Veteranclaims’s Blog

February 12, 2018

Single Judge Application; 38 C.F.R. § 3.156(c)(4) (2017); Vigil v. Peake, 22 Vet. App. 63, 66 (2008); retroactive evaluation of the disability;

Excerpt from decision below:

“Moreover, if § 3.156(c) is ultimately deemed applicable in this case, the duty to assist would require the development of evidence regarding whether, prior to the date of his 2001 claim to reopen, the appellant suffered from a psychiatric disorder eligible for service connection. 38 C.F.R. § 3.156(c)(4) (2017); see Vigil v. Peake, 22 Vet. App. 63, 66 (2008) (noting that, if § 3.156(c) is applicable, “the claimant is entitled to a retroactive evaluation of the disability to assess a proper effective date which would be the date of the original claim or the date entitlement otherwise arose, whichever is later”). As the Board recognized, although the appellant was not diagnosed with a disability for which service connection may be granted prior to 2001, any medical practitioners who evaluated him prior to October 2001 would not have had access to his MVRP related medical records. R. at 8. Accordingly, their opinions and examinations, which do not rest on correct facts, are inadequate to determine “the date entitlement arose” under § 3.156(c)(3). 38 C.F.R. § 3.156(c)(4) (“A retroactive evaluation of disability resulting from disease or injury subsequently service connected on the basis of the new evidence from the service department must be supported adequately by medical evidence.”); see also 38 U.S.C. § 5103A(a)(1) (requiring the Secretary to “make reasonable efforts to assist a claimant by obtaining evidence necessary to substantiate” the claim); Acevedo v. Shinseki, 25 Vet.App. 286, 293 (2012) (“[A]n adequate medical report must rest on correct facts and reasoned medical judgment so as [to] inform the Board on a medical question and facilitate the Board’s consideration and weighing of the report against any contrary reports.”); Stefl v. Nicholson, 21 Vet.App. 120, 123 (2007) (a medical examination is considered adequate “where it is based upon consideration of the veteran’s prior medical history and examinations and also describes the disability, if any, in sufficient detail so
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that the Board’s ‘evaluation of the claimed disability will be a fully informed one'” (quoting Ardison v. Brown, 6 Vet.App. 405, 407 (1994) (internal quotation marks omitted)). Any retroactive medical opinion provided pursuant to § 3.156(c)(4) must consider the MVRP-related service medical records that were unavailable in 1979. 38 C.F.R. § 3.156(c)(4).

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Designated for electronic publication only
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR VETERANS CLAIMS
No. 16-3360
EDWARD J. HOSPEDALE, APPELLANT,
V.
DAVID J. SHULKIN, M.D.,
SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, APPELLEE.
Before SCHOELEN, Judge.
MEMORANDUM DECISION
Note: Pursuant to U.S. Vet. App. R. 30(a), this action may not be cited as precedent.
SCHOELEN, Judge: The appellant, Edward J. Hospedale, through counsel, appeals an August 30, 2016, Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board) decision that denied entitlement to an effective date prior to October 4, 2001, for the award of service connection for a psychiatric disability, to include depressive disorder with agoraphobia, panic attacks, and a sleep disorder.
Record of Proceedings (R.) at 2-10. This appeal is timely, and the Court has jurisdiction to review the Board’s decision pursuant to 38 U.S.C. § 7252(a) and 7266(a). Single-judge disposition is appropriate. See Frankel v. Derwinski, 1 Vet.App. 23, 25-26 (1990). For the reasons that follow, the Court will vacate the August 30, 2016 Board decision and remand the matter for further proceedings.
I. BACKGROUND
The appellant served on active duty in the U.S. Army from August 1974 to August 1977.
R. at 953. During his service, he volunteered for the Medical Volunteer Research Program
(MVRP) at the Biomedical Laboratory, Edgewood Arsenal, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland,
where he participated in experiments involving the administration of anticholinergic drugs and
valium. R. at 5, 469, 719-90.
2
In March 1979, the appellant was diagnosed with a personality disorder. R. at 4, 253, 921.
