Lynch v. McDonough


Question(s) Presented

“To underscore the uniquely pro-claimant Veterans Administration (‘VA’) benefits system, Congress designed the most favorable standard of proof by far in American jurisprudence, the benefit-of-the-doubt rule. This rule ensures that claimants will prevail on any issue of their disability claim(s) when there is ‘an approximate balance of the positive and negative evidence.’ 38 U.S.C. ยง 5107(b) (1988) (italics added). By inserting the modifier approximate into Section 5107(b), Congress set the standard of positive to negative evidence for granting claims lower than an even balance, and conversely, fixed the quantum of negative evidence for denying them higher than the preponderance-of- the-evidence standard.”

“Nonetheless, over twenty years ago in Ortiz v. Principi, 274 F.3d 1361 (Fed. Cir. 2001), the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals adopted the preponderance-of-the-evidence standard for denying claims. Id. at 1365. In the present case, the en banc court affirmed this standard under a different name.”

“The question presented is:”

“Are the many millions of disabled veterans, their survivors and dependents entitled to have the VA meet a higher threshold of proof to deny their claims than the preponderance-of-the-evidence standard?”

Posts About this Case

Proceedings and Orders
March 4, 2022
Application (21A467) granted by The Chief Justice extending the time to file until May 16, 2022.
May 18, 2022
Consent to the filing of amicus briefs received from counsel for Joe Lynch submitted.
May 19, 2022
Consent to the filing of amicus briefs received from counsel for McDonough, Denis submitted.
May 31, 2022
Motion to extend the time to file a response is granted and the time is extended to and including July 18, 2022.