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Veteran sues University of Toledo for allegedly disclosing PTSD and portraying him as a safety threat
A University of Toledo student has sued the university and two married employees who he says disclosed his post-traumatic stress disorder diagnosis acquired in combat and incorrectly portrayed him as a safety threat to others.
Dallon Higgs, identified in court records as a former U.S. Army paratrooper, enrolled in the university's physician assistant program in 2017, shortly before the program lost its accreditation.
In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court, Mr. Higgs accused the university, his counselor, and the head of the physician assistant program of punishing him for his criticism of the program and disclosing his personal health information.
"Specifically, Defendants engaged in a pattern [of] intentional, reckless, and or/negligent conduct whereby they made false statements regarding Plaintiff's mental health and falsely presented Plaintiff as a threat to others," the lawsuit states.
In February, 2018, Mr. Higgs sought counseling from psychologist Mychail Scheramic, including for PTSD-related services.
Mr. Scheramic is married to Dr. Linda Speer, department chair of the PA program.
In a meeting led by Dr. Speer the following month, PA students and program leaders discussed the accreditation loss. Mr. Higgs, according to the lawsuit, directed pointed questions at Dr. Speer, who led the meeting.
After that encounter, the suit alleges, Mr. Scheramic disclosed information from Mr. Higgs' session to his wife, and they and the university conspired to remove Mr. Higgs from the program.
Among the tactics to portray Mr. Higgs as a threat was the presence of law enforcement and security personnel while Mr. Higgs sat for program exams, the lawsuit states.
"Defendants' conduct was so extreme and outrageous as to go beyond all bounds of decency and was such that it can be considered as utterly intolerable in a civilized society," the suit reads.
The university concluded that Mr. Higgs' federal education privacy rights were violated, according to the lawsuit and a UT document provided to The Blade by Mr. Higgs' attorney Zachary Murry.
The accrediting agency Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant first placed UT's program on probation in June, 2017. The agency withdrew its accreditation in October, 2017, citing insufficient faculty, lack of administrative oversight, and insufficient curriculum.
The university regained its accreditation in January, 2018, though the program will remain on probation for two years.
The lawsuit seeks $275,000 in damages.
University spokesman Meghan Cunningham said UT officials are aware of the lawsuit but declined further comment citing pending litigation. Check back for updates.
©2019 The Blade (Toledo, Ohio)
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Former Defense Secretary James Mattis, who led a Marine task force to Afghanistan shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, said the Washington Post's recent reporting about the U.S. government's pattern of lies about the war over the last two decades is not "revelatory."
Mattis, who was interviewed by the Washington Post's David Ignatius on Friday, also said he does not believe the U.S. government made any efforts to hide the true situation in Afghanistan and he argued the war has not been in vain.
Here are 10 key quotes from Mattis regarding the Washington Post's reporting in the 'Afghanistan Papers.'
The Taliban may not have breached the walls of Bagram, but they damaged the hell out of its main passenger terminal
Blasts from Taliban car bombs outside of Bagram Airfield on Wednesday caused extensive damage to the base's passenger terminal, new pictures released by the 45th Expeditionary Wing show.
The pictures, which are part of a photo essay called "Bagram stands fast," were posted on the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service's website on Thursday.
Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.
Shortly after seven sailors died aboard USS Fitzgerald when she collided with a merchant ship off Japan in 2017, I wrote that the Fitzgerald's watch team could have been mine. My ship had once had a close call with me on watch, and I had attempted to explain how such a thing could happen. "Operating ships at sea is hard, and dangerous. Stand enough watches, and you'll have close calls," I wrote at the time. "When the Fitzgerald's investigation comes out, I, for one, will likely be forgiving."
So, am I forgiving? Yes — for some.
Editor's note: a version of this story first appeared in 2015.
Most people haven't heard of an elderly Belgian-Congolese nurse named Augusta Chiwy. But students of history know that adversity and dread can turn on a dime into freedom and change, and it's often the most humble and little-known individuals who are the drivers of it.
During the very darkest days of the Battle of the Bulge in World War II, Chiwy was such a catalyst, and hundreds of Americans lived because of her. She died quietly on Aug. 23, 2015, at the age of 94 at her home in Brussels, Belgium, and had it not been for the efforts of my friend — British military historian Martin King — the world may never have heard her astonishing story.
More than $20 million of the Pentagon aid at the center of the impeachment fight still hasn't reached Ukraine.
The continued delay undermines a key argument against impeachment from President Trump's Republican allies and a new legal memo from the White House Office of Management and Budget.