Veteranclaims’s Blog

November 1, 2021

Single Judge Application; hypertension; It is unclear why the appellant’s October 1989 blood pressure reading is insufficient to constitute “an entire history” when it is the only relevant blood pressure reading; the facts of McCarroll are distinguishable from the case at hand. In McCarroll, the claimant’s blood pressure was recorded as 144/92, 142/86, 128/88, 138/80, 156/100, and 148/96. Id. Only one of the appellant’s 6 blood pressure readings showed a diastolic pressure of 100 or more. In this matter, the appellant’s October 1989 blood pressure reading of 140/100 is the only blood pressure reading taken before the appellant was placed on medication to control his hypertension. R. at 3339;

Designated for electronic publication only
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR VETERANS CLAIMS
No. 20-2689
ROBERT ROBY, APPELLANT,
V.
DENIS MCDONOUGH,
SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, APPELLEE.
Before GREENBERG, Judge.
MEMORANDUM DECISION
Note: Pursuant to U.S. Vet. App. R. 30(a),
this action may not be cited as precedent.
GREENBERG, Judge: U.S. Navy veteran Robert Roby, appeals through counsel that part
of a February 19, 2019, Board of Veterans’ Appeals decision that granted an initial disability rating
of 10% for hypertension, but no higher, effective from April 19, 2010, to July 9, 2010; and denied
(1) an initial compensable rating for hypertension effective before April 19, 2010; (2) an initial
compensable rating for hypertension for the period after July 9, 2010; and (3) an increased
disability rating in excess of 70% for major depression.1 Record (R.) at 5-22.
The appellant argues that the Board erred by failing to (1) correctly apply Diagnostic Code
(DC) 7101; (2) comply with the terms of the Court’s June 2018 remand order; and (3) provide an
adequate statement of reasons or bases for its determinations. Appellant’s Brief at 11-30.
For the following reasons, the Court will (1) modify that part of the February 2019 Board
decision that granted an initial disability rating of 10% for hypertension, but no higher, effective
from April 19, 2010, to July 9, 2010; and (2) reverse that part of the February 2019 Board decision
that denied an initial compensable rating for hypertension effective after July 9, 2010, and remand
1 To the extent that the Board granted an initial disability rating of 10%, but no higher, for hypertension,
effective from April 19, 2010, to July 9, 2010, the Court will not disturb this favorable finding. See Medrano v.
Nicholson, 21 Vet.App. 165, 170 (2007).
2
the matter. The remainder of the February 2019 Board decision will be set aside, and the matters
remanded for readjudication.
I.
The Veterans Administration was established in 1930 when Congress consolidated the
Bureau of Pensions, the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, and the U.S. Veterans’
Bureau into one agency. Act of July 3, 1930, ch. 863, 46 Stat. 1016. This Court was created with
the enactment of the Veterans’ Judicial Review Act (VJRA) in 1988. See Pub. L. No. 100-687, §
402, 102 Stat. 4105, 4122 (1988). Before the VJRA, for nearly 60 years VA rules, regulations,
and decisions lived in “splendid isolation,” generally unconstrained by judicial review. See Brown
v. Gardner, 513 U.S. 115, 122 (1994) (Souter, J.).
Yet, the creation of a special court solely for veterans is consistent with congressional intent
as old as the Republic. Congress first sought judicial assistance in affording veterans relief when
it adopted the Invalid Pensions Act of 1792, which provided “for the settlement of the claims of
widows and orphans . . . and to regulate the claims to invalid pensions,” for those injured during
the Revolutionary War. Act of Mar. 23, 1792, ch. 11, 1 U.S. Stat. 243 (1792) (repealed in part and
amended by Act of Feb. 28, 1793, ch. 17, 1 Stat. 324 (1793)). The act, though magnanimous,
curtailed the power of the judiciary, by providing the Secretary of War the ability to withhold
favorable determinations to claimants by circuit courts if the Secretary believed that the circuit
court had erred in favor of the soldier based on “suspected imposition or mistake.” See id.
3
Chief Justice John Jay2 wrote a letter3 to President George Washington on behalf of the
Circuit Court for the District of New York4 acknowledging that “the objects of this act are
exceedingly benevolent, and do real honor to the humanity and justice of Congress.” See
Hayburn’s Case, 2 U.S. (2 Dall.) 409, 410 n., 1 L. Ed. 436 (1792). Jay also noted that “judges
desire to manifest, on all proper occasions and in every proper manner their high respect for the
national legislature.” Id.
