216 F.3d 1363 (Fed. Cir. 2000), 99-7137, Meeks v West Jr.

Docket Nº99-7137
Citation216 F.3d 1363
Party NameRONALD G. MEEKS, Claimant-Appellant, v. TOGO D. WEST, JR., Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Respondent-Appellee.
Case DateJune 27, 2000
CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

Page 1363

216 F.3d 1363 (Fed. Cir. 2000)

RONALD G. MEEKS, Claimant-Appellant,

v.

TOGO D. WEST, JR., Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Respondent-Appellee.

99-7137

United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit

June 27, 2000

Appealed from: United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims Chief Judge Frank Q. Nebeker

Page 1364

Jeffrey Wood, of York, Pennsylvania, argued for claimant-appellant.

Michael S. Dufault, Trial Attorney, Commercial Litigation Branch, Civil Division, Department of Justice, of Washington, DC, argued for respondent-appellee. With him on the brief were David W. Ogden, Acting Assistant Attorney General; David M. Cohen, Director; and James M. Kinsella, Deputy Director. Of counsel on the brief were Richard J. Hipolit, Acting Assistant General Counsel; and Michael J. Timinski, Attorney.

Page 1365

Before MAYER, Chief Judge, SCHALL, and BRYSON, Circuit Judges.

MAYER, Chief Judge.

Ronald G. Meeks appeals from a judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, Meeks v. West, No. 97-791 (CAVC May 3, 1999), affirming the decision of the Board of Veterans' Appeals which denied entitlement to an effective date earlier than January 16, 1985, for a 100% rating for service-connected choroidal gyrate atrophy. We affirm.

Background

Meeks served on active duty in the United States Army from April 1966 to December 1969. In November 1970, within one year of his separation from service, he applied for disability compensation for choroidal gyrate atrophy, a progressive eye condition that gradually narrows one's field of vision. Due to incomplete service records, a VA Regional Office ("RO") denied his claim, informing him that it would consider his claim further when it received all of his medical records. No further action was taken until Meeks again sought benefits in 1985. On August 15, 1988, the Board of Veterans Appeals granted service connection for his eye condition. For the period December 10, 1969, Meeks' date of discharge, through January 16, 1985, the date his reopened claim was received, the RO assigned a 70% provisional rating pending a response to a request for an advisory opinion by the Director of the VA Compensation and Pension Service on the percent evaluation to which he determined Meeks was entitled. Pursuant to the Director's recommendation, in August 1989, the RO assigned a 0% rating effective from Meeks' date of discharge to the date of the 1985 filing, and a 100% rating effective from January 1985. However, in April 1991, the board denied Meeks' claim for a compensable rating from 1969 to 1985.

Meeks appealed to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, which held that the 1970 claim remained pending, vacated the board's 1991 decision, and remanded the case for readjudication. Upon remand, the RO assigned a "staged rating" reflecting the changes in the severity of Meeks' disability.1 Specifically, the RO granted a 50% evaluation effective December 1969; a 60% evaluation effective June 1973; a 70% evaluation effective December 1974; and a 100% evaluation effective January 1985. Rejecting Meeks' argument that he was entitled to a 100% rating effective from his date of discharge, the board affirmed the staged rating and determined that Meeks could not prove 100% entitlement before November 1986. The board held that the RO's error of assigning a rating of 100% effective January 1985 was "non-prejudicial" and left the earlier date undisturbed.

Meeks again appealed to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, arguing that because his 1970 claim remained pending, and a 100% rating was eventually awarded, he was entitled to 100% compensation from his date of discharge. Acknowledging that 38 U.S.C. § 5110(b)(1) (1994) is an exception to the general rule in section 5110(a) that an award of compensation shall "not be earlier than the date of receipt of application therefor," the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims affirmed the board's retroactive award of a staged rating, holding that the "facts found" do not support a retroactive award of a 100% rating. This appeal followed.

Discussion

We have limited jurisdiction to review the decisions of the Court of Appeals

Page 1366

for Veterans Claims. Our authority is limited to deciding relevant questions of law, including statutory...