In March 1979, he applied for service connection for a “nervous condition,” contending that his
condition was related to experiments in which he had participated in during his time as a volunteer
for the MVRP. R. at 931. A “Deferred or Confirmed Rating Decision,” dated June 30, 1979,
states: “Deny service connection [for] . . . nerves.” R. at 905. In a letter dated July 2, 1979, VA
informed the appellant that it had “carefully reviewed” his service-connection claim, but that
“[a]vailable records do not show that [he] received treatment for [his] nervous condition . . . during
service nor were they recorded in the report of [his] examination at the time of [his] discharge.”
R. at 901. “[N]o further action may be taken on your claim,” the letter reads, “unless you submit
evidence to show that these conditions were incurred in or aggravated by your military service and
that they still exist[].” Id. The appellant did not respond to this letter. In October 1980, the
appellant was again diagnosed with a personality disorder. R. at 4.
In August 2001, the appellant received a copy of medical records pertaining to the
experiments he was involved in for the MVRP. R. at 5, 719-90. These records had been previously
unavailable. R. at 466, 469.
In October 2001 and May 2003, the appellant sought to reopen his claim for service
connection for an anxiety disorder. R. at 466, 577, 857-60. In November 2003, a VA examiner
diagnosed the appellant with depressive disorder and agoraphobia, and opined that it was “at least
as likely as not that his [] sleep disorder and agoraphobia are the result of his participation in the
[MVRP] study.” R. at 625.
In August 2005, a VA examiner opined that the appellant’s anxiety disorder was as least as
likely as not a result of his participation in experiments for the MVRP. R. at 576, 580. In a
September 2005 rating decision, the regional office (RO) granted service connection for depressive
disorder with agoraphobia and panic attacks, and assigned a 50% rating, effective May 2003. R.
at 575-77.
In June 2009, the RO assigned an earlier effective date of October 4, 2001 for the
appellant’s service-connected depressive disorder. R. at 468-70. In its decision, the RO stated
that, had the appellant’s MVRP-related medical records been available in 2001, “service
connection would have been granted.” R. at 469; see also R. at 175 (“The RO [In June 2009]
stated that service connection was warranted based on government records that were in existence
at the time the [v]eteran filed his claim on October 4, 2001, but were not associated with the claim
3
file. See 38 C.F.R. § 3.156(c) (2014).”). However, the RO declined to assign an earlier effective
date commensurate with the RO’s denial of the appellant’s 1979 claim, because the appellant had
not been diagnosed with a disability at that time, other than a personality disorder. R. at 469, 174.
Following further procedural development, the appellant’s case reached the Board in May
2015, where it was dismissed based on a finding that the underlying claim was an impermissible,
freestanding claim for an earlier effective date. R. at 170. In its decision, the Board described the
administrative history of the claim as follows:
[I]n March 1979, the [v]eteran filed a claim for service connection for a nervous
condition. In July 1979, the RO denied the claim. That rating decision was not
timely appealed, and became final.
R. at 173. Following the 2015 Board decision, the Court granted the parties’ joint motion for
remand (JMR), instructing the Board to readjudicate the jurisdictional posture of the appeal
(Remand Order). R. at 119-25.
In the Board decision here on appeal, the Board first acknowledged the JMR before finding
that
[g]iven the procedural complexity in this case and the findings of the parties, the
Board will not issue a dismissal and will proceed to decide this case on the merits.
Further discussion of the Court’s jurisprudence on this issue, and the conflict
between several key Court determinations, and in light of the joint motion is simply
not warranted as it only provides more complexity (and possibly extensive litigation
and more delays in this case).
R. at 5-6. The Board then began analyzing whether the appellant was entitled to an earlier effective
date under 38 U.S.C. § 5110 and 38 C.F.R. § 3.400. R. at 6. To this end, the Board noted that the
appellant “initially claimed service connection for a psychiatric disability (i.e. nervousness) in
March 1979.” R. at 7. It continued:
While the RO did not actually adjudicate this claim through issuance of a rating
decision, the [v]eteran did not respond to the RO’s July 1979 request for additional
evidence within one year.
Consequently, the claim must be considered as having been abandoned and cannot
form the basis for assignment of an earlier effective date. . . . The next
communication of record indicating an intent to apply for service connection for
[a] psychiatric disability is the [v]eteran’s communication received on October 4,
2001, the claim which forms the basis for assignment of the current effective date
. . . . Accordingly, there is no basis for assigning an effective date for this serviceconnected
disability prior to October 4, 2001.