This desire to effect congressional intent favorable to veterans has echoed throughout the
Supreme Court’s decisions on matters that emanated from our Court. See Shinseki v. Sanders, 556
U.S. 396, 416, 129 S. Ct. 1696, 1709 (2009) (Souter, J., dissenting) (“Given Congress’s
understandable decision to place a thumb on the scale in the veteran’s favor in the course of
administrative and judicial review of VA decisions”); see also Henderson v. Shinseki, 562 U.S.
428, 440, 131 S. Ct. 1197, 1205 (2011) (declaring that congressional solicitude for veterans is
plainly reflected in “the singular characteristics of the review scheme that Congress created for the
adjudication of veterans’ benefits claims,” and emphasizing that the provision “was enacted as part
of the VJRA [because] that legislation was decidedly favorable to the veteran”).
2 John Jay served as the first Secretary of State of the United States on an interim basis. II DAVID G. SAVAGE,
GUIDE TO THE U.S. SUPREME COURT 872 (4th ed. (2004)). Although a large contributor to early U.S. foreign policy,
Jay turned down the opportunity to assume this position full time. Id. at 872, 916. Instead, he accepted a nomination
from President Washington to become the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court on the day the position was created
by the Judiciary Act of 1789. Id. Jay resigned his position in 1795 to become the second Governor of New York. Id.
He was nominated to become Chief Justice of the Supreme Court again in December 1800, but he declined the
appointment. Id.
3 The Supreme Court never decided Hayburn’s Case. See 2 U.S. (2 Dall.) 409, 409 (1792). The case was
held over under advisement until the Court’s next session and Congress adopted the Invalid Pensions Act of 1793,
which required the Secretary of War, in conjunction with the Attorney General, to “take such measures as may be
necessary to obtain an adjudication of the Supreme Court of the United States.” Act of Feb. 28, 1793, ch. 17, 1 Stat.
324 (1793). Hayburn’s Case has often been cited as an example of judicial restraint, see, e.g., Tutun v. United States,
270 U.S. 568 (1926), but Supreme Court historian Maeva Marcus has argued persuasively to the contrary. See Maeva
Marcus & Robert Teir, Hayburn’s Case: A Misinterpretation of Precedent, 1988 WIS. L. REV. 527. After all, Jay’s
letter included by Dallas, the Court Reporter, in a note accompanying the decision to hold the matter under advisement,
is nothing more than an advisory opinion that compelled Congress to change the law in order to make the judiciary
the final voice on the review of a Revolutionary War veteran’s right to pension benefits. See Hayburn’s Case, 2 U.S.
(2 Dall.) 409, 410 n.
4 At this time, each Justice of the Supreme Court also served on circuit courts, a practice known as circuit
riding. See RICHARD H. FALLON, JR., ET AL., HART AND WECHSLER’S THE FEDERAL COURTS AND THE FEDERAL
SYSTEM (7th ed. 2015).
4
II.
Justice Alito5 observed in Henderson v. Shinseki that our Court’s scope of review is “similar
to that of an Article III court reviewing agency action under the Administrative Procedure Act,
5 U.S.C. § 706.” 562 U.S. at 432 n.2 (2011); see 38 U.S.C. § 7261. “The Court may hear cases
by judges sitting alone or in panels, as determined pursuant to procedures established by the
Court.” 38 U.S.C. § 7254. The statutory command that a single judge 6 may issue a binding
decision is “unambiguous, unequivocal, and unlimited,” see Conroy v. Aniskoff, 507 U.S. 511, 514
(1993). The Court’s practice of treating panel decisions as “precedential” is unnecessary,
particularly since the Court’s adoption of class action litigation. See Wolfe v. Wilkie, 32 Vet.App.
1 (2019). We cite decisions from our Court merely for their guidance and persuasive value.
III.
The appellant served on active duty in the U.S. Navy from August 1972 to September 1973
as a quartermaster. R. at 3714 (DD Form 214). The appellant was medically discharged from
service after recovering from tuberculosis. R. at 3690, 1587-89.
IV.
VA awarded the appellant service connection for (1) residuals of pulmonary tuberculosis,
with a 10% disability rating, effective May 18, 1974, and (2) residuals of a thoracotomy on the
right side of the chest wall, with a 10% disability rating, effective August 18, 1986. R. at 3313.
In October 1989, the appellant’s blood pressure was recorded at 140/100. R. at 3339. He
was diagnosed with hypertension and placed on medication to control his high blood pressure. Id.
