Client Win: CAVC No. 20-4843, C.Smith v. McDonough (Agent Orange exposure in Thailand)
This case involved a US Army veteran (1967 to 1971) who was seeking service connection for hypertension, congestive heart failure, Type II diabetes, stroke, and atrial fibrillation due to agent orange exposure in Thailand during the Vietnam war.
The appeal was resolved through a joint motion to remand.
ISSUE ON APPEAL TO THE CAVC (Agent Orange exposure in Thailand).
The BVA is required to provide a statement of adequate reasons and bases about its findings of fact and conclusions of law on all material issues. 38 U.S.C. §7104(d).
The BVA is also required to analyze the probative value of the evidence, account for evidence it finds persuasive or unpersuasive, and explain why it rejects favorable evidence. Caluza v. Brown, 7 Vet.App. 498, 506 (1995).
In this case the BVA denied service connection for the veteran's disabilities due to herbicide exposure, specifically agent orange exposure in Thailand at the Uda Poa Royal Thai Air Force Base in Thailand.
RESOLUTION AT THE CAVC.
The veteran told the BVA that he had also experienced agent orange exposure in Thailand at the U-Tapao Royal Thai Air Force Base during the Vietnam war.
Because the BVA did not provide any analysis regarding the veteran's allegations that he was also exposed to agent orange at U-Tapao RTAFB, the BVA committed what is called a reasons and bases error. The BVA did not provide reasons and bases for ignoring evidence favorable to the veteran.
If the VA or the BVA denied you for disabilities you believe resulted from exposure to agent orange in Thailand during the Vietnam war, and if you would like to discuss legal representation in your appeal of that BVA or VA rating decision, click here to have Attig | Curran | Steel take a look at your case.
OGC Attorney: Colin E. Tansits (link to attorney's bio on LinkedIn)
Veteran Representation at CAVC: Alexandra Curran (link to bio)
Board of Veterans Appeals Veterans Law Judge: R. Erdheim
Attorney for the BVA: D. Houle
Vets’ Rep at BVA: Sarah K. Hill (Hill and Ponton) (Link to attorney's appeals handled by Attig | Curran | Steel)
Date of BVA Decision: March 16, 2020
Date of CAVC Joint Motion to Remand: February 16, 2021
Link to CAVC Memorandum Decision