Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Deloach v. Shinseki

Deloach v. Shinseki, 709 F.3d 1370 (Jan. 30, 2013) The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reviewed the CAVC’s authority to reverse rather than remand. The case involved two consolidated appeals. In both appeals, the records contained at least one favorable medical opinion from a private physician and one ambiguous or inconclusive opinion from a VA doctor that was relied on by VA in denying the claims. The CAVC remanded both appeals to the Board. The appellants argued that the CAVC should have reversed. The Court held that “where the Board has performed the necessary fact-finding and explicitly weighed the evidence, the [CAVC] should reverse when, on the entire evidence, it is left with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed.” Because the CAVC found that the Board provided inadequate explanations for its denials and failed to provide an adequate medical exam, the Federal Circuit determined that the CAVC properly remanded to the Board.

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