Fed. Cir.–Morris v. Shinseki–Psychiatric vs. Personality disorders


Here’s one that’s probably never going to be available on Kindle. Mr. Jack D.  Morris entered service July 31, 1964 and exited 2 months and 6 days later. Not exactly what you would call a commitment.  Don’t confuse this with the other Mr. Morris I wrote about in April. Justice never occurs that quickly.

Jack apparently discovered he wasn’t going to be all he could be in September. He and the military came to a mutual agreement that he would separate under good terms. and so they did. Fifteen months later (January 1966) he decided to file for a psychiatric disorder. It seems his drill Sargent had dissed him and this had caused a permanent mental disorder.

In May, because there was no backlog in 1966, he was afforded a speedy denial. Jack declined to file a NOD and thus his claimboat sank a year later. But in 1986 he decided to reopen this with a nice letter from his therapist. The RO determined that the new and material evidence-wasn’t. He smartly appealed this one up to the BVA. The Board panel (since they had 3 judges to a Board)  in February 1988 agreed with Jack that the RO had screwed up. The evidence was indeed new and material. The only problem was that it wasn’t enough to win his case so he lost yet again. Jack had sent in some new stuff while the Board had his appeal so they had to back up and reconsider the decision. That one fared no better, but Jack kept sending in new evidence monthly and  the Board finally gave him the coup de grace in June of 1990.

By now, Congress had enacted the new VJRA and Mr. Morris could avail himself of the new COVA. He snagged a remand from them in 1992 and kept breathing life into this puppy. The Board had to go find another shrink to decipher Jack, but they kept coming back to the same conclusion that what Jack had was a personality disorder-several orders of magnitude less than a full-blown psychiatric disability that was compensable. Finally in 1993, they decided he did have schizophrenia . The stumbling block was the 1988 decision. They were not going to grant back to that date. They felt he had not made his case prior to this decision.

Ever the paper hanger, Jack kept pestering them with the patented squeaky wheel syndrome I so love to advocate. I never meant it to be for something as petty as this, though. In an obvious effort to be done with this, the RO caved in and gave him an effective date of 1987 at a full ride of 100%. Baaaaaaaad idea, VA.

Jack could now smell the blood in the water. In 1996, after a long battle and new appeal, the Board denied his CUE claim for the 1966 decision. He didn’t appeal and I’m sure everyone down at Vermont Ave. NW breathed a little easier. But not for long.

In the fall of 2004, Jack was back. This time he was filing CUE on the 1988 Board decision saying they’d short-sheeted him by only looking at his SMRs and not giving him the presumption of soundness associated with the Bagby holding. This time the Board decided to move like molasses in hopes that he’d get preoccupied with gambling or religion. Not.  Four-count them-four long years later they announced that there was no CUE:

 In its September 12, 2008 decision, the Board denied Mr. Morris’s CUE claim. The Board began by noting the claim that Mr. Morris had presented in 1988. The Board pointed out that, at that time, Mr. Morris contended that, during active duty, he developed, and was treated for, an acquired psychiatric disability; that he was in sound condition when he entered the service; that he was harassed by a drill sergeant, which resulted in his development of a nervous disorder; and that, following separation from the service, his psychiatric problems continued. 2008 Board Decision at 9. Continuing, the Board noted that the 1988 Board had determined that the initial service medical records on file showed that any psychiatric symptoms present during service were acute and transitory and attributed to a personality disorder. Morris v. Shinseki 2012

Memorize that stock phrase. Acute and transitory is applied so frequently to whitewash vA decisions that it should be translated into Latin and affixed to the Great Seal Of The vA.

Mind you, here it was appropriate but it is used far too frequently to legitimate claims. The Board also addressed other contentions, but the gist of the denial was very well crafted. He had not made his case and he was now wasting vA’s and other Vets’ time with his perennial  claims for an EED.

He got another date with the CAVC and went up there with the exact same tired arguments in 2010. They were less than impressed and affirmed the BVA. Which brings us here to the 3rd Circus.

Why Kenneth Carpenter signed up for this is anyone’s guess. I know every dog must have his car ride hanging out the window, but the Jackster was out of gas on this and pissing into the wind. He literally didn’t have Jack S___ and must have known it.

I admire his perspicacity in the face of insurmountable odds, but a man’s gotta know his limitations as the cops say in San Francisco. Thus I won’t be surprised if the next thing will be an attempt to scale Mount SCOTUS. Good Luck, Mr. Morris. And perhaps when you’re done you’ll go home and let others attain some justice, too.

Meet Jack.

P.S. Look in your medical records. Any ailment or disease will end with NCNS or No comp./no seq. This stands for No Complications, No Sequelae and means acute and transitory. If it was a broken bone or back injury it will usually say WHNS. This is Well Healed, No Sequelae. If you find the word chronic anywhere, it’s not acute. If  these abbreviations are absent, then vA cannot make a post hoc rationalization that it was acute or transitory. Remember this when you review your denial and your SMRs.

About asknod

VA claims blogger
This entry was posted in Fed. Cir. & Supreme Ct., Frivolous Filings, Important CAVC/COVA Ruling, Veterans Law and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Fed. Cir.–Morris v. Shinseki–Psychiatric vs. Personality disorders

  1. Kiedove says:

    The denial is rational. But I wonder about is the harassment issue. If a soldier has been bullied or abused–but coped with it–prior to going into the military, and is then intensely harassed by someone in-service, I can see someone “snapping” under the extraordinary pressures experienced in service.

    • asknod says:

      You overlook one thing. He was adjudged of sound mind and body at entry. That is a finding of fact. He was determined to have a personality disorder when he left. It would be one thing to be admitted into the Armed Forces with an existing disability and then have it increase in severity. He agreed with the terms of the separation. The time to complain is when they’re fitting you for that Texas necktie.

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