Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Manzanares v. Shulkin

United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit

July 19, 2017

MARTHA P. MANZANARES, Claimant-Appellant
v.
DAVID J. SHULKIN, SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, Respondent-Appellee

         Appeal from the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims in No. 14-3646, Judge Mary J. Schoelen.

          Kenneth M. Carpenter, Law Offices of Carpenter Chartered, Topeka, KS, argued for claimant-appellant.

          Martin F. Hockey, Jr., Commercial Litigation Branch, Civil Division, United States Department of Justice, Washington, DC, argued for respondent-appellee. Also represented by Benjamin C. Mizer, Robert E. Kirschman, Jr.; Brian D. Griffin, Derek Scadden, Office of General Counsel, United States Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, DC.

          Before Newman, Dyk, and Hughes, Circuit Judges.

          Dyk, Circuit Judge.

         Martha Manzanares, a veteran, has a primary service-connected bilateral ankle condition. During the pendency of a claim for increased rating for her ankle condition, Ms. Manzanares submitted a claim for a back condition as secondary service-connected. She appeals from a decision of the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims ("Veterans Court") that affirmed a decision by the Board of Veterans' Appeals ("Board"), denying her an earlier effective date for her back condition. We affirm.

         Background

         This case presents the question whether a claim for increased rating for any service-connected condition necessarily includes a claim for a secondary service-connected condition by virtue of 38 C.F.R. § 3.310(a), with a result that Ms. Manzanares is entitled to an earlier effective date. That regulation states that a "secondary condition shall be considered a part of the original condition."

         Ms. Manzanares served on active duty from May 1986 until June 1991. In June 1992, she successfully sought an award of service connection from the Department of Veterans Affairs ("VA") for, inter alia, a history of stress fractures in both legs; she was assigned a noncompensa-ble rating.

         On February 22, 2006, she submitted a claim for increased rating for injuries to both ankles incurred during service. Then, in August 2006, the VA noted that this condition was previously evaluated as a history of stress fractures in both legs and assigned a ten-percent rating for each ankle. The VA assigned an effective date of February 22, 2006.

         In April 2007, Ms. Manzanares filed a notice of disagreement with the rating decision, asserted entitlement to a higher rating, and filed a claim for "[e]ntitlement to service connection for degenerative disc disease lumbar spine as secondary to bilateral ankle disabilities." J.A. 31.

         On March 19, 2008, the VA granted secondary service connection for "degenerative arthritis and disc disease, lumbar spine" and assigned a rating of twenty percent with an April 27, 2007 effective date. J.A. 33. Ms. Manza-nares then appealed to the Board, arguing that the VA should have awarded an effective date of February 22, 2006, for the secondary service-connected condition. Section 3.156(b) provides that, for a pending claim, "[n]ew and material evidence received prior to the expiration of the appeal period . . . will be considered as having been filed in connection with the claim which was pending at the beginning of the appeal period." 38 C.F.R. § 3.156(b). Ms. Manzanares argued that the secondary service connection claim should be treated as new and material evidence within the meaning of this regulation making the secondary service connection claim part of the ankle claim and considered to have been filed on February 22, 2006, the date of her ankle claim. The Board rejected this argument, noting that the effective date for service connection is the later of the date the VA receives the claim or the date that entitlement arose, and concluded that Ms. Manzanares's secondary service claim was not filed until April 27, 2007.

         Ms. Manzanares then appealed to the Veterans Court. The Veterans Court found no error in the Board's decision, concluding that the secondary service connection claim was not part ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.