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» Veterans Law Updates

"To the Best of my Knowledge" - The case against attorney use of VA Form 21-4138.

In a recent court appeal, the VA was relying on the unsigned and unsworn statement of a random government bureaucrat. This bureaucrat was “testifying” to the lack of existence of any evidence that my client was exposed to the herbicide ag… Read More
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Case Review: #17-0306, Schmoker v. Wilkie (Is Hearing Loss a VA disability even if its not compensable?)

What is the Deep Issue in the Case? {Several issues were raised in the briefing of this case – this review focuses in on one: continuity of symptomatology for hearing loss} A veteran is entitled to service connection for loss of hearing if his… Read More
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Yes, you should challenge all VA Medical Examiners' Competence.

In today’s post, I am going to teach you how to become a better advocate by challenging the VA Medical Examiner’s competence – or at least rebutting the presumption of competence in your client’s BVA appeals. VA claims and app… Read More
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Episode 006: CAVC Oral Argument: Atencio v. Wilkie, 16-1561 (April 26, 2018)(Gulf War Syndrome presumptions and GERD)

What the ‘MUCMI’ is going on with GERD? PREVIEW OF THE CASE: General Overview of the Medicine Some terms you will hear in this argument: GERD is Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disorder. GERD can often – but not always -result from a dysfu… Read More
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Episode 005: CAVC Oral Argument: Simmons v. Wilkie (16-3039)(CAVC Application of Harmless Error Rule)

General Overview of Harmless Error law. The major question in this case is how the CAVC should apply the harmless error rule when it might involve making findings of fact. The Court stated in its supplemental briefing order that it “…has… Read More
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Episode 004: CAVC Oral Argument - Johnson v. Wilkie, #16-3808 (April 24, 2018) Successive Rating Criteria for Migraines)

General Preview of the Case: This is a complex case involving the complex issue of “successive rating criteria”, with a lot of regulatory interpretation and factual application issues at play.  There is one, and possibly more, diagnostic… Read More
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Episode 003: CAVC Oral Argument: Spellers v. Wilkie, 16-4053 (April 19, 2018)

Issue for Oral Argument: General Overview of the Law When a veteran’s disability does not meet the requirements for the next higher schedular rating, but the evidence indicates his or her disability is more severe than the current rating, a veteran… Read More
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FCOA Precedent Alert: Saunders v. Wilkie, #2017-1466 (A Veteran can service connect stand-alone pain)

What is the Deep Issue in the Case? This case involves the question of whether a veteran can service connect stand alone pain as  a disability for the purposes of VA disability compensation.  The basic VA disability compensation statute is clear: t… Read More
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Case Review: #16-3564, Gerhardson v. Shulkin (Can Inadequate Opinion make Inadequate Reasons and Bases harmless error)

What is the Deep Issue in the Case? {Several issues were raised in the briefing of this case – this review focuses in on one: the CAVC harmless error rule.} When the BVA issues a remand order, the veteran or surviving spouse is entitled to subs… Read More
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PRECEDENTIAL FCOA CASE ALERT: Bly v. Shulkin (17-1287)(EAJA petition deadline at CAVC)

What is the Deep Issue in the Case? This case involves the deadline to file an EAJA Petition at the CAVC. The Equal Access to Justice Act (“EAJA”) requires applications for attorney fees must be filed within 30 days of a court’s fin… Read More
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Taking Point! Blog

Jun
3
I really can’t take it anymore. I’m sure many like you feel the same way. Every time another child with a military weapon ambushes a school full of children, I am overwhelmed with emotions that have no outlet. I can’t even process… Read More
May
27
  While on our way to the nutcracker audition at the local theatre I asked my 9-year-old daughter how her day went at school. “It was okay.  We had another active shooter drill.  When the drill started, I had to run behind and under my teacher… Read More
May
23
After years of exploring different fields, I’ve found purpose-driven work here, at Attig | Curran | Steel.   There are a lot of variables in the experience of “happy.” It is difficult to keep it continuous.  Do I feel happy when my kids… Read More
May
18
When appellate courts review the decisions of lower courts – or in administrative law where a Court like the US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC) reviews the decisions of the BVA, an administrative tribunal – they use “… Read More

Read the "Taking Point!" Blog

Recent Cases

This case involves the BVA judge’s inadequate reasoning of a denial of a veteran’s claim for an increased rating for PTSD.   The appeal was resolved through a joint motion to remand. ISSUE ON APPEAL TO THE CAVC (BVA overlooked evidence… Read More
This case involves the BVA judge’s inadequate reasoning of his denial of a veteran’s past-due benefits in a claim for an increased rating due to an increase in the severity of the veteran’s PTSD. The appeal was resolved through a jo… Read More
This case involves the BVA’s failure to comply with a Veterans Court Order in a January 2020 Memorandum Decision. The appeal was resolved through a joint motion to remand. ISSUE ON APPEAL TO THE CAVC (BVA fails to comply with Veterans Court Ord… Read More

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