10 Useful Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims Cases

One of our readers pointed out the following claims case information and we thought it may be helpful to post. The following may or may not be relevant for your claims depending on where you are in the process. According to the source, most of these have been used in one way or another in the Court of Veterans Appeals for Veterans Claims and the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.

  1. Gilbert v. Derwinski, 1 Vet. App. 49 (1990) – This case stands for the proposition that the BVA errs when it fails to provide adequate “reasons and bases” for a conclusion of law or fact.
  2. Ingram v. Nicholson, 21 Vet. App. 232 (CAVC 2007) – Ingram is one of the most under-utilized tools in a Veteran’s arsenal. The CAVC has said that it narrowly construes the Ingram case to “…stand for the proposition that, where an RO decision discusses a claim in terms sufficient to put the claimant on notice that it was being considered and rejected, then it constitutes a denial of that claim even if the formal adjudicative language does not ‘specifically’ deny that claim.”
  3. Crowe v. Brown, 7 Vet. App 238 (CAVC 1994) – When you are trying to understand whether or not a medical condition was “noted” on your Military Enlistment Physical or not – for the purpose of the Presumption of Soundness or Presumption of Aggravation, this case is a great starting point.
  4. Walker v. Shinseki, 2013 US App LEXIS 3690 (Fed. Cir. 2013) – This case sharply limited a form of “Direct Service Connection” – one of the 5 Paths to Service-Connection. The Court said that unless a medical condition is on the list of chronic conditions at 38 CFR § 3.309, the Veteran cannot use a “Continuity of Symptomatology” theory to make the bridge to service-connection.
  5. Rice v. Shinseki, 22 Vet. App 447 (CAVC 2009) – After explaining a (large) handful of theories as to what the word “claim” means, the Court appears to settle on the idea that a claim is: “Each Assertion of entitlement to benefits based on a specific disability that is the result of a distinct cause is a separate claim for disability compensation.”
  6. Stegall v. West, 11 Vet App. 268 (CAVC 1998) – This case stands for the idea that  a BVA or CAVC remand confers on the Veteran a right to VA compliance with the terms of the remand order and imposes on the Secretary a concomitant duty to ensure compliance with those terms.
  7. Jandreau v. Nicholson, 492 F.3d 1372 (Fed. Cir. 2007) – Jandreau means a lot of things, but is generally held to stand for the idea that lay evidence can be sufficient to prove an element of a claim when “the disability is of the type as to which lay observation is competent to identify its existence.”
  8. Allen v. Principi, 237 F.3d 1368 (Fed. Cir. 2001) – This case tells us that the VA or BVA is usually wrong when insisting that drug or alcohol abuse cannot be service-connected.
  9. Horn v. Shinseki, 25 Vet. App 231 (2011) – When a Veteran is presumed sound upon entry to military service, the VA can rebut the presumption.
  10. Mauerhan v. Shinseki,  16 Vet. App. 436, 442 (2002) – The Mauerhan Court said that the analysis of symptomatology of mental health conditions is not limited to the symptoms or rating criteria listed on the Diagnostic Codes at 38 CFR Table 4.  Instead, the CAVC said that raters must consider factors outside those criteria that impact a Veteran’s occupational and social limitations.

Do you know all 10 of these cases?  Some of them? Any of them?

Where are you in the claims process and how is it going? Feel free to comment and share below.

Courtesy: Veterans Law Blog

 

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