Anderson v. Principi
United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims
18 Vet. App. 371 (2004)
Merritt Anderson (plaintiff) served in the United States Army from 1960 to 1962 and over the years filed numerous claims for various disabilities with the Department of Veterans Affairs (the VA) (defendant). In 1997, the VA denied Anderson’s claim for service-connected disabilities for conditions that arose secondary to in-service tobacco use. At a hearing after the denial, Anderson testified that he believed his claimed disabilities were directly related to in-service exposure to chemicals and the military diet, in addition to smoking. Anderson in no other way indicated any disagreement with the determination or filed any written notice of disagreement (NOD) with the VA. Anderson had separately received a previous service-connected disability for hearing loss. After he filed a claim for an increased rating for that disability and received a ratings increase, he sent two letters to the VA in which he expressed dissatisfaction with the effective date of the increased rating and asked why his rating should not have an earlier effective date. Anderson appealed multiple claims to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (the board), including the issues of whether he had filed effective NODs for the smoking-related-conditions denial and for the hearing-loss rating increase. The board held that he had failed to file effective NODs in regard to either of these claims. Anderson appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Ivers, J.)
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