On Saturday, after months of exhaustive research and investigation, Yale University's Veterans Legal Clinic published their brief which concludes C-123 veterans are fully entitled to service connection for Agent Orange-presumptive illnesses.
Under the supervision of Dean Michael Wishnie, the comprehensive brief was completed by Daniella Rohr, Stephen M. Segal, and Laura Johns. The C-123 Veterans Association offers its heartfelt thanks for this outstanding example of legal scholarship.
The brief will be posted on Yale's law clinic site, and is available to veterans and their advocates as valuable...perhaps someday decisive...argument for Agent Orange disability claims!
Again, Dean Wishnie, Mr. Segal, Ms. Rohr and Ms. Johns – thanks from all of us C-123 veterans!
Now, what happens next?
VA has made it clear over the years that whatever proof is offered, VA will reject without regard as to source, content, accuracy or anything...VA refuses everything we submit to them. Yale's legal brief will be no different, regardless of legal accuracy and merit. Claim are even rejected with Compensation and Pension's Director, insisting that TCDD is harmless.
Remember that, because on 28 Feb 2013 we were officially informed by Post Deployment Health (via our meeting with Compensation and Pension) that no amount of proof from whatever source (university, federal agency, military, medical VA, legal, nothing!) will permit C-123 veterans' claims to be approved...their decision has already been made.
The Deputy Consultant for VA Post Deployment Health even informed Major T. Redd, US Army Chemical Corps (then a Congressional Military Fellow) that no C-123 veterans' claims will be permitted to be approved...ever. That's from "veteran-friendly, non-adversarial, benefit of the doubt rests with the veteran" Veterans Affairs.
Strange, because for some reason both the Secretary and Under Secretary Hickey have mistakenly said no such blanket policy for denials exists. Still, their blanket policy by any other name is still...a blanket policy!
VA must have also decided that their descriptions of our eligibility for exposure claims published in the Federal Register (8 May 2001 and 31 Aug 2010) will not be permitted to apply to us. This is because VA has modified the very word "exposure" to insure it can't apply to us.
Consider: Because VA is responsible for administering the various laws dealing with veterans' benefits, VA choses which laws to enforce and which laws VA will ignore. VA will construct interpretations to prevent any interference with the way they want to provide or deny benefits.
Any flexibility in the law is used by VA against veterans' interests. If flexibility isn't there to use against veterans, VA will invent something in the same way they reinvented the word "exposure."