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R. at 7-8 (citing 38 C.F.R. § 3.158 and §3.400). Further, the Board found that, because there was
no evidence that the appellant suffered from a psychiatric disorder subject to VA compensation
prior to October 4, 2001, an effective date earlier than October 4, 2001, was not warranted. R. at
8 (citing 38 C.F.R. §3.400).
In its effective-date discussion, the Board recognized the appellant’s argument that, had his
MVRP-related records been available, “his current acquired psychiatric disorder would have been
recognized at an earlier date.” R. at 8. It then acknowledged that “taking the anticholinergic
medicine during service was traumatic to the [v]eteran,” and that it “appears that any mental health
practitioner who evaluated [the appellant] prior to October 4, 2001 would not have reviewed the
research records.” R. at 8. The Board, however, determined that there is “no basis for assigning
an earlier effective date based solely on disclosure of previously confidential information.” R. at
8. And, in its later “due process” analysis, it determined that “all necessary development ha[d]
been accomplished,” and therefore, VA’s duty to assist had been fulfilled. R. at 9-10. This appeal
followed.
II. ANALYSIS
A. Compliance with the JMR
The Secretary maintains that remand is required in this case because the Board failed to substantially comply with the terms of the JMR. Secretary’s Brief (Br.) at 9-11. In particular, the Secretary contends that the Board failed to discuss the “jurisdictional posture of the appeal now at hand,” as required by the Remand Order, including “whether the June 2009 or September 2005 rating decisions were on direct appeal, and whether the timeliness requirement for appeal of the
June 2009 rating decision was waived, consistent with Percy v. Shinseki, 23 Vet.App. 37, 45(2009).” Secretary’s Br. at 10 (citing R. at 122). Such discussion, in the Secretary’s estimation, “will illuminate whether [the] [a]ppellant is seeking a direct appeal of a prior decision of the RO or whether [the] Appellant is seeking to reopen a decision which has previously become final.” Id.
In his reply brief, the appellant insists that the Secretary’s argument regarding VA’s failure to comply with the JMR is a “red herring.” Reply Br. at 2. In the appellant’s estimation, since the Board did not dismiss his appeal, the Board “clearly agreed” that the appellant had filed a timely
5
Notice of Disagreement to the September 2005 rating decision and the Board had “implicitly waived” the Substantive Appeal requirement. Reply Br. at 3.
In Stegall, this Court emphasized that a remand “confers on the veteran, as a matter of law, the right to compliance with the remand orders,” and the Board itself errs when it fails to ensure compliance with the terms of such a remand. Stegall v. West, 11 Vet.App. 268, 271 (1998).
Although the Secretary is required to comply with remand orders, it is substantial compliance, not absolute compliance, that is required. Dyment v. West, 13 Vet.App. 141, 146-47 (1999) (holding that there was no Stegall violation when the examiner made the ultimate determination required by the Board’s remand, because such determination “more than substantially complied with the Board’s remand order”). Further, in determining whether the Secretary complied with a remand order, the Court is required to take due account of the rule of prejudicial error. 38 U.S.C. § 7261(b); Conway v. Principi, 353 F.3d 1369, 1374-75 (Fed. Cir. 2004).
In this case, the Court is not persuaded that remand is warranted for any failure by the Board to ensure compliance with the Remand Order. See R. at 5; Stegall, 11 Vet.App. at 271. As the appellant correctly observes, the Board clearly considered the JMR and then proceeded to address the merits of this case, indicating that the Board implicitly waived any jurisdictional requirements. See Percy, 23 Vet.App. at 45-46 (the 60-day period for filing a Substantive Appeal is not a jurisdictional bar to the Board’s adjudication of a matter, and VA may “explicitly or implicitly” waive the requirement that an appellant file a timely Substantive Appeal); see Rowell
v. Principi, 4 Vet.App. 9, 17 (1993) (“[F]ailure to file a timely [Substantive] Appeal does not automatically foreclose an appeal, render a claim final, or deprive the [Board] of jurisdiction.”).
Accordingly, there is no prejudicial Stegall error by the Board that requires remand. 38 U.S.C. § 7261(b); Conway, 353 F.3d at 1374-75; Stegall, 11 Vet.App. at 271.
