Having received the bitchslap from the Federal Circus, Judge Lance and Coral Wong pulled the eject handle and left Sister Meg Bartley in the cockpit to handle this do over. And well they might as Sister Meg was the lone dissenter. I wrote these up several years ago when NVLSP attorney Amy Odom took Leonard up to the Fed Circus in 2013 after Lance and Wong erroneously denied him.
It’s always scarey going up to the CAVC but to have them turn this into hamburger helper was uncalled for- let alone unprofessional. This is why good attorneys use a timeline. When did it happen? Then what? What did VA do next? Was the duty to assist accomplished? Why not? Examine all the dates to confirm the timely compliance with all requests. Somebody failed this important test and we can only assume it was the slipshod clerks in either Alan’s or Coral’s office.
Sister Meg didn’t have any problem discovering it. She more than succinctly explained her dissent in DickandJanespeak but her compadres were not buying. Now that she’s been vindicated, they have promptly bailed out and left her to her own devices. Personally, I think Greg Block should have made Judge Lance grovel and explain his illogical, tortured reversal of why Mr. Beraud was now entitled to a new decision at the BVA. What the hey? Lance was the one who filed the opinion of the Court panel. Seems only fair that he should be the one to suck it up (and man up). But nooooooooooooooooooooooo. They made a woman sweep up the mess-the very one who pointed out the problem.
And yes, you read that right. Old Lenny is back (again) in BVA court on the hamster wheel once again rehashing the 1985 CUE mistake or whatever VA would like to characterize it as. Technically, it’s a carbon copy of my dilemma- a 3.156(b) violation. If you supply VA with the needed information on where it’s located within the golden year following the denial, it constitutes new and material evidence filed within that window and requires a de novo adjudication. In Beraud’s case, they just denied again without giving him enough time to answer after asking him if (and where) they might find any new evidence that would clarify the claim. The original error that Lance and Wong glossed over so blithely was the VA said they’d hold the adjudication open for a month but nevertheless slammed the door shut about 17 days later. Since the VA raters gave him the headache owie for 50% back to 2004, it’s pretty much a given they are going to have to go back to the 1985 date as Leonard told them in 1985 where to go to find the STRs. But then you don’t know the VA. It appears they still haven’t even gotten off their lazy asses and sent a note to Lenny’s old Florida Nasty Guard unit asking for them as I write this. And we wonder why it takes a lifetime to get the record straight. I’m in my twenty first year and am back at the BVA on my third appeal of a 1994 necktie party. Poor Leonard has thirty years into this and is now on the way back down and headed into another two years minimum.
Backlog? What backlog? The system is working just exactly as preconceived in the 1989 VJRA. Justice delayed is not justice denied. I don’t understand why you fellow Vets have difficulty absorbing that concept. VA want to get it right and sometimes that takes time. Lots of it.