9th Circuit Court

Court Slaps VA

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A federal appeals court has upheld a judge’s order requiring the government to pay retroactive benefits to Vietnam veterans suffering from a type of leukemia linked to Agent Orange exposure.

The ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday rebuked the Department of Veterans Affairs for its stance in the litigation. It was the sixth major ruling by courts in the case since it was filed against the department in 1986, the Los Angeles Times reports.

“What is difficult for us to comprehend is why the Department of Veterans Affairs, having entered into a settlement agreement and agreed to a consent order some 16 years ago, continues to resist its implementation so vigorously, as well as to resist equally vigorously the payment of desperately needed benefits to Vietnam War veterans who fought for their country and suffered grievous injury as a result of our government’s own conduct,” Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote in his opinion for the three-judge panel.

The Times described the latest ruling as “stinging” while the San Francisco Chronicle called it “indignant.”

The ruling is Nehmer v. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, No. 06-15179.

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