This morning the Federal Circuit released one precedential opinion, four nonprecedential opinions, and two summary affirmances. The precedential opinion reverses and remands a judgment of the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. The first nonprecedential opinion affirms a judgment in a case appealed from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, the second dismisses an appeal from the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, the third affirms the the Court of Federal Claims’s denial of a petition to review a Special Master’s dismissal of a claim under the Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, and the fourth affirms a judgment of the Court of Federal Claims concerning a veteran’s claims. The Federal Circuit also released two nonprecedential orders affirming appeals under Rule 36. Here are the introductions to the opinions and links to the orders.

Perciavalle v. McDonough (Precedential)

In 2006, veteran Robert Fleming began applying to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), under Title 38 of the United States Code, for disability benefits for service-connected injuries. In May 2016, Mr. Fleming entered into a contingent-fee agreement with James Perciavalle for the latter to serve as his accredited representative before VA. Under the agreement, the fee was to be 20% of “arrearages awarded to [Mr. Fleming] as a result of [Mr. Perciavalle]’s representation before [VA] for [Mr. Fleming’s] service connected conditions,” and VA was authorized to retain 20% of arrearages to ensure payment of the fee. J.A. 50.

In March 2017, a VA regional office awarded Mr. Fleming past-due benefits—the bulk consisting of compensation reflecting an increased disability rating for service-connected post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and a small portion consisting of special monthly compensation (SMC). VA then ruled that Mr. Perciavalle was statutorily barred from receiving fees on the non-SMC portion of the award. The bar was the version of 38 U.S.C. § 5904(c)(1) that preceded its amendment by the Veterans Benefits, Health Care, and Information Technology Act of 2006, Pub. L. No. 109-461, § 101, 120 Stat. 3403, 3405–09 (the “Act”) (enacted Dec. 22, 2006). Mr. Perciavalle is undisputedly barred from receiving the non-SMC fees if the pre-Act version, rather than the post-Act version, applies to this matter. VA found the pre-Act version applicable based on the date on which Mr. Fleming had filed a particular notice of disagreement with the regional office regarding his PTSD benefits.

On Mr. Perciavalle’s appeal, the Board of Veterans’ Appeals affirmed the fee denial, agreeing with the regional office that the pre-Act version of the fee provision, not the post-Act version, applies here. The United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (Veterans Court) affirmed the Board’s decision. Perciavalle v. McDonough, No. 20-5340, 2022 WL 3016250 (Vet. App. July 29, 2022) (Decision). We
now conclude that the Veterans Court relied on an incorrect legal standard in determining which version of § 5904(c)(1) applies, and we also conclude that the post-Act version is the applicable one, based on the material facts that are not in dispute. We therefore reverse and remand.

Quectel Wireless Solutions Co. v. Konininklijke Philips N.V. (Nonprecedential)

Quectel Wireless Solutions Co. Ltd. (“Quectel”) appeals from a final written decision of the United States Patent and Trademark Office Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“the Board”) holding that Quectel had failed to show claims 11–17 of U.S. Patent 7,089,028 to be unpatentable. Quectel Wireless Sols. Co. v. Koninklijke Philips N.V., IPR2021-00560, 2022 WL 4112074 (P.T.A.B. Sept. 8, 2022) (“Decision”). For the following reasons, we affirm.

Hooper v. McDonough (Nonprecedential)

Seth Hooper appeals from a decision of the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (“Veterans Court”), which remanded in part and dismissed in part. The Veterans Court remanded one claim to the Board for Veterans’ Appeals (“Board”) and dismissed the other two claims for lack of jurisdiction because there was no final decision by the Board. We dismiss.

Rogers v. Secretary of Health and Human Services (Nonprecedential)

This is a case brought under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, 42 U.S.C. §§ 300aa-1 to -34, as amended (“the Vaccine Act”). Bernadette Rogers, acting as legal representative of her mother, Willie Lee Williams, appeals from a decision of the United States Court of Federal Claims (“Claims Court”) denying her petition to review the Special Master’s dismissal of her claim. Rogers v. Sec’y of Health & Hum. Servs., No. 22-510V (Fed. Cl. Jul. 14, 2023), App. 5–15 (filed under seal); Rogers v. Sec’y of Health & Hum. Servs., No. 22-510V, 2023 WL 4637147 (Fed. Cl. Spec. Mstr. Apr. 11, 2023), App. 16–21 (“Decision”). We affirm.

Garcia v. United States (Nonprecedential)

Mr. Jim Garcia, an Army veteran, appeals a decision of the Court of Federal Claims. In the Court of Federal Claims, Mr. Garcia sought an increase in his combat-related special compensation (“CRSC”) and associated back pay as well as compensation for emotional and psychological stress caused by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (“DFAS”). The trial court dismissed Mr. Garcia’s emotional and psychological stress claims for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. It also granted judgment against Mr. Garcia on his request to increase his CRSC payment. We affirm.

Rule 36 Judgments