In April 1990, VA denied service connection for hypertension. R. at 3315-19.
5 Justice Alito was born in Trenton, New Jersey. SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES,
https://www.supremecourt.gov/about/biographies.aspx (last visited Mar. 4, 2020). He began his career as a law clerk,
then became assistant U.S. attorney for the district of New Jersey before assuming multiple positions at the Department
of Justice. Id. He then became a U.S. attorney for the district of New Jersey. Id. Before his nomination for the
Supreme Court, he spent 16 years as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Id. In 2005, President
George W. Bush chose Alito to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Id.
6 From 1989 to 1993, West (the publisher of this Court’s decisions) published this Court’s single-judge
decisions in tables in hard-bound volumes of West’s Veterans Appeals Reporter. Since 1993, West has published this
Court’s single-judge decisions electronically only. I believe the Court should publish all its decisions in print form.
See, e.g., Passaic Cty. Bar Ass’n v. Hughes, 401 U.S. 1003 (1971).
5
At a June 2005 VA mental health treatment session, the appellant’s symptoms were listed
as (1) decreased sleep; (2) decreased appetite; (3) irritability; (4) mood swings; (5) psychomotor
retardation; (6) anhedonia; (7) fatigue; (8) slowed thinking and decreased concentration; (9)
decreased libido; (10) excessive worry and indecisiveness; and (11) isolating and withdrawn
behavior. R. at 3016. The appellant also reported that he suffered from panic attacks, with the
most recent attack occurring earlier that morning, id., as well as reporting having had suicidal and
homicidal thoughts, but had not attempted suicide or homicide. R. at 3018. The appellant stated
that he had homicidal ideations “all the time for several people, his wife being one of them.” Id.
The examiner diagnosed the appellant with major, recurrent, severe depression and dysthymia. Id.
In February 2006, the appellant underwent a VA mental disorders examination, R. at 2885-

  1. At the examination, he reported that over the last 4 to 5 years he had become increasingly
    depressed as a result of physical pain and chest problems stemming from his service-connected
    tuberculosis and thoracotomy of the right chest wall. R. at 2885. The examiner noted the appellant
    suffered the following symptoms on a daily basis: (1) Depressed and irritable mood; (2) difficulty
    sleeping; and (3) paranoid ideation towards the Government and his employer. R. at 2886. The
    examiner also noted the appellant had panic attacks approximately twice per week. Id. The
    examiner reported that the appellant “has been written up for poor job performance secondary to
    his depressed mood and conflicts with supervisors.” Id. The examiner diagnosed the appellant
    with major depression, secondary to chronic medical conditions. R. at 2887.
    In February 2006, the regional office (RO) granted service connection for major
    depression, with a 30% disability rating, effective October 5, 2005. R. at 2879-81.
    At a June 2007 VA mental disorders examination, R. at 2557-59, the appellant reported
    that his depression had caused him to miss 250 hours of work in the last year and use his sick
    leave. R. at 2557. He further reported that he had “passive suicidal and homicidal ideations” but
    “no plan or intent to harm others or himself at this time.” R. at 2556.
    Also in June 2007, the RO increased the appellant’s disability rating for major depression
    from 30% to 50%, effective March 26, 2007. R. at 2553-56.
    In October 2007, the appellant underwent another VA mental disorders examination. R. at
    2495-96. The appellant reported he (1) has nightly sleeping problems; (2) does not have an
    appetite; (3) does not socialize; and (4) “hears knocking at the door and voices outside almost
    every night,” R. at 2495; (5) had panic attacks three to four times per week; and (6) had problems
    6
    with impulse control. R. at 2496. He further claimed that he missed 2 days of work each week as
    a result of his psychiatric problems, id., and had suicidal thoughts and homicidal ideations, but had
    not attempted to carry out either. Id.
    At a November 2009 VA mental health evaluation, R. at 2169-81, the appellant reported
    that his chief complaints were increased depression and suicidal thoughts. R. at 2169. The
    appellant reported he suffered from (1) nightmares two to three times per week; (2) little interest
    in activities he used to enjoy; (3) insomnia; (4) fatigue; (5) daily irritability; and (6) “fleeting
    thoughts” of suicide. R. at 2169, 2173. The appellant also reported that at his job, he was referred
    for suicide prevention training. R. at 2173.