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27 practice notes
  • 273 F.3d 1370 (Fed. Cir. 2001), 01-5004, City of Burbank CA v. United States
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
    • December 17, 2001
    ...Northwest Power Act require something more than mere authorization. We decline to render this language superfluous. See Meeks v. West, 216 F.3d 1363, 1367 (Fed. Cir. 2000) ("A statute is to be construed in a way which gives meaning and effect to all of its parts."); Perez v. Merit......
  • Gordon v. Nicholson, 053107 uscavc, 03-0181
    • United States
    • May 31, 2007
    ...Meeks v. West, 12 Vet.App. 352, 354 (1999) (quoting 2A N. SINGER SUTHERLAND ON STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION § 46.01 (5th ed.1992)), aff'd, 216 F.3d 1363 (Fed. Cir. 2000); see Cottle v. Principi, 14 Vet.App. 329, 334 (2001); Talley v. Derwinski, 2 Vet.App. 282, 286 (1992). In this regard, one sect......
  • Mayfield v. Nicholson, 041405 uscavc, 02-1077
    • United States
    • April 14, 2005
    ...so as to produce a harmonious whole'" (quoting 2A N. Singer, Sutherland on Statutory Construction § 46.05 (5th ed. 1992))), aff'd 216 F.3d 1363 (Fed. Cir. 2000); Talley v. Derwinski, 2 Vet.App. 282, 286 (1992). [88] The third section of that notice letter informed Mrs. Mayfield th......
  • 986 F.Supp.2d 1348 (CIT 2014), 14-00032, Blink Design, Inc. v. United States
    • United States
    • Federal Cases Court of International Trade
    • May 21, 2014
    ...it is appropriate first to examine the regulatory language itself to determine its plain meaning." Id. (citing Meeks v. West, 216 F.3d 1363, 1366 (Fed. Cir. 2000)). " If regulatory language is clear and unambiguous, the inquiry ends with the plain meaning" ; if a regulation i......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
27 cases
  • 273 F.3d 1370 (Fed. Cir. 2001), 01-5004, City of Burbank CA v. United States
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
    • December 17, 2001
    ...Northwest Power Act require something more than mere authorization. We decline to render this language superfluous. See Meeks v. West, 216 F.3d 1363, 1367 (Fed. Cir. 2000) ("A statute is to be construed in a way which gives meaning and effect to all of its parts."); Perez v. Merit......
  • Gordon v. Nicholson, 053107 uscavc, 03-0181
    • United States
    • May 31, 2007
    ...Meeks v. West, 12 Vet.App. 352, 354 (1999) (quoting 2A N. SINGER SUTHERLAND ON STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION § 46.01 (5th ed.1992)), aff'd, 216 F.3d 1363 (Fed. Cir. 2000); see Cottle v. Principi, 14 Vet.App. 329, 334 (2001); Talley v. Derwinski, 2 Vet.App. 282, 286 (1992). In this regard, one sect......
  • Mayfield v. Nicholson, 041405 uscavc, 02-1077
    • United States
    • April 14, 2005
    ...so as to produce a harmonious whole'" (quoting 2A N. Singer, Sutherland on Statutory Construction § 46.05 (5th ed. 1992))), aff'd 216 F.3d 1363 (Fed. Cir. 2000); Talley v. Derwinski, 2 Vet.App. 282, 286 (1992). [88] The third section of that notice letter informed Mrs. Mayfield th......
  • 986 F.Supp.2d 1348 (CIT 2014), 14-00032, Blink Design, Inc. v. United States
    • United States
    • Federal Cases Court of International Trade
    • May 21, 2014
    ...it is appropriate first to examine the regulatory language itself to determine its plain meaning." Id. (citing Meeks v. West, 216 F.3d 1363, 1366 (Fed. Cir. 2000)). " If regulatory language is clear and unambiguous, the inquiry ends with the plain meaning" ; if a regulation i......
  • Request a trial to view additional results