B. Effective Date
Regulatory section 3.156(c) provides an exception to the general rules governing the assignment of effective dates. See 38 U.S.C. § 5110(a). Specifically, when the Secretary decides a claim, but later receives “relevant official service department records that existed and had not been associated with the claims file when VA first decided the claim, VA will reconsider the claim.” 38 C.F.R. § 3.156(c)(1) (2017). If the Secretary awards benefits “based all or in part” on the newly submitted service department records, VA allows the assignment of an effective date of benefits “on the date entitlement arose or the date VA received the previously decided claim,
6
whichever is later.” 38 C.F.R. § 3.156(c)(3) (2017); see Mayhue v. Shinseki, 24 Vet.App. 273, 279(2011) (holding that “a claimant whose claim is reconsidered based on newly discovered service department records may be entitled to an effective date as early as the date of the original claim”).
An earlier effective date thus is available under § 3.156(c) only when the award is based at least in part on the late-arriving records. Blubaugh v. McDonald, 773 F.3d 1310 (Fed. Cir. 2014).
A Board determination of the proper effective date for disability compensation is a finding of fact that the Court reviews under the “clearly erroneous” standard set forth in 38 U.S.C. § 7261(a)(4). See Evans v. West, 12 Vet.App. 396, 401 (1999). A finding of fact is clearly erroneous when the Court, after reviewing the entire evidence, “is left with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed.” United States v. U.S. Gypsum Co., 333 U.S. 364, 395 (1948); see also Gilbert v. Derwinski, 1 Vet.App. 49, 52 (1990). The Board must provide a statement of the reasons or bases for its effective-date determination, adequate to enable an
appellant to understand the precise basis for the Board’s decision as well as to facilitate review in this Court. 38 U.S.C. § 7104(d)(1); see Allday v. Brown, 7 Vet.App. 517, 527 (1995); Gilbert, 1 Vet.App. at 56-57.
On appeal, the appellant argues that reversal of the Board decision is warranted, because the Board failed to consider and apply § 3.156(c) in its effective date determination. Appellant’s Br. at 15-17. He asserts that this regulation is applicable to his claim because “there is no dispute” that the medical records pertaining to his participation in experiments at the MVRP were not considered by VA when he filed his 1979 claim for service connection, and those late-arriving records served as the basis for his award of service connection. Appellant’s Br. at 9, 10-15.
Regarding the appropriate effective date under § 3.156(c)(3) (“the date VA received the previously decided claim”), the appellant argues that the Board’s findings that the Board had never actually adjudicated his 1979 claim for service connection for a psychiatric disability, and that thereafter, he had abandoned this claim, are clearly erroneous. Appellant’s Br. at 13-14. Further, he argues that the Board’s finding that VA complied with its duty to assist is clearly erroneous, because, as the Board acknowledged, the medical practitioners who evaluated him prior to October 2001 did not have access to his MVRP-related medical records. Appellant’s Br. at 15-17; Reply Br. at 4-5. In order for VA to determine “the date entitlement arose” under § 3.156(c)(3), he contends, VA must obtain a retrospective medical opinion, taking into account the MVRP-related
7
records, regarding whether he suffered from a mental health disability other than a personality disorder, prior to October 2001. Appellant’s Br. at 15-17; Reply Br. at 5.
In response, the Secretary disputes that reversal of the Board’s decision is warranted; however, the Secretary concedes that the Board decision should be vacated and remanded for the Board to address §3.156(c). Secretary’s Br. at11-14. Specifically, the Secretary acknowledges that, there is “little question that [the] [a]ppellant’s claim involves service department records which were not available at the time of his 1979 claim for service-connection,” Secretary’s Br. at 12, and that “it is clear . . . that [the] [a]ppellant was granted service-connection subsequent to the submission of those records,” Secretary’s Br. at 12-13. However, the Secretary argues, because the Board failed to “offer any finding of fact as to whether the grant of [the] [a]ppellant’s service connection was based in whole or in part on the previously unavailable service department records,” remand, not reversal is required. Secretary’s Br. at 12 (citing 38 C.F.R. §3.156(c)(1)).
Regarding the appellant’s duty-to-assist argument, the Secretary asserts that a determination on that issue is premature in light of the Board’s failure to make any determinations as to the applicability of §3.156(c). Secretary’s Br. at 13. The Secretary does not address the appellant’s argument regarding whether VA ever actually adjudicated his 1979 claim for service connection for a psychiatric disability, or whether he abandoned this 1979 claim. See Secretary’s Br. at 13.