    In December 2009, the appellant testified before the Board, R. at 2135-54, that (1) his
    depression had worsened and he was put on a suicide watch plan by his VA psychiatrist, R. at
    2140, 2150; (2) he was first diagnosed with high blood pressure in 1973, began taking medication
    to control the condition in 1989, and presently continued to take medication for the condition, R.
    at 2144-46; (3) he had filed “a lot” of equal employment and harassment complaints at work
    because of conflicts with coworkers and his supervisor, R. at 2149; and (4) his employer requested
    that he take suicide prevention training. Id.
    In April 2010, the appellant underwent a VA hypertension examination, R. at 2036-61, at
    which the examiner recorded his blood pressure as 160/93, 170/102, and 167/106, R. at 2039, and
    noted that “continuous medication is required for control of [the appellant’s] hypertension” R. at
  2. The examiner concluded that the appellant’s hypertension was at least as likely as not a
    result of his in-service illness because “[t]here are numerous elevated blood pressures documented
    in the service medical record[s] that meet the criteria for the diagnosis of hypertension.” R. at 2043.
    At a November 2010 private medical examination, the appellant reported that he suffered
    from (1) depressed mood; (2) trouble sleeping; (3) poor appetite; (4) no energy; (5) anhedonia; (6)
    impaired attention and focus; (7) suspiciousness; (8) hallucinations and hearing voices; (9)
    impaired memory; and (10) suicidal and homicidal ideations, but only thoughts and without threats
    of realizing them. R. at 1967. The examiner listed the appellant’s symptoms as (1) flattened affect;
    (2) difficulty in understanding complex commands; (3) impairment in short and long term memory
    (e.g., retention of only highly learned material, forgetting to complete tasks); (4) impaired abstract
    thinking; (5) disturbances of mood and motivation; and (6) difficulty in establishing and
    maintaining effective work and social relationships. R. at 1968. The examiner opined that the
    7
    appellant’s psychiatric symptoms caused “occupational and social impairment with reduced
    reliability and productivity.” Id.
    In May 2011, the RO granted service connection for essential hypertension, with a 0%
    disability rating, effective March 19, 2007. R. at 1840-41.
    In February 2014, the appellant testified before the Board, R. at 1400-30, that he (1) was
    still taking medication for his hypertension, R. at 1406-07; (2) did not have the ability to maintain
    relationships with his coworkers, R. at 1419; (3) did not have a social life, R. at 1421; (4) suffered
    from short-term memory issues, R. at 1422; and (5) daily contemplated hurting himself or others
    when stressed or depressed. R. at 1422-23.
    In June 2014, the Board awarded an effective date of January 16, 1990, for the appellant’s
    service-connected hypertension. R. at 1219-36.
    In October 2014, the appellant underwent a VA mental disorders examination, R. at 1013-
    17, at which he reported that he experiences hallucinations “all of the time. I hear noise all the
    time. It wakes me up and I can’t go back to sleep. I don’t know where it’s coming from. I just
    think someone is inside my house. I hear music/voices,” R. at 1016, and that he experienced
    suicidal ideations and that it “wouldn’t take much” for him to follow through. Id. The appellant’s
    symptoms were listed as (1) depressed mood; (2) anxiety; (3) chronic sleep impairment; (4) mild
    memory loss, such as forgetting names, directions or recent events; (5) flattened affect; (6)
    disturbances of mood and motivation; and (7) difficult in establishing and maintaining effective
    work and social relationships. R. at 1015. The examiner described the appellant as having
    “occupational and social impairment with reduced reliability and productivity,” R. at 1013, but
    that he was an “inadequate historian” and “reported symptoms and symptom severity [that were]
    inconsistent with presentation.” R. at 1016.
    In August 2015, the Board denied (1) a disability rating in excess of 50% for major
    depression and (2) a compensable disability rating for hypertension. R. at 626-39.
    In November 2016, the Court granted a joint motion for partial remand (JPMR). R. at 552.
    The parties agreed that the Board failed to (1) “discuss the frequency, severity, and duration of the
    Appellant’s hallucinations, impairment of daily activities, and suicidal ideation, and explain why
    the presence of these symptoms did not result in deficiencies in most areas of occupational and
    social functioning to warrant an increased disability rating under DC 9434,” R. at 545-56 (citing
    Vasquez-Claudio v. Shinseki, 713 F.3d 112, 117 (Fed. Cir. 2013)); and (2) “make a factual finding
    8
    in the first instance as to whether the Appellant’s [blood pressure] reading of 140/100 in October
    1989 qualifies as a history of diastolic readings [of] ‘predominantly 100 or more” to warrant a
    compensable disability rating.” R. at 549.
