Every year, St. Cloud attorney Jacqueline Schuh handles several pro bono cases and has a special heart for assisting veterans.
This past year, Schuh’s work resulted in winning a highly publicized medical benefits case for 84-year-old Richard Staab, a Korean War-era veteran who suffered a heart attack in 2010.
Assisted by the Veteran’s Service Legal Office in Washington, D.C., Schuh took Staab’s case to a special federal appeals court, which ruled that the Veterans Affairs Department should not have denied payment of $48,000 in emergency expenses and that Staab should be fully reimbursed.
“The victory on behalf of Mr. Staab is so significant because it paves the way for not only him, but hundreds of thousands of other veterans to get reimbursement for unfairly denied benefits,” Sheila Engelmeier, a colleague of Schuh’s at Engelmeier & Umanah, said in nominating her as a 2016 Minnesota Attorney of the Year. “What makes Jackie stand out is her creativity and problem solving, along with her willingness to tackle issues for veterans who otherwise would have no voice.”
Schuh said she knew taking the Staab case, when she was working the Gray Plant Mooty law firm, might be a protracted “David vs. Goliath” fight. But she noted, “Sometimes you just have to try.”
Schuh has a special heart for veterans having had a 20-year military career. She entered the Minnesota National Guard while she was still in law school and then served in both the Army Guard and Air Guard. Her active included in Desert Storm, Operation Noble Eagle and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Over those years, Schuh was a prosecutor, defense counsel, military judge, environmental counsel, adviser to the chief of staff, and adviser to commanders.
In addition to 30 years of legal practice, Schuh has served in several charitable organizations including board member at St. Benedict’s Community and past president of the Stearns Benton Bar Association. “This is a way I can give back to others,” Schuh said. “I truly believe what you give comes back to you a hundred-fold.”