The Court agrees with the appellant that the Board’s denial of an earlier effective date for his psychiatric disability is clearly erroneous, because the Board failed to consider and discuss whether § 3.156(c) applies in this case. 38 U.S.C. § 7261(a)(4); U.S. Gypsum Co., 333 U.S. at 395; Gilbert, 1 Vet.App. at 52. The potential applicability of this regulation was clearly raised by the record. Schafrath v. Derwinski, 1 Vet.App. 589, 592 (1991) (the Board must discuss all provisions of law and regulation where they are made “potentially applicable through the assertions and issues raised in the record”); see also Robinson v. Peake, 21 Vet.App. 545, 552
(2008), aff’d sub nom. Robinson v. Shinseki, 557 F.3d 1335 (Fed. Cir. 2009) (the Board is required to address all issues raised either by the claimant or by evidence of record). As the Secretary concedes, this case involves records that were unavailable when the appellant originally filed his 1979 claim for service connection. Secretary’s Br. at 12; see 38 C.F.R. § 3.156(c). Subsequent to
the submission of those records, the appellant was granted service connection. R. at 575-77, 174; Secretary’s Br. at 12; see 38 C.F.R. § 3.156(c). VA has previously acknowledged that service connection was found to be warranted “based on” those records. See R. at 174 (citing 38 C.F.R.
8
§ 3.156(c) (2014)). Yet the Board decision on appeal does not contain even a reference to this regulation. The Board’s failure to consider whether the appellant was entitled to an earlier effective date for his service-connected psychiatric disability, based on § 3.156(c), was clearly erroneous. 38 U.S.C. § 7261(a)(4).
To the extent that the Board did not believe § 3.156(c) was applicable because VA did not “issue[] a decision” on the appellant’s 1979 claim, and thereafter, the claim was “abandoned,” see 38 C.F.R. § 3.156(c)(1), such finding was also clearly erroneous. Appellant’s Br. at 13-15; R. at 7.
Indeed, the record on appeal contains a June 30, 1979, “Deferred or Confirmed Rating Decision,” which explicitly denies service connection for nerves. R. at 905-06. It follows that the July 1979 letter addressed to the appellant was not simply a “request for additional evidence,” as the Board describes it, rather, it was clearly communication to the appellant that his 1979 service connection claim was being denied. See R. at 901-02. Tellingly, VA has, itself, previously characterized the
1979 letter as a “denial,” on several occasions. See R. at 502 (“Your claim for service connection for a nervous condition was previously denied on July 2, 1979, because the available records did not show that you received treatment for a nervous condition nor was this condition recorded in the report of your examination at the time of your discharge from service.”), 575 (“[S]ervice connection for a nervous condition was previously denied and you were informed of the denial[] on July 2, 1979 . . .”), 502 (“Your claim for service connection for a nervous condition was
previously denied and you were informed by VA notification Letter dated July 2, 1979. You had one year from that date to appeal.”), 795 (“Service connection for nervous condition was previously denied on July 2, 1979.”). In short, VA clearly issued a decision on the appellant’s 1979 claim, and the Board clearly erred in concluding otherwise. 38 U.S.C. § 7261(a)(4); U.S. Gypsum Co., 333 U.S. at 395; Gilbert, 1 Vet.App. at 52.
Although the appellant advocates for reversal of the Board decision based on the Board’s clearly erroneous findings, the Court agrees with the Secretary that remand is the more appropriate remedy, given that the Board did not engage in the necessary factfinding to decide whether § 3.156(c) applies in this case. See Hensley v. West, 212 F.3d 1255, 1263-64 (Fed. Cir. 2000) (when a court of appeals reviews a lower court’s decision, it may remand it if the previous adjudicator failed to make findings of fact essential to the decision); Tucker v. West, 11 Vet.App. 369, 374 (1998) (holding that remand is the appropriate remedy “where the Board has incorrectly
applied the law, failed to provide an adequate statement of reasons or bases for its determinations,
9
or where the record is otherwise inadequate”). Specifically, the Board, on remand, must determine whether the appellant’s eventual grant of service connection was “based all or in part” on the previously unavailable service department records, which would be required for the consideration of an earlier effective date under §3.156(c). 38 C.F.R. § 3.156(c)(3); see also Blubaugh, 773 F.3d at 1314; Elkins v. Gober, 229 F.3d 1369, 1377 (Fed. Cir. 2000) (“Fact-finding in veterans cases is
to be done by the expert [Board], not by the Veterans Court.”); Hensley v. West, 212 F.3d 1255, 1263 (Fed. Cir. 2000) (noting “the general rule that appellate tribunals are not appropriate fora for initial fact finding”); Neumann v. West, 14 Vet.App. 12, 21 (2000) (although “the Court may reverse an incorrect judgment of law which is based upon proper factual findings, ‘it should not simply [make] factual findings on its own'” (quoting Hensley, 212 F.3d at 1263)).