    In April 2017, the Board (1) increased the appellant’s disability rating for major depression
    from 50% to 70%, but no greater, subject to the laws and regulations governing the payment of
    monetary benefits and (2) denied an initial compensable rating for hypertension. R. at 472-91.
    In June 2018, the Court vacated the April 2017 Board decision and remanded the matter
    because the Board failed to substantially comply with the terms of the November 2016 JMPR and
    consider the April 2010 VA examination results. R. at 118-25.
    V.
    In February 2019, the Board granted an initial disability rating of 10% for hypertension,
    effective from April 19, 2010, through July 9, 2010. R. at 7-9. The Board relied on the appellant’s
    blood pressure readings at the April 2010 VA examination (160/93, 170/102, and 167/106), when
    it “accept[ed]s the readings from this examination as sufficient evidence that [the appellant’s]
    systolic pressure was predominantly 160 or more during this period, which constitutes the date
    range between the date of his higher readings and the date of his next, and lower, readings.” R. at
  3. The Board reasoned:
    In order to meet the criteria for a 10 percent rating under [DC] 7101, diastolic
    pressure must be measured at predominantly 100 or more, or systolic pressure must
    be predominantly 160 or more. In addition, a 10 percent rating is warranted where
    there is a history of diastolic pressure of predominantly 100 or more and continuous
    medication is required to control blood pressure. The Board notes that words such
    as “predominantly” are not defined in the Rating Schedule. “Predominantly” is
    defined as “for the most part,” or “mainly.” See Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate
    Dictionary, 978 (11th ed. 2012).
    Id.
    The Board then denied an initial compensable rating for hypertension for the period before
    April 19, 2010, and for the period after July 9, 2010. R. at 9-13. For the period before April 19,
    2010, the Board listed the appellant’s blood pressure readings between October 1989 and April 19,
    2010, R. at 9-10, before concluding that “[a]fter a thorough review of the evidence of record … a
    compensable initial evaluation is not warranted for [the appellant’s] service-connected
    hypertension during the period prior to April 19, 2010.” R. at 10. The Board also acknowledged
    9
    that the appellant’s assertions that he takes medication to control his hypertension and “considered
    whether [the appellant’s] singular higher reading of 140/100 in October 1989 qualifies as a history
    of diastolic pressure that is predominantly 100 or more which warrants an additional staged rating. “
    R. at 10. The Board, however, concluded:
    VA has established that a singular blood pressure reading does not constitute an
    entire history. See McCarroll v. McDonald, 28 Vet. App. at 274 (2016) (holding
    that a single diastolic blood pressure reading of 100 does not demonstrate a history
    of diastolic pressure predominantly of 100 or more, as required by [DC] 7101).
    R. at 10-11.
    For the period after July 9, 2010, the Board listed the appellant’s blood pressure readings
    from 2011 to 2015, R. at 12, before concluding that “a compensable initial evaluation is not
    warranted for hypertension during the period from July 9, 2010 through the present.” R. at 13. The
    Board reasoned that
    while the record indicates two singular incidents of elevated blood pressure, [the
    appellant’s] hypertension remained, by his own admission, well-controlled during
    this entire period. See March 2014 Hearing Transcript. The few isolated episodes
    of increased blood pressure during which [the appellant’s] systolic pressure
    exceeded 160 are not indicative of the severity of [the appellant’s] hypertension
    during this period, and clearly do not establish diastolic pressure that is
    predominantly 100 or more or systolic pressure that is predominantly 160 or more.
    Also, for reasons discussed above, [the appellant] does not have a prior history of
    diastolic pressure of predominantly 100 or more. When viewing his entire history,
    the diastolic readings have generally been below 100.
    Id.
