Gordon “Gordy” Erspamer, Senior Counsel with Morrison Foerster, has been fighting tirelessly for veterans’ rights. Gordy’s most recent victory, in front of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this year, provides hope to veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Describing problems at the VA as “egregious”, the court ordered the VA to overhaul its mental health system.
Prior to this, Gordy defended ‘atomic veterans’ (veterans suffering the consequences of radiation exposure during nuclear testing in the 1950s) and veterans subjected to secret government tests that occurred until the 1970s.
This is part 1 of the interview between Gordy Erspamer and Lisa Reep, Executive Director of the CCCBA. In it, Gordy also talks about the ‘deep-throat’ letters that helped him uncover the government’s deception and destruction of evidence.
Gordy is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the prestigious Pro Bono Publico award from the American Bar Association. Later this year, Gordy will also be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from The American Lawyer magazine in New York.
Congratulations on your recent victory for veteran’s rights in front of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit! In its ruling, the court ordered the Veteran’s Administration to fix what it described as “egregious problems”. Can you tell us a bit about the case and the Veteran’s Administration’s difficulties in providing timely access to care and benefits?
This wasn’t the first time you fought for veteran’s rights. In the past, you have also defended so-called “atomic veterans” and veterans subjected to secret government tests. How did you get involved working with veterans?
In 1986, the government was caught lying and destroying evidence. How did you overcome such challenges and how were you able to substantiate the claims of the veterans you represented?
Filed Under: Pro Bono