Meet Gordon Erspamer, VA's 'Worst Nightmare' in PTSD Benefits Case
A busy BigLaw rainmaker who has for nearly 30 years made time to promote the rights of armed services veterans “is a big, unresponsive government agency’s worst nightmare,” a California newspaper says.
Gordon Erspamer, a Morrison & Foerster partner who went to trial this week in a federal class action against the Veteran’s Administration that has attracted national attention, is an energy litigator in his usual practice. But he made it a priority to take time away from paying clients—four months so far—to fight for better disability and death benefits for the nation’s war veterans on a pro bono basis, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. The case is seeking veteran benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder.
Because of his efforts, PTSD and the high suicide rate among veterans are widely publicized issues, points out newspaper columnist C.W. Nevius. While still a law student, Erspamer first began fighting the VA on behalf of his father, who died from leukemia apparently related to the radiation exposure he suffered during nuclear bomb tests at the Bikini Atoll in 1946.
“I have no doubt in my mind that this will go to the Supreme Court,” Erspamer said this week of PTSD case, which he expects to continue for years. “But this is not only legally correct, it is morally correct. For me, this is personal.”
ABAJournal.com: “Claim: VA Failing to Address ‘Epidemic of Suicides’ “
ABAJournal.com: “Veterans Sue for Stress Disorder Benefits”