    Finally, the Board denied a disability rating in excess of 70% for major depressive disorder,
    R. at 13-21, because “the evidence does not demonstrate that [the appellant] is totally
    occupationally and socially impaired.” R. at 14. In reaching this determination, the Board
    discussed (1) treatment records from March 2011, February 2013, August 2013, May 2014,
    November 2014, January 2015; and (2) the appellant’s March 2014 hearing testimony; and relied
    on VA examinations conducted in November 2010, October 2014. R. at 14-17. The Board listed
    the appellant’s symptoms as “near-continuous depression, loss of interest in activities, social
    isolation, irritability, fatigue, and suicidal ideation,” R. at 17, before concluding that the appellant’s
    “psychiatric symptoms more closely coincide with the criteria for a 70[%] rating in terms of
    severity, frequency, and duration.” R. at 21. The Board reasoned that “[t]here is no evidence to
    10
    suggest total occupational and social impairment that would warrant a 100 percent rating. Notably,
    the Veteran does not even have much of the symptomology contemplated by the criteria of his
    current 70 percent rating.” R. at 18. The Board also acknowledged that the appellant reported he
    experienced hallucinations but did not consider hallucinations as a symptom of his major
    depression because the October 2014 medical examiner opined that the appellant was an
    “inadequate historian.” R. at 20. The Board also determined that the appellant was not credible
    when reporting whether he had any suicidal ideation. Id.
    VI.
    VA rates mental disorders under a general rating formula. See 38 C.F.R. § 4.130 (2021).
    Each specific rating criterion contains a list of symptoms preceded by the phrase “such symptoms
    as.” See id. The list of symptoms for each rating is therefore nonexhaustive, meaning that to assign
    that particular rating, VA is not required to find the presence of all, most, or even some of the
    enumerated symptoms. Vazquez-Claudio v. Shinseki, 713 F.3d 112, 115 (Fed. Cir. 2013) ;
    Mauerhan v. Principi, 16 Vet.App. 436, 442 (2002).
    Yet, because “[a]ll nonzero disability levels [in § 4.130] are also associated with
    objectively observable symptomatology,” and the plain language of the regulation makes it clear
    that “the veteran’s impairment must be ‘due to’ those symptoms,” “a veteran may only qualify for
    a given disability rating under § 4.130 by demonstrating the particular symptoms associated with
    that percentage, or others of similar severity, frequency, and duration.” Vazquez-Claudio, 713 F.3d
    at 116-17. In assigning a disability rating for a mental disorder, VA is required to perform a
    “holistic analysis” in which it “assesses the severity, frequency, and duration of the signs and
    symptoms of the veteran’s service-connected mental disorder; quantifies the level of occupational
    and social impairment caused by those signs and symptoms; and assigns an evaluation that most
    nearly approximates that level of occupational and social impairment.” Bankhead v. Shulkin, 29
    Vet.App. 10, 22 (2017). “[T]he presence or lack of evidence of a specific sign or symptom listed
    in the evaluation criteria is not necessarily dispositive of any particular disability level.” Id.
    “Where…the Board fails to adequately assess evidence of a sign or symptom experienced by the
    veteran, misrepresents the meaning of a symptom, or fails to consider the impact of the veteran’s
    symptoms as a whole, its reasons or bases for its denial of a higher evaluation are inadequate. ” Id
    11
    “Each decision of the Board shall include . . . a written statement of the Board’s findings
    and conclusions, and the reasons or bases for those findings and conclusions, on all material issues
    of fact and law presented in the record.” 38 U.S.C. § 7104(d)(1). This statement of reasons or
    bases serves not only to help a claimant understand what has been decided, but also to ensure that
    VA decisionmakers do not exercise “naked and arbitrary power” in deciding entitlement to
    disability benefits. See Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356, 366 (1886) (Matthews, J.). In providing
    an adequate statement of reasons or bases, the Board must account for and provide the reasons for
    its rejection of any material evidence favorable to the claimant. See 38 U.S.C. § 7104(d)(1); see
    also Caluza v. Brown, 7 Vet.App. 498, 506 (1995), aff’d per curiam, 78 F.3d 604 (Fed. Cir. 1996).
    VII.
    The Court concludes that modification is necessary of that part of the February 2019 Board
    decision that granted an initial disability rating of 10% for hypertension for the period from April
    19, 2010, through July 9, 2010. See 38 U.S.C. § 7252(a) (“The Court shall have power to affirm,
    modify, or reverse a decision of the Board or to remand the matter, as appropriate.”). In granting
    this award, the Board concluded that the appellant’s “systolic pressure was predominantly 160 or
    more during this period,” R. at 8, because his blood pressure was recorded in April 2010 as 160/93,
    170/102, and 167/106. R. at 2039. Yet, the Board did not reach a conclusion regarding the
    appellant’s diastolic blood pressure for this period. The Board defined “predominantly” as “for the
    most part” or “mainly.” R. at 8. Because 2 of the 3 blood pressure readings in April 2010 reflected
    a diastolic blood pressure of 100 or more, the Court concludes that the appellant had diastolic
    blood pressure of 100 or more for this period based on the Board’s definition of “predominant ly. “
    Accordingly, modification of the Board decision is necessary to reflect that the appellant also had
    a diastolic blood pressure of predominantly 100 or more for the period from April 19, 2010,
    through July 9, 2010. 38 U.S.C. § 7252(a).
