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Cooper-Harris Complaint FINAL

Cooper-Harris Complaint FINAL

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Published by WAMU885news
Complaint filed by Tracey Cooper-Harris against the Department of Defense requesting veterans' spousal benefits for her same-sex spouse.
Complaint filed by Tracey Cooper-Harris against the Department of Defense requesting veterans' spousal benefits for her same-sex spouse.

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Published by: WAMU885news on Feb 02, 2012
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07/10/2013

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 1COMPLAINTCASE NO. ________________ 
 
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JOSEPH J. LEVIN, JR.
(pro ha 
vi 
ce 
 
ion p 
nding) 
  joe.levin@splcenter.orgCHRISTINE P. SUN (SBN 218701)christine.sun@splcenter.orgCAREN E. SHORT
(pro ha 
vi 
ce 
 
ion p 
nding) 
 caren.short@splcenter.orgSOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER 400 Washington AvenueMontgomery, AL 36104Telephone: (334) 956-8200Facsimile: (334) 956-8481RANDALL R. LEE (SBN 152672)randall.lee@wilmerhale.comMATTHEW BENEDETTO (SBN 252379)matthew.benedetto@wilmerhale.comWILMER CUTLER PICKERING HALE AND DORR LLP350 South Grand Avenue, Suite 2100Los Angeles, CA 90071Telephone: (213) 443-5300Facsimile: (213) 443-5400DANIEL S. NOBLE (
pro ha 
vi 
ce 
 
ion p 
nding 
)daniel.noble@wilmerhale.comWILMER CUTLER PICKERING HALE AND DORR LLP399 Park Avenue New York, NY 10022Telephone: (212) 230-8800Facsimile: (212) 230-8888EUGENE MARDER (SBN 275762)eugene.marder@wilmerhale.comWILMER CUTLER PICKERING HALE AND DORR LLP950 Page Mill RoadPalo Alto, California 94304Telephone: (650) 858-6000Facsimile: (650) 858-6100Attorneys for PlaintiffsTRACEY COOPER-HARRIS and MAGGIE COOPER-HARRIS
(
Cap 
t  
ion Con 
t  
inu 
d on N 
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)
 
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 2COMPLAINTCASE NO. ________________ 
 
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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTCENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIATRACEY COOPER-HARRIS and ) Case No. _________________ MAGGIE COOPER-HARRIS, ))
COMPLAINT FOR
 Plaintiffs, )
DECLARATORY
,
 
v.
 
)
INJUNCTIVE
,
AND OTHER
)
RELIEF
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA; )
 
ERIC H. HOLDER, JR., in his official ) [
Violation of Equal Prot
ec
tion
capacity as Attorney General; and )
und
e
r th
e
Fifth Am
e
ndm
e
nt
ERIC K. SHINSEKI, in his official capacity )
to th
e
U
.
S
.
Con
s
titution]
as Secretary of Veterans Affairs, )))Defendants. ))
PRELIMINARYST ATEMENT
1.
 
This is an action by a disabled and decorated United States Army veteranand her same-sex spouse, who seek recognition by the U.S. Department of Veterans

tsafforded to other married veterans and their spouses.2.
 
Plaintiff Tracey Cooper-

States Army for approximately twelve years, nine in active duty, reaching the rank of Sergeant. In 2002, Tracey was deployed to Kyrgyzstan in support of OperationEnduring Freedom, and in 2003 Tracey was stationed in Kuwait in support of 
 
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 3COMPLAINTCASE NO. ________________ 
 
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Operation Iraqi Freedom, from which she was sent on frequent missions into Iraq.

ation, the United Statesgovernment awarded her with over two dozen medals and commendations, includingthree Army Commendation medals, five Army Achievement Medals, two Army GoodConduct Medals, and one Air Force Commendation Medal. In 2003, Traceycompleted her military service and received an honorable discharge.3.
 
In November 2008, Tracey married her same-sex spouse, plaintiff Maggie Cooper-

age and provides them with the samestatus, responsibilities, and protections as other legally married couples under statelaw.4.
 
In 2010, Tracey was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis by a neurologist ather local VA hospital. Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, often disabling disease that

cure. After being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, Tracey began making end-of-life preparations, including those to ensure some level of financial security for Maggie

 5.
 

-connected. As a result, Tracey receives disability compensation from the VA for her condition. Tracey also receives disability compensation from the VA for other service-connected conditions, including post-

anxiety disorder common among veterans that can be triggered by a traumatic event.6.
 
The VA provides a number of significant benefits to married veteransand their families, including additional disability benefits; Dependency and IndemnityCompensation, which provides monthly benefits to a surviving spouse after a veteranhas died from a service-connected injury or disease; and joint burial benefits for the

 

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