Federal District Court Will Not Hear Blue Water Navy's Case

On July 29, 2016, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that District Court has no jurisdiction to review actions of the Secretary of the VA. This case was on appeal from an earlier ruling by the Federal District Court on the matter. The Appeals Court has upheld the earlier ruling that dismissed our suit because of 'no jurisdiction.'

The initial claim, filed with the District Court of DC on April 30, 2013, brought suit against the Department of Veterans Affairs for the Secretary of the VA's decision to withhold medical and compensation benefits from Blue Water Navy Veterans who served offshore during the Vietnam War and who were harmed by exposure to Agent Orange. The District Court dismissed the case because it ruled it had no jurisdiction to hear cases involving actions of the VA.

We disagreed and appealed the decision. That Appeal was argued in Washington on March 10, 2016. This ruling of July 29 affirms that the United States District Court system can not hear complaints against the actions of the Secretary of the VA for either INDIVIDUAL decisions regarding benefits or for any wider spectrum of representation (groups larger than individuals). Therefore, the District Court has denied Blue Water Navy the right to use that venue to file our complaint against the VA. This was a final ruling.

Keep in mind that is doesn't matter WHAT we were complaining about; we (and anyone else who has complaints against the VA) have simply been barred from using the Federal District Court to file that complaint. Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association and Military Veterans Advocacy, Inc. still have a lawsuit filed in the Federal Circuit Court against the legality of the VA's February 5th changes to the M21 Adjudications Manual. That case moves forward with briefs currently being filed.

Over the years, it has been a series of decisions by the Congress that have totally insulated the VA against anyone wanting to appeal VA Decisions in any venue except for the courts and appeals processes within the jurisdiction of the Department of Veterans Affairs. It is indeed a Fiefdom within itself, with its own rules and laws, and its own internal 'checks and balance system' which in effect doesn't exist at all. This ruling has proven that when you deal with the VA, you are apparently stuck within a world all its own, with its own executive, legislative and judicial 'branches and operating on laws separate and apart from the civil legal system found in the rest of the United States.

RETURN TO The News Page