    The Court therefore concludes that the Board clearly erred by denying an initial
    compensable rating for hypertension for the period after July 9, 2010. See Gilbert v. Derwinski, 1
    Vet.App. 49, 53 (1990) (holding that the Board’s findings of fact are reviewed under the “clearly
    erroneous” standard of review). DC 7101 provides for a 10% disability rating for “for an individua l
    with a history of diastolic pressure predominantly 100 or more who requires continuous medication
    for control.” 38 C.F.R. § 4.104, DC 7101. As discussed above, the appellant had diastolic blood
    12
    pressure of predominantly 100 or more for the period from April 19, 2010, through July 9, 2010,
    and thus has established a history of diastolic pressure of 100 or more for that period. Additionally, the Board acknowledged that the appellant required continual medication to control the condition. R. at 12. Therefore, the Board’s conclusion that “the Veteran does not have a prior history of
    diastolic pressure of predominantly 100 or more,” R. at 13, is clearly erroneous. The Court will
    therefore reverse that portion of the Board decision on appeal and remand the matter for the VA
    to assign a 10% disability rating for hypertension for the period after July 9, 2010. 38 U.S.C. §
    7252(a); 38 C.F.R. § 4.104, DC 7101.
    Additionally, the Court concludes that the Board provided an inadequate statement of
    reasons or bases for denying an initial compensable rating for hypertension for the period before
    April 19, 2010. 38 U.S.C. § 7104(d)(1). The Board concluded that the appellant’s October 1989
    blood pressure reading did not qualify as a history of diastolic blood pressure that was
    predominantly 100 or more because “VA has established that a singular blood pressure reading
    does not constitute an entire history.” R. at 10-11 (citing McCarroll, 28 Vet.App. at 274.) But the facts of McCarroll are distinguishable from the case at hand. In McCarroll, the claimant’s blood pressure was recorded as 144/92, 142/86, 128/88, 138/80, 156/100, and 148/96. Id. Only one of
    the appellant’s 6 blood pressure readings showed a diastolic pressure of 100 or more. In this matter, the appellant’s October 1989 blood pressure reading of 140/100 is the only blood pressure reading taken before the appellant was placed on medication to control his hypertension. R. at 3339.
    It is
    unclear why the appellant’s October 1989 blood pressure reading is insufficient to constitute “an
    entire history” when it is the only relevant blood pressure reading.
    Remand is required for the
    Board to provide an adequate statement of reasons or bases explaining why the appellant did not
    have a history of diastolic blood pressure that was predominantly 100 or more before April 19,
  4. 38 U.S.C. § 7104(d)(1).
    The Court further concludes that the Board failed to comply with the terms of the June
    2018 remand order. See Dyment v. West, 13 Vet.App. 141, 146-47 (1999) (it is substantial
    compliance with remand orders, not absolute compliance, that is required). In June 2018, the
    Court remanded the matter in part because the Board failed to address all the appellant’s major
    depression symptoms and the severity, frequency, and duration of those symptoms, as required by
    Vazquez-Claudio, 713 F.3d at 116-17. R at 123. In the decision on appeal, the Board listed the
    appellant’s depression symptoms as “near-continuous depression, loss of interest in activities,
    13
    social isolation, irritability, fatigue, and suicidal ideation.” R. at 17. However, the Board did not
    consider all the appellant’s major depression symptoms, see R. at 3016, 3018, 2886, 2495-96, 2169,
    2173, 1967-68, 1419, 1421-23, 1015-16; or address the severity, frequency, and duration of all
    these symptoms. R. at 13-21. Instead the Board summarily concluded that “the Veteran’s
    psychiatric symptomatology more closely coincides with the criteria for a 70 percent rating in
    terms of severity, frequency, and duration.” R. at 21. Remand is required to comply with the terms
    of the June 2018 remand order. See Stegall v. West, 11 Vet.App. 268, 271 (1998) (the Board errs
    when it fails to ensure compliance with the terms of a remand).
