Servicemembers Civil Relief Act

Enforcing Your Rights

If you believe your SCRA rights have been violated, you can pursue action with the help of the government or on your own.

Assistance from the Department of Justice
In 2010, Congress amended the SCRA to grant authority to the U.S. Department of Justice to bring lawsuits in federal court against individuals or entities that violate the SCRA, particularly where the violations are part of a pattern or practice or when the violation rises to the level of significant public importance.

If you believe your SCRA rights have been violated, talk with a military legal assistance attorney. He or she can advise you on whether you have a matter that might be appropriate for handling by the Department of Justice and how to proceed. Keep in mind, however, that the Department of Justice will not be representing you as an individual, as a civilian attorney might, but instead will be representing the interests of the U.S. If a federal court ultimately finds the defendant in an action brought by the department has violated the SCRA, it may award both monetary damages to you and a civil penalty to the U.S. If the Department of Justice brings a case on your behalf, you will have the option of retaining your own lawyer who can intervene in the case on your behalf. Talk with your military attorney about this.

Your Right to Sue and Your Remedies
If your SCRA rights have been violated, you can hire a lawyer and sue on your own. The SCRA grants you the right to sue, along with a number of possible remedies, including the recovery of monetary damages, your legal costs, and your attorney fees. You should first talk with your military attorney about whether you might have an SCRA case. He or she can advise you but cannot represent you in suing the other party. You will need to find a civilian attorney with SCRA expertise who can do this. The American Bar Association’s Directory of Programs might list a lawyer referral service or military-specific program that can connect you to a civilian attorney with the proper expertise.

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