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Indiana Veteran Nonprofit Being Sued For Defamation

A nonprofit for Indiana veterans is being sued for defamation and unfair competition, among other allegations.

U.S. Army Helmets

Photo: U.S. Army (Flickr)

If the lawsuit goes to court it could set precedent for nonprofit organizations.

The national non-profit Wounded Warrior Project is filing a lawsuit against the local non-profit Help Indiana Vets.

Help Indiana Vets Co-Founder Dean Graham, who is also a disabled Iraq veteran, has long been critical of the Wounded Warrior Project.

He recently wrote an article on his website saying the Wounded Warrior Project is a fraud and does not spend enough money actually helping veterans. The Wounded Warrior Project responded with a lawsuit, saying the article defamed their organization.

But Graham says the lawsuit is just another example of frivolous spending.

“Every dollar they put towards this lawsuit is another dollar that should have gone to a veteran and that further confirms what I have said, they’re not putting the money where they claim to put it,” Graham says.

Paul Overhauser is an attorney at Overhauser Law Offices in Indianapolis not involved in the case. He says the Wounded Warrior Project has made four specific claims against Help Indiana Vets including: false advertising, criminal deception, defamation, and unfair competition.

Overhauser says defamation may be the most accurate claim to hold up in court, but the claim of unfair competition when dealing with charitable organizations has never been addressed in an Indiana court.

“Usually an unfair competition claim is made by one business against another business where the two businesses compete against each other. Perhaps in some way Wounded Warrior Project and Help Indiana Vets compete against each other for the donations of the public,” he says.

Lawyers representing the Wounded Warrior Project did not return calls for comment.

Wounded Warrior Project Complaint

Emily Wright

Emily, an Indianapolis native, joined WFIU/WTIU in 2013 as Producer of Noon Edition. She studied Telecommunications and Liberal Arts Management at Indiana University.

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