the political pressure VA officials are feeling right now will have the greatest effect.

"They are very responsive to these political pressures, and my guess is, in terms of changing the behavior and changing the VA protocol, they're much more likely to come first from the political process," he added.

According to allegations, secret wait lists were kept at several VA hospitals throughout the country to make it look like patients were not waiting more than the required 14-day period, while in some cases they were actually waiting for months. At the VA hospital in Phoenix, Arizona, 40 patients allegedly died while waiting to see a doctor.

President Barack Obama appointed White House deputy chief of staff Rob Nabors to oversee a review of the policies in place for patient safety and scheduling at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Related Stories:

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Author Coren: 'War on Christians' Is Epidemic

Wednesday, 26 Nov 2014 19:06 PM

In countries ranging from Pakistan to Nigeria, Christians are under systematic siege by hostile Muslims, and global poli . . .

Wayne Dupree: Not All Blacks Fear Police

Wednesday, 26 Nov 2014 18:25 PM

Despite the "collective liberal wisdom" that black Americans overwhelmingly resent police, especially in the wake of eve . . .

Rep. Erik Paulsen: Obama Medical Device Tax Will Be Repealed

Wednesday, 26 Nov 2014 18:25 PM

Critics of a tax on medical devices are so numerous in Congress that President Barack Obama should expect to see a repea . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved