A Texas jury has awarded $2.49 million to an Army reservist who lost his job as a Texas state trooper when he developed a debilitating illness caused by exposure to burn pits while serving overseas.
Former Army Capt. Le Roy Torres, who together with his wife Rosie led a decade-long fight for recognition of burn pits as a health risk and landmark legislation to provide benefits for sickened veterans, won a lawsuit Friday against the state of Texas for violations of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act.
Torres first filed a lawsuit in 2017 charging that the state denied his request to remain on the force in an administrative capacity — an accommodation for his service-related disability. Instead, he said, he was forced to retire and then denied a disability retirement pension from the state.
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The Texas Department of Public Safety argued that it couldn't be sued in the case without giving consent to being sued — permission that is granted only by the state legislature.
The case made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which sided with Torres, sending the case back to Texas.
In a statement to Military.com on Monday, Torres described his fight over his job as “grueling” and said he felt vindicated by the ruling.
“As citizen soldiers, we deserve to keep our professions when we return…