Monday, April 17, 2017

Case of the Day: Williams v. Shulkin, 2017 U.S. App. Vet. Claims LEXIS 353 (Ct. App. Vet. Claims Mar. 13, 2017)


Plaintiff is a veteran who served in the U.S. Army stationed in Thailand during the Vietnam War, and claimed he developed cancer and diabetes because he was exposed to Agent Orange during the war. His initial claim was denied because he was not stationed in Vietnam. Later, he re-filed his claim, alleging he handled chemicals while being stationed in Thailand. The Veterans Administration again denied the claim, finding that it could not verify presence of Agent Orange in the base in Thailand in which the plaintiff served.

On appeal, the court found that the VA did not adequately assist the plaintiff in obtaining evidence necessary to substantiate his claim for benefit, as provided in 38 U.S.C. s.5103A(a)(1). The court vacated the denial and remanded, allowing the plaintiff to re-file the claim with additional evidence.


One of the more under-explored areas of U.S.'s relationship with Asia is how the U.S. military engagement in Asia winds up in U.S. courts. Military justice system belongs in its own ecosystem, which makes it an interesting read every time.

1 comment:

  1. One of the most offensive concepts in the U.S. legal system is that vets have such a heavy burden to prove injury, but often receive little or no assistance from the Pentagon or the VA.

    Oh, you got shot in the Anbar province in 2006? Hmmm. Prove it, pal. We weren't officially in that area when you were "shot". Sorry.