May 5, 2023 - Brendan Franzoni successfully represented a Marine Corps veteran in concluding her 20-year fight to upgrade her discharge from the military, for which he has been named the 2023 recipient of the University of Missouri (UM) Law School’s Robert G. Bailey Award.

Franzoni began his representation of the veteran in 2019, and over the course of three years of gathering and analyzing military service records, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs records, and military and civilian medical records, he successfully petitioned the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Navy to grant the veteran’s discharge upgrade application last year. This win secured additional financial benefits for the veteran, and reclassified her service in the Marine Corps as honorable, after she had been administratively separated from the Marine Corps in 2003 for alleged drug use, larceny and conduct unbecoming.

Working on the case, Franzoni led a team of professionals from UM Law’s Veterans Clinic, alongside independent experts and volunteer UM law students, in developing a legal basis to challenge the Naval Discharge Review Board’s 2003 denial of the veteran’s petition. Pursuant to more recent DOD guidance on the psychological impacts that PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and sexual assault can have on a service member’s conduct, Franzoni was able to convince the Board that sufficient psychological mitigating factors existed at the time of the conduct, and that reclassifying the veteran’s discharge to honorable was just and equitable given the facts of the case.

On May 5, at a UM reception, Franzoni was presented with the Robert G. Bailey Award by HHR alum Brent Filbert, who serves as Director of the Veterans Clinic. Franzoni is continuing to work with the Clinic, and is currently representing a veteran seeking the issuance of a Bronze Star with Valor and second Purple Heart for his verified combat actions and injuries in Afghanistan in 2009.