The Risk Manager, Fall 2005

Once again Congress has amended the SCRA (Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, 50 U.S.C. App. §§ 501-596 (LEXIS 2004)). With the many Kentuckians engaged in active military service today it is important for our bar to be familiar with the SCRA to assure that servicemembers and their families receive the full benefits of its protection. Recent changes include:

  • A new definition of judgment provides that a judgment is “any judgment, decree, order, or ruling, temporary or final.” The idea is to apply judgment broadly and not limit it only to final judgments in cases.
  • Waiver of SCRA rights must now be in writing and in a document separate from any other document relating to an obligation or liability.
  • The provisions of the SCRA that allow servicemember defendants to obtain a stay of civil proceedings are expanded to include plaintiffs as well.
  • The provisions of the SCRA concerning the right to terminate residential and automobile leases are expanded to include servicemembers who are called to deploy as individuals (formerly only those deployed as a member of a unit were covered) and now apply to joint leases by a servicemember and dependent.

For more detail on these changes see Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) and Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) Amendments and Updates by LTC J. Thomas Parker, The Army Lawyer, March 2005, page 22 at in the Public Pages/Forms and Publications section. A helpful overview of the SCRA is available in the December 2003 issue of The Army Lawyer at page 38.