This morning the Federal Circuit released a precedential opinion in a case appealed from the Court of Federal Claims. The Federal Circuit agreed that a claim was barred by a six-year statute of limitations. Notably, Judge Newman dissented. The court also released a nonprecedential opinion in a veterans case appealed from the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. Here are the introductions to the opinions.
Jones v. United States (Precedential)
Lewis B. Jones appeals the decision of the United States Court of Federal Claims that dismissed his amended complaint for lack of jurisdiction. Jones v. United States, 149 Fed. Cl. 703 (2020) (“Jones”). The Court of Federal Claims dismissed the amended complaint on the ground that the claim stated therein was barred by the six-year statute of limitations set forth at 28 U.S.C. § 2501. For the reasons stated below, we affirm.
NEWMAN, Circuit Judge, dissenting.
I respectfully dissent. The court misapplies the principles of limitation statutes, and holds that Mr. Jones’ claim became time-barred during the period when, by statute, he could not have brought the claim. A period of limitations does not accrue when the claim could not have been brought. “‘Accrue’ is ‘[t]o come into existence as an enforceable claim or right.’” Shoshone Indian Tribe of Wind River Reserve, Wyo. v. United States, 51 Fed. Cl. 60, 67 n.8 (2001) (quoting Black’s Law Dictionary 21 (7th ed. 1999). “The term accrue in the context of a cause of action means to arrive to commence.” Id.
By statute, Mr. Jones could not have established entitlement to disability retirement at discharge in 1988 with 10% disability. From the court’s ruling that the statute of limitations accrued from discharge, and that he is time-barred from seeking disability retirement although 100% disabled, I respectfully dissent.
Kriner v. McDonough (Nonprecedential)
Harriet H. Kriner, the surviving spouse of Army veteran Delbert Kriner, sought accrued benefits and burial benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) following Mr. Kriner’s death. VA’s agency of original jurisdiction denied the claims, and the Board of Veterans’ Appeals agreed. The Board denied the claim for accrued benefits because it determined that Mr. Kriner had no pending claim with VA on the date of his death, and it denied the claim for burial benefits because it determined that Mr. Kriner had not been found to have any service-connected disability at the time of his death and did not meet any criteria for non-service-connected burial benefits. The Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (Veterans Court) affirmed the Board’s ruling. Kriner v. McDonough, No. 20-0774, 2021 WL 751539 (Vet. App. Feb. 26, 2021); Appx. 2–14.
Mrs. Kriner appeals. We vacate the Veterans Court’s decision regarding the claim for accrued benefits and remand for further consideration. We affirm the Veterans Court’s decision regarding the claim for burial benefits.