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FREEHIILL OBTAINS DEFENSE VERDICT IN DEFENSE BASE ACT CLAIM OF POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER AND RESPIRATORY CONDITION

On November 8, 2019, Department of Labor Administrative Law Judge Dana Rosen issued a complete defense verdict in a DBA case which was tried by Freehill partner John Karpousis in Atlanta, Georgia. In William Cohen III v. Leidos the claimant, who was employed in Afghanistan for four years by a military contractor, claimed that he had post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”) resulting from rocket attacks which occurred while he was employed in a war zone. He also alleged that exposure to burn pits and dust storms resulted in a respiratory condition. Defending the claimant’s employer we argued that the claimant does not have PTSD because his condition did not meet the medical elements of PTSD. We also argued that the claimant’s respiratory condition, and any psychological condition, did not arise from his employment in Afghanistan. The judge found that the claimant met the Section 20(a) presumption that a harm occurred and that working conditions existed that could have caused or contributed to the harm. However, the judge then found that on behalf of the employer we had presented substantial evidence to rebut the presumption. Without the presumption, the evidence in the case was weighed as a whole, and the judge determined that on a preponderance of the evidence the claimant had not submitted sufficient evidence that either PTSD or a respiratory condition arose from his employment in Afghanistan.

The case was defended by Freehill partners John Karpousis and Michael Tucker. To read Judge Rosen’s 65 page decision, click HERE.