This morning the Federal Circuit issued three precedential opinions in veterans cases, a nonprecedential opinion in a case dismissed by the Court of Federal Claims for lack of jurisdiction, another nonprecedential opinion in a case appealed from the Bureau of Justice Assistance regarding death benefits, and a Rule 36 judgment. Here are the introductions to the opinions and a link to the Rule 36 judgment.

Cameron v. McDonough (Precedential)

John Cameron appeals the decision of the Veterans Court denying his attorney’s fees for certain services performed prior to a final decision by the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. Because we agree with the Veterans Court that the 2006 amendment to 38 U.S.C. § 5904, in effect at the time he petitioned for the fees, plainly limited payment of such fees to cases in which a Notice of Disagreement was filed on or after June 20, 2007, we affirm.

Langdon v. McDonough (Precedential)

Robert E. Langdon appeals a final decision of the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims that denied him a higher rating for his service-connected thoracic spine disability. See J.A. 1–12. Because that holding was based on a misinterpretation of the controlling regulations, we reverse.

Snyder v. McDonough (Precedential)

Joseph Snyder served in the U.S. Army for less than 50 days in 1974—during the Vietnam era, a “period of war,” 38 C.F.R. § 3.2(f)—his service ending with an honorable discharge when a knee injury rendered him unfit. Four decades later, he was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). He sought disability benefits for ALS from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) under 38 U.S.C. § 1110, which provides for compensation for service-connected disability—specifically, for “disability resulting from personal injury suffered or disease contracted in line of duty, or for aggravation of a preexisting injury suffered or disease contracted in line of duty, in the active military, naval, air, or space service, during a period of war,” subject to exceptions (for dishonorable discharge and willful misconduct or abuse of alcohol or drugs) inapplicable to Mr. Snyder. A decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (Veterans Court) rejecting his claim for benefits based on ALS is before us.

In the Veterans Court, Mr. Snyder relied, to meet the fundamental requirement of service connection, solely on an argument about a VA regulation, adopted in 2008 and made final in 2009, that provides a presumption of service connection for veterans with ALS if specified preconditions are satisfied. 38 C.F.R. § 3.318(a), (b). Mr. Snyder undisputedly does not satisfy one of those preconditions—that the veteran “have active, continuous service of 90 days or more.” Id. § 3.318(b)(3). Nevertheless, Mr. Snyder argued in the Veterans Court that the 90-day-service precondition is unlawful, because contrary to the statutory scheme and arbitrary and capricious, and that the presumption should remain in place with the precondition nullified, entitling him to a finding of service connection.

The Veterans Court rejected Mr. Snyder’s contention that the 90-day-service precondition is unlawful. We have jurisdiction to review that legal conclusion. 38 U.S.C. § 7292(a). We decide the legal issue de novo. Bazalo v. West, 150 F.3d 1380, 1382 (Fed. Cir. 1998). We affirm.

Durr v. United States (Nonprecedential)

Stephen Durr appeals a final decision of the United States Court of Federal Claims dismissing his complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Appx. 2–6.1 Because the Claims Court correctly determined that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction, we affirm.

Goodrich v. Department of Justice (Nonprecedential)

Bonnie J. Goodrich appeals the final decision of the Bureau of Justice Assistance (“BJA”) denying her claim for death benefits under the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Act of 1976 (“PSOB Act”), Pub. L. No. 94-430, 90 Stat. 1346 (codified as amended at 34 U.S.C. §§10281–10288). Because the BJA’s decision is supported by substantial evidence and properly applies the statute and the BJA’s implementing regulation, 28 C.F.R. § 32.13, we affirm.

Rule 36 Judgment