Harrison v. Austin (formerly v. Esper and at filing v. Shanahan)
Lambda Legal, Modern Military Association of America (MMAA), with partner law firm Winston & Strawn, filed a lawsuit on behalf of a sergeant in the D.C. Army National Guard who was denied the opportunity to serve as an officer and faces possible discharge from the United States armed services because he is living with HIV. The lawsuit challenges the Pentagon’s current policies preventing enlistment, deployment or commissioning as an officer if a person is living with HIV, and likely would affect implementation of the new “Deploy or Get Out” policy unveiled by the Trump administration in February.
Lambda Legal, Modern Military Association of America (MMAA), with partner law firm Winston & Strawn, filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on behalf of Sgt. Nick Harrison, a veteran of two overseas combat zones who was denied a position in the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps because current Pentagon policy considers service members living with HIV non-deployable, and will not allow them to enlist or to be appointed as officers.
OutServe-SLDN is also an organizational plaintiff in this case to advance the interests of its members who are living with HIV and serving in the military. In a companion lawsuit, Doe v. Shanahan, Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN are representing an anonymous service member living with HIV who the Air Force refused to commission as an officer after he graduated from the Air Force Academy, despite recommendations from medical personnel to do so.
- May 30, 2018: Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN, along with co-counsel at Winston & Strawn LLP, file suit.