Greetings fellow gladiators. While I almost never go to two NOVAs a year, how could I resist? Portland is just a 2 ½-hour jaunt down I-5. With Cupcake, we can leave the inflatable doll home and still drive in the HOV lane. Hot diddly dee. Road Trip.
This Fall’s NOVA Conferences are at the Hilton Portland Downtown. CAVC Judges Robert Davis and Mary Schoelen are slated to attend as well as the head honcho of the Appeals Management Center- now known as the “Appeals Resolution Center” or ARC. Sounds like a drive thru for quickie claims drama. I have to admit I’ve used Mr. David McLenachen’s services recently to get a Veteran’s claim back on track after the NOD evaporated into thin air sometimes around 2016. He’s one more valuable resource in the Veteran’s tool box but unfortunately only available to VA attorneys/agents.
Nowadays, you can’t do that prestidigitation trick with problematical claims anymore. No more sneaking up to the sixth floor to the c-file records room and “repurposing” certain official documents into the shredder to erase any evidence of mis/malfeasance for the convenience of the government. No sireeee, Bob. That shit is right out now. Remember back when Gene Groves caught the BVA out in an Ex Writ (2008)? VA suddenly had to admit there was a VACOLS back door that the Secretary absolutely, positively swore on a stack of Korans did not exist. VBMS doesn’t have a defrost/evaporation setting.
VBMS, unlike the old VACOLS, is a lot like concrete now. It doesn’t have to be dry. If you walk in it, you leave little footprints with your name , rank, airspeed and tail number all over it. Them PIV badges are like fingerprints. If you tried to go back to some 1968 STRs and disappear them, it sticks up like a zit on your nose. This how I find so many CUE claims just sitting there waiting to be harvested. Better yet, finding §3.156(c) claims is a cakewalk. JohnnyVet loses for 40 years… and suddenly wins. Right there in the VBMS records is the PIES request for STRs that came back from NPRC- with everything. That would be the records they swore in 1979 (and 1983, 1989, 1994 and 2007) had gone up in flames at the 1973 BBQ. VA can’t explain these phenomena so they deny. Fortunately the newer breed of VLJs are not as gullible or deceptive. Travel Board hearings with laser Power Point presentations are de rigeur. You can’t do this on paper.
It takes three signatures to go to the bathroom these days at a Veterans Service Center (VA shorthand for VARO). Unilateral thinking is all but verboten. That’s the theory, anyway. The good news is Mr. McLenachen seems to have a hotline direct from DC to every one of our 56 Service centers across the fruited plains. Gross errors can be fixed sooner. With glasnost ostensibly running rampant (VBMS), we have VA Outlook and a phone book with every VA employee’s name, email and phone number.
I think it shakes them up to answer the phone and say “This is Ruth” and find me on their ass in polite mode.
“Ruth Jacklin, right? This is Alex Graham 1614409. Say, do you have a moment to discuss Rambo, Earl S. 26 454 302? Seems yesterday your RVSR Shauniqua Felts 86’d a twenty three year-old protected rating on my client in violation of §3.951. Can you imagine that? I’m trying to get that corrected so he can get TDIU. You’re the VSCM (Veterans Service Center Manager) so I thought you’d be the one who’d want to know somebody stepped on their necktie. Could you look into that? I sent you an email yesterday and cc:’d it to Mr. Wilkie and Mr. McLenachen. We’re not in any particular rush but this was such a bonehead goof up, I thought it needed to be addressed sooner than later.”
Of course,what I really wanted to say cannot be printed here.
About this point, Ruth is regrouping and says “Ahhhhhhhhh, ummmm wait. Who did you say you were? How did you get this number?” Welcome to the new VA, Ruth. Transparency is the new paradigm. Protein pills and helmets are optional.
Oddly, I doubt we’re all going to the NOVA conference expecting to learn these nefarious techniques of pie-in-your-face litigation. That’s just my coarse, uncultured way of
practicing, er-performing VA law. Not having a JD allows me to be rude, crude, socially unattractive- not to mention boorish. I wear my legal ignorance with pride. Hey, what can I say? In Ignorance There Is Strength. It works most of the time.
Be there or be square. Antifa and the Proud boys will be providing the entertainment.
And that’s all I’m going to say about that.