PTSD and MST Issues in Veterans' Disability Cases: New Developments

Veterans Clinic Symposium

November 11, 2014
Hulston Hall

Speakers

Keynote: Representing Service Victims

Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Richard C. Harding

hardingFormer leader of the Judge Advocate General Corps of the United States Air Force

Richard C. Harding was the judge advocate general of the United States Air Force, the highest-ranking attorney in the Air Force. In that role, he was responsible for over 2,200 uniformed and 300 civilian lawyers.

Harding is a graduate of the University of Arkansas and the University of Arkansas School of Law (in 1975 and 1979, respectively). He received a direct commission as a first lieutenant in 1980 and was assigned to Bitburg Air Base in West Germany. Over the next few decades, Harding rose through the ranks of the United States Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Corps and served as the staff judge advocate to six separate commands: 12th Flying Training Wing, 3d Wing, United States Strategic Command, Headquarters 8th Air Force, Headquarters Air Force Space Command, and Headquarters Air Combat Command. From 2007 to 2010, he served as the commander of the Air Force Legal Operations Agency. In 2010, he was promoted to lieutenant general (skipping the rank of major general) and became the judge advocate general of the United States Air Force.

Harding’s term as the judge advocate general ended on Jan. 31, 2014 and he retired from the United States Air Force on Feb. 28, 2014.

Panelists

Honorable Michael W. Bradley, ’78

Associate Circuit Judge
13th Judicial Circuit of Missouri

bradleyMichael W. Bradley, ’78, is an associate circuit judge for Division IX of the 13th Judicial Circuit of Missouri in Boone County. He was appointed to that position by Governor Jeremiah W. “Jay” Nixon, ’81, in 2011 and was elected to the same position in 2012. In addition to his regular criminal docket, Division IX presides over DWI Court, Mental Health Court and Veterans Treatment Court.

Before his appointment, Bradley served as chief counsel for the Missouri Gaming Commission, was legal counsel to the Missouri Department of Public Safety and the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

For 15 years, Bradley was a statewide special prosecutor for the Missouri Attorney General’s Office. He was also in private practice in Carrollton, Mo., was the elected prosecuting attorney of Carroll County, Mo., served as associate circuit judge of Carroll County and was as an assistant city attorney in Kansas City. He has served on the Missouri Supreme Court’s Committee on Procedure in Criminal Cases.

Bradley earned his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Missouri.

Ryan G. Gill

Student Legislative Representative
MU Student Veterans Association

gillRyan Gill is a native of Portageville, Mo., and is a 2006 graduate of Portageville High School. He is president of the Mizzou Student Veterans Association (MSVA); serves on the board of directors of the Columbia, Mo., homeless veterans’ shelter, Welcome Home Inc.; and is currently in undergraduate studies at the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources.

Upon enlisting in the Missouri Army National Guard in 2007, he was ordered to Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., for Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training (AIT) as a 31B Military Policeman. Shortly after graduation from AIT he was attached to the 1175th Military Police Company and began mobilization for a Police Transition Training mission for Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2008 to 2009. Following the earthquake in Haiti, Gill served two rotations as Team Leader in the 1175th & 1137th Military Police Companies on a humanitarian and reconstruction mission throughout the summer of 2010. He was mobilized once again to Camp As-Sayliyah, Qatar, from 2011 to 2012 with the 1137th Military Police Company in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and conducted base and escort security operations for the entirety of that deployment.

As president of the MSVA and a member of the Welcome Home Inc. Board of Directors, Gill has the unique privilege of interacting daily with student and local veterans on a personal basis. The relationships he has forged with fellow veterans during his time at MU have granted him access to transparent and often uninhibited conversations with more than 350 veterans currently attending the University of Missouri. One of the most commonly discussed issues surrounding veterans is that of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The environment of military camaraderie the MSVA embodies has provided Gill with a platform to engage in veritable discourse with individuals who typically don’t provide much insight to the conditions surrounding their post-traumatic experiences.

Timothy C. Harlan, ’74

Partner
Harlan, Harlan & Still

harlanTimothy C. Harlan, ’74, is a partner in the firm of Harlan, Harlan & Still in Columbia, Mo., and limits his practice to the representation of disabled claimants before the Social Security Administration and the federal courts.

In 1994, Harlan was elected to represent the 23rd District in the Missouri House of Representatives and was re-elected in 1996, 1998 and 2000. He served as chair of the Critical Issues Committee and as the co-chair of four interim committees on healthcare issues. During his tenure, he focused on healthcare issues, including acting as the author and chief sponsor of HB335 in 1997, legislation that remains a model for managed care regulation nationwide; and as House sponsor in 1999 of the first successful nursing home reform legislation in 20 years. In 2001 he was the chief sponsor of the nation’s strongest health insurance prompt pay legislation.

Harlan has long been involved with the National Alliance on Mental Illness, serving on the Missouri NAMI board for 9 years, for 5 of those years as president; he has served as president of NAMI Columbia for many years and is a trained facilitator for the NAMI Family to Family program. In 2014 he returned as a member of the NAMI Missouri state board.