    The Court also concludes that the Board provided an inadequate statement of reasons or
    bases for determining that the appellant’s lay statements regarding his suicidal ideations were not
    credible. 38 U.S.C. § 7104(d)(1). The Board concluded that “[t]he inconsistencies in the lay
    statements made by the Veteran in the scope of the other evidence of record weighs against
    credibility.” R. at 20. Yet, the appellant’s treating VA psychiatrist found the appellant’s repeated
    threats of suicide, R. at 3018, 2556, 2496, 2173, 1967, 1016, to be serious enough to place him on
    a suicide watch. R. at 2150. It is unclear how the Board concluded that the appellant’s suicidal
    ideations were not credible when the appellant’s treating VA psychiatrist did. Remand is required
    for the Board to provide an adequate statement of reasons or bases explaining its credibility
    determination of the appellant’s suicidal ideations and consider this potentially favorable evidence.
    38 U.S.C. § 7104(d)(1); Caluza, 7 Vet.App. at 506.
    Finally, the Court concludes that the Board provided an inadequate statement of reasons or
    bases for denying a disability rating in excess of 70% for major depressive disorder. Id. The Board
    concluded that “[t]here is no evidence to suggest total occupational and social impairment that
    would warrant a 100 percent rating.” R. at 18. It is unclear how the Board reached this conclusion,
    given that the appellant exhibited or reported symptoms of persistent hallucinations, persistent
    danger of hurting himself and others, and memory loss, R. at 3016, 3018, 2886, 2495-96, 2169,
    2173, 1967-68, 1419, 1421-23, 1015-16—all of which are contemplated by DC 9434 and warrant
    100% schedular disability rating. 38 C.F.R. § 4.130, DC 9434. It is also unclear how the Board
    concluded that “[t]here is no indication that any workplace accommodations had to be made for
    [the appellant] for him to be able to work,” R. at 18, given that the appellant had reported that his
    depression has caused him to miss 250 hours of work in one calendar year, R. at 2557; that he had
    claimed that he missed 2 days of work each week as a result of his psychiatric problems, R. at
    14
    2496; and that at his job he had been referred for suicide prevention training. R. at 2173, 2149.
    Remand is required for the Board to provide an adequate statement of reasons or bases for denying
    a disability rating in excess of 70% for major depressive disorder and to consider this potentially
    favorable evidence. 38 U.S.C. § 7104(d)(1); Caluza, 7 Vet.App. at 506. The Board is reminded
    that the appellant is not required to demonstrate all the symptoms to warrant a particular disability
    rating. R. at 18 (“Notably, the Veteran does not even have much of the symptomatology
    contemplated by the criteria of his current 70 percent rating.”), 19 (persistent danger of hurting
    himself is “the only symptom the Veteran experiences that is a part of the 100 percent rating
    criteria.”); Bankhead, 29 Vet.App. at 22 (“[T]he presence or lack of evidence of a specific sign or
    symptom listed in the evaluation criteria is not necessarily dispositive of any particular disability
    level.”).
    Because the Court is remanding the appellant’s claims, it will not address his remaining
    arguments. See Dunn v. West, 11 Vet.App. 462, 467 (1998). On remand, the appellant may
    present, and the Board must consider, any additional evidence and arguments. See Kay v. Principi,
    16 Vet.App. 529, 534 (2002). This matter is to be provided expeditious treatment. See 38 U.S.C.
    § 7112; see also Hayburn’s Case, 2 U.S. (2 Dall.) at 410, n. (“[M]any unfortunate and meritorious
    [veterans], whom Congress have justly thought proper objects of immediate relief, may suffer
    great distress, even by a short delay, and may be utterly ruined, by a long one.”).
    VIII.
    For the foregoing reasons, that part of the February 19, 2019, Board decision that granted
    an initial disability rating of 10% for hypertension, but no higher, effective from April 19, 2010,
    to July 9, 2010, is MODIFIED, to include a finding that the appellant also had a diastolic blood
    pressure of predominantly 100 or more for the period from April 19, 2010, to July 9, 2010. And
    that part of the February 19, 2019, Board decision that denied an initial compensable rating for
    hypertension for the period after July 9, 2010, is REVERSED and the matter is REMANDED for
    VA to assign a 10% disability rating for hypertension effective from July 10, 2010. The remainder
    of the February 19, 2019, Board decision on appeal is SET ASIDE and the matters are
    REMANDED for readjudication. Any determination of the severity of the appellant’s serviceconnected
    hypertension must include consideration of the appellant’s history of diastolic blood
    pressure of predominantly 100 or more after July 9, 2010.
    15
    DATED: October 29, 2021
    Copies to:
    James L. Calis, Esq.
    VA General Counsel (027)

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