Never have I been in such august company as I found myself at the Spring NOVA conference last week. I met people I have corresponded with over the years, attorneys who read Asknod and others who have been instrumental in many of the HCV wins we have gone to appeal with. Mr. Mellifluous (Ken Carpenter) was drafted for many presentations. I’ve listened to him on oral appeals for many years but the original is worth two in the headphones. We even got to hear the latest VA Faery Tales as told by Mr. Tom Murphy ( Director of Comp./Pen.)
As an aside, I overheard another attorney opine that Tom was living proof that too much testosterone causes hair loss. Hey, we report- you laugh. I was just a disinterested observer in all this. Remember, I have no Juris Doctorate, and as such, was by rights the dumbest dude in the auditorium.
I had the good fortune to meet and shake hands with Sister Mary Schoelen-a great honor. For years, she has been the mainstay of justice many have received on appeal to the CAVC. Judge Meg Bartley and Bill Greenberg now comprise a more solid “new Vet order” of jurisprudence which doesn’t simply lip sync the BVA VLJs’ decisions from below. Long overdue. Her speech Friday afternoon was enervating to say the least.
I had the honor of finally meeting my loyal shield bearer since 2012- the illustrious Robert P. Walsh aka LawBob Squarepants. I delivered a present to Katrina Eagle from my neighbor and friend- fellow HCVet Mark, her client now for a year or more. Additionally, I was able to give Keith Snyder a present from all of us here at Asknod for his loyal service not just to HCVets but most especially to Paul and Leigh the Silver Queen of Corn fame. Keith snagged a long hard battle for a jetgun win. I expect he’ll have a few more soon. I was honored to meet the esteemed NVLSP dragonslayer Amy Odom. Vets will recall the smackdown administered by her at the Fed. Circus last year in the Beraud miasma of jurisprudence. Well, miasma if you were the unfortunate Commercial Litigator standing across from her. There’s our next CAVC Judge in my mind.
A good time was had by all. The crab cakes were a little dry and skinny on crab at the evening reception but what the hey? I also had the opportunity to meet the new breed of VA attorney emerging from the more staid, old boy network. I speak, of course, of Dan Smith, Chris Attig and Ben Krause. Chris put on an interesting class about Sleep Apnea. I fear it is going to be the next rating to suffer the wrath of the VA and go the route of tinnitus- i.e. a flat rate and doing away with the 50% rating.
The National Organization of Veterans Advocates is a valuable tool in our Veterans’ bag of tricks. We suffer mightily like King Sisyphus rolling our claims up the VA hill only to watch them come back-usually on a fruitless SSOC remand. The new, improved NOVA method is to now nip these appeals in the bud and get them completed below at the local ROs without a five year wait for a VA 8.
In summary the winners this year of the VA Silver bullet award for killing the VAmpire are Keith Snyder for his excellent performance in Leigh and Paul Bradley’s jetgun claim for HCV. Keith hangs his shingle in Maryland and is just a hop, skip and a jump away from doing BVA hearings in situ at 810 Vermin Ave. NW. Put him in your rolodex.
Katrina Eagle for finally sorting out Mark’s 20% HCV disaster and Jay and Kelly Moore’s 200% plus win on a jetgun. Last but not least, LawBob earns his for his legendary 2013 JPMR and the 2015 Extraordinary Writ double whammy at the CAVC . We look forward to more Hepatitis C wins based on jetguns in the coming years. Let us hope this represents a harbinger of the future at the VAROs across the fruited plain rather than a flash in the pan. Our very own Sylvia Price, R.N. has now uncovered the old 1970 Army Manual on the jetguns illustrating the perfidy of the VA. It was the last impediment to proving the unsanitary/incorrect method of administering the shots. We can use Layno v. Brown 6 Vet.App. 465, 469 (1994) and our lay testimony to confirm this so it represents a real sea change in HCV jurisprudence.
Below is a picture of the .999 Silver Bullet VAmpire Award next to an old tracer round I found in the man cave. A warm thank you to all those who truly represent us effectively in our time of need.
Lastly, I’d like to thank whoever invented tracers. There was nothing more awesome than flying over a TIC at about 250 feet and ripping off a few clips into the Pathet Lao below in the late afternoon. It looked like an orange Jedi Lightsaber from where I was sitting. As for the zipperheads wondering where it was coming from, it didn’t require radar. Fortunately for me, they weren’t very good deflection/wing shooters. They almost missed me by thaaaaaat much.