Moreover, if § 3.156(c) is ultimately deemed applicable in this case, the duty to assist would require the development of evidence regarding whether, prior to the date of his 2001 claim to reopen, the appellant suffered from a psychiatric disorder eligible for service connection. 38 C.F.R. § 3.156(c)(4) (2017); see Vigil v. Peake, 22 Vet. App. 63, 66 (2008) (noting that, if § 3.156(c) is applicable, “the claimant is entitled to a retroactive evaluation of the disability to assess a proper effective date which would be the date of the original claim or the date entitlement otherwise arose, whichever is later”). As the Board recognized, although the appellant was not diagnosed with a disability for which service connection may be granted prior to 2001, any medical practitioners who evaluated him prior to October 2001 would not have had access to his MVRP related medical records. R. at 8. Accordingly, their opinions and examinations, which do not rest on correct facts, are inadequate to determine “the date entitlement arose” under § 3.156(c)(3). 38 C.F.R. § 3.156(c)(4) (“A retroactive evaluation of disability resulting from disease or injury subsequently service connected on the basis of the new evidence from the service department must be supported adequately by medical evidence.”); see also 38 U.S.C. § 5103A(a)(1) (requiring the Secretary to “make reasonable efforts to assist a claimant by obtaining evidence necessary to substantiate” the claim); Acevedo v. Shinseki, 25 Vet.App. 286, 293 (2012) (“[A]n adequate medical report must rest on correct facts and reasoned medical judgment so as [to] inform the Board on a medical question and facilitate the Board’s consideration and weighing of the report against any contrary reports.”); Stefl v. Nicholson, 21 Vet.App. 120, 123 (2007) (a medical examination is considered adequate “where it is based upon consideration of the veteran’s prior medical history and examinations and also describes the disability, if any, in sufficient detail so
10
that the Board’s ‘evaluation of the claimed disability will be a fully informed one'” (quoting Ardison v. Brown, 6 Vet.App. 405, 407 (1994) (internal quotation marks omitted)). Any retroactive medical opinion provided pursuant to § 3.156(c)(4) must consider the MVRP-related service medical records that were unavailable in 1979. 38 C.F.R. § 3.156(c)(4).
Given this disposition, the Court will not, at this time, address the other arguments and issues raised by the appellant. See Best v. Principi, 15 Vet.App. 18, 20 (2001) (per curiam order)(holding that “[a] narrow decision preserves for the appellant an opportunity to argue those claimed errors before the Board at the readjudication, and, of course, before this Court in an appeal, should the Board rule against him”). On remand, the appellant is free to submit additional evidence and argument on the remanded matter, and the Board is required to consider any such relevant evidence and argument. See Kay v. Principi, 16 Vet.App. 529, 534 (2002) (stating that, on remand, the Board must consider additional evidence and argument in assessing entitlement to the benefit sought); Kutscherousky v. West, 12 Vet.App. 369, 372-73 (1999) (per curiam order). The Court
reminds the Board that “[a] remand is meant to entail a critical examination of the justification for
the decision,” Fletcher v. Derwinski, 1 Vet.App. 394, 397 (1991), and the Board must proceed
expeditiously, in accordance with 38 U.S.C. § 7112.
III. CONCLUSION
After consideration of the appellant’s and the Secretary’s pleadings, and a review of the
record, the Board’s August 30, 2016, decision is VACATED and the matter REMANDED for
proceedings consistent with this decision.
DATED: February 9, 2018
Copies to:
Amy F. Odom, Esq.
VA General Counsel (027)

 

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