Law school

School Notes: Yale Law School
March/April 2020

Heather K. Gerken |

Book offers ideas for sustainability

A new book edited by Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy and Director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy, Daniel C. Esty ’86JD, aims to enrich public discussions around critical issues in the environment, energy, conservation, land use, and natural resource management. A Better Planet: 40 Big Ideas for a Sustainable Future assembles 40 essays by scholars spelling out bipartisan frameworks, technologies, and other sustainability solutions. The book was launched at a conference, “Toward Twenty-first-Century Environmental Protection,” presented by the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy and the Center for Environmental Policy at American University. The Financial Times named A Better Planet one of its best books of 2019 in economics. In December, Esty testified before the House Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change about the need for a climate-change policy framework that emphasizes incentives, innovation, information, and investment.

YLS clinic helps disabled veterans gain class certification

In a groundbreaking 6–3 decision issued on December 6, 2019, the US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC) certified a class of disabled veterans exposed to ionizing radiation while cleaning up a nuclear bomb disaster in Palomares, Spain, in 1966. They are now eligible to sue for disability benefits for their related illnesses in a class-action suit. The Veterans Legal Services Clinic at Yale Law School represents the plaintiff and the class. This class action is the first ever certified in the history of the CAVC from a direct appeal from the VA benefits system. The class, represented by lead appellant Victor Skaar, a retired Air Force chief master sergeant, contends that the VA has unlawfully relied on flawed scientific methodology to deny Palomares veterans’ disability benefits claims for decades. CAVC’s decision found that the group of Palomares veterans satisfied the requirements for class certification used in other federal courts, and their suit may proceed.

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