A federal court ruling this week opened the possibility for veterans to file suit against the Department of Veterans Affairs as a class rather than individuals, a move that advocates say could dramatically shift how legal cases against the bureaucracy are handled.

The ruling, Monk v. Wilkie, came from the U.S. Court of Veterans Appeals. The eight-justice panel ultimately ruled against the plaintiff’s claim that their case should proceed as a class-action suit, arguing it failed to meet previously established standards for such legal consideration.

But they did say that in “appropriate cases” in the future, class-action lawsuits would be entertained.

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