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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winners are U.S. District Court Judge William Bertelsman and lawyer Marc Mezibov. They get the award for the following-

WASHINGTON - A federal judge temporarily has barred the government from publicizing its free credit monitoring offer to veterans whose personal data was stolen and wants to see if they might get a better federal offer.

Lawyers who have filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of the 26.5 million veterans and active-duty troops affected contend that accepting the government's offer could jeopardize their chance of winning more money in the privacy suit.

U.S. District Judge William Bertelsman in Kentucky scheduled a hearing this Friday to determine whether the Veterans Affairs Department should revise its offer. His order on the credit monitoring was issued late last Friday.

The suit seeks free monitoring and other credit protection for an indefinite period as well as $1,000 in damages for each person — or up to $26.5 billion total — in what has become one of the nation's largest information security breaches.

Last week, the department announced its plan to offer free monitoring for a year to millions of veterans and nearly all active-duty military troops whose names, birthdates and Social Security numbers were stolen May 3 from a VA data analyst's home in suburban Maryland.

The department said it would send out letters to affected veterans and military personnel in early August — after it solicits bids from contractors — on how to sign up for the free service. It also posted information on the government's Web site.

But in court papers, lawyers for veterans said the VA's deal was "incomplete and misleading." The VA must make clear whether veterans who take the government deal will have to give up their rights in court to a potentially larger payout, lawyer Marc Mezibov wrote.

A spokesman for the VA did not have an immediate comment Sunday.
Let me see if I get this right. Veterans had their identifications stolen and now they can't avail themselves of free monitoring paid for by the agency that lost them? The world is truly upside down.

We all know how much defendants get in class action suits. Those $1 or $2 payoffs are so going to compensate veterans that have their credit histories damaged. For that's what it will be after the lawyers like Mezibov get through with any payouts. A payout isn't even guaranteed either. Winning damages from the government just don't happen that easily.

Judge Bertelsman should know better than to fall for the con game being played by lawyers like Mezibov. No veteran is going to get damages for what the VA did, but they could get screwed twice in the process. First by the agency and now by the court system.

For failing both the justice system and the veterans of America, U.S. District Court Judge William Bertelsman and lawyer Marc Mezibov are today's Knuckleheads of the day.

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Cross Posted to Bullwinkle Blog

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