Harlan has represented Social Security Disability claimants for 34 years and restricts his practice to that area of the law. During that time he has represented thousands of claimants before administrative law judge hearings and argued hundreds of cases before the United States District Courts and the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. As a member of the National Organization of Social Security Representatives he has spoken at national seminars all over the country for more than 30 years on many disability topics, but primarily on mental health issues.

Harlan is a 1971 graduate of Westminster College and a 1974 graduate of the University of Missouri School of Law. In 1996 he attended the Program for Senior State and Local Executives at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

Amy Odom

Director of Litigation
National Veterans Legal Services Program

odomAmy Odom serves as the director of litigation for the National Veterans Legal Services Program in Washington, D.C. NVLSP is the pre-eminent think tank when it comes to veterans disability law. Odom wrote portions of the Veterans Benefits Manual, used by many practitioners and most law school clinicsk, and is admitted to practice before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. She is a member of the District of Columbia Bar.

As an NVLSP staff attorney, Odom represents veterans and survivors before federal courts, the Board of Veterans’ Appeals and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ regional offices. Her practice also involves mentoring and advising pro bono attorneys representing veterans and survivors through NVLSP’s Lawyers Serving Warriors® program, as well as pro bono attorneys representing appellants through the Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program. She currently mentors students at the Veterans Clinic at the University of Missouri School of Law.

Dr. Grant O’Neal

PTSD Clinical Team Leader and MST Coordinator
Truman VA Medical Center

grantGrant O’Neal is the PTSD clinical team leader and MST coordinator at Truman VA Medical Center in Columbia, Mo. His administrative responsibilities include coordination and development of PTSD and MST treatment services, outreach and clinical supervision. Clinical responsibilities include evaluation, treatment planning and intervention, and clinical consultation.

O’Neal is a member of the VISN 15 Psychology Professional Standards Board. Previously, he was a psychologist for University of Missouri Behavioral Health and Family Counseling Center of Missouri. He is certified in cognitive processing and prolonged exposure therapies and is a member of the American Psychological Association.

Maj. Evan Seamone

Prosecuting Attorney
Office of Chief Prosecutor of Military Commissions

seamoreEvan Seamone is a major in the U.S. Army and has served for the past 12 years as an active duty judge advocate. He is currently assigned to the Pentagon as a prosecutor with the Office of Chief Prosecutor of Military Commissions and is responsible for cases involving terrorism and the acts of unlawful enemy belligerents tried at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, under the Military Commissions Act of 2009. Prior to this assignment, Seamone supervised eight prosecuting attorneys and several civilian and military paralegals in one of the busiest criminal jurisdictions in the Army. During his tours in Iraq and Germany, and at domestic military installations, he has participated in sexual assault, complex death penalty and other felony criminal cases involving PTSD as a prosecutor and defense attorney.

Seamone has published more than 20 scholarly articles with law schools including Yale, Columbia, Georgetown and New York University on topics including psychology, medical malpractice, national security and international law, and court administration. His Military Law Review articles on enhanced legal counseling techniques for clients with suspected or diagnosed PTSD have been featured by state bar associations and the Arizona Public Defenders Association, and in training for military disability evaluation attorneys. Along with a number of preeminent attorneys and mental health professionals, Seamone contributed a book chapter to the volume The Attorneys’ Guide to Defending Veterans in Criminal Court, “The Counterinsurgency in Legal Counseling: Preparing Attorneys to Defend Combat Veterans Against Themselves in Criminal Cases.” He has written extensively about treatment-based sentencing alternatives in military courts-martial and the use of civilian Veterans Treatment and Mental Health Problem-Solving Courts by military organizations and commanders.

Recently, Seamone presented at the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims Judicial Conference regarding an article he co-wrote on understanding the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Character of Discharge review process for veterans separated with stigmatizing discharges. He has also trained attorneys at the Board of Veterans Appeals and Veterans Service Officers on this topic. After publishing the first ever article to assist custody evaluators and family court judges in improving their assessment of parents with PTSD, Seamone accepted an offer to edit a special edition of The Family Court Review devoted to military families and the courts. He worked hand-in-hand with various interdisciplinary authors (including psychiatrists, pediatricians, judges and attorneys) to address a wide range of family law issues currently facing veterans and their families. In 2013, he received the Meyer Elkin Essay Award from the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts for his Family Court Review article from a panel of distinguished interdisciplinary professionals. He is involved in the development of a standardized curriculum to assist family court judges in better understanding the unique needs of military families.

Seamone is a member of the U.S. Supreme Court Bar and the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. He is also licensed to practice in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces and the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans’ Claims. He holds a BA from the University of California, Los Angeles, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude; a master’s degree in public policy from the University of California, Los Angeles’s School of Public Policy and Social Research; a JD from the University of Iowa College of Law; and an LLM from The Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School, U.S. Army (Criminal Law Specialization).

Maj. Seamone’s Articles