U.S. Navy veteran John Vincenti wins four-year battle with the VA over Parkison's-like symptoms.

Veteran John Vincenti, back in the U.S. Navy. 
Two emergency surgeries in the military left Mr. Vincenti battling complications, including a misdiagnosed Hepatitis infection, for the rest of his life. Mr. Vincenti went on to have a successful civilian career in computers, but eventually the complications from his military services caused him to develop Parkinson's like symptoms.

Our firm helped Mr. Vincenti win more than 100-percent service connection after a nearly four-year battle with the VA.

Congratulations to Mr. Vincenti. The benefits are well-deserved.




Brown & Curry win rare Reversal in the Court of Appeals



When a vet has to go the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims to fight for his appeal, a win almost always results in a remand. A remand occurs when the Court tells the VA it made a mistake and that it has to reconsider it reasoning and issue a new decision. What a remand doesn't do, however, is result in an outright win.

It takes a REVERSAL to do that. 

Army vet James Bell reached out to Brown & Curry after the Board of Veterans' Appeals had denied his claim for Hepatitis C.   He had argued that the air gun injections he had received when the Army inoculated him was the likely source.  But the VA's compensation and pensioner examiner stated that she could not offer an opinion without resort to speculation.  Despite a favorable letter from his own doctor, the BVA denied Mr. Bell. 

In the Court of Appeals, Brown & Curry argued that the only valid evidence on the matter was the favorable opinion of Mr. Bell's private doctor. The VA examiner's opinion, which was that it could not offer an opinion, was not worth anything. Therefore, the Board should have granted Mr. Bell's claim. 

The Court of Appeals agreed and issued a rare reversal of the Board's decision, and actually granted him service connection.  

We are very proud of Mr. Bell and happy he achieved this fine result.

You can read the case here. 

VA physician assistant Mark Wisner, charged with sodomy, solicitation, sexual battery and aggravated sexual battery.


Brown & Curry represents more than 30 veterans now bringing claims against the VA through the Federal Tort Claims Act.  These claims focus on the unnecessary medical procedures Wisner performed as well as the VA's failure to appropriately supervise Mr. Wisner.

Former VA physician assistant Mark Wisner goes to trial at the end of October for sexual batteries stemming from his exams of veterans at the Leavenworth VA Medical Center.

U.S. Senator Jerry Moran grilled VA Secretary Robert McDonald at a Capitol Hill hearing this week on how the VA could have hired Mr. Wisner, given his criminal record.

Secretary McDonald stated that he had different information than what Sen. Moran had, and maintained that the VA hiring procedure was satisfactory. Sen. Moran stated that his facts were accurate and came from the Inspector General's office. Sen. Moran urged the Secretary to learn from the experience of the failed hiring practices and to respond to his written request for information. 




Al Shockley: After 8-year battle with the VA for Aid and Attendance benefits, U.S. Marine finally wins.






Al Shockley fought the VA for eight years to compensate him for a seizure disorder he developed related to his service in the U.S. Marine Corps.

The Kansas City, Mo., native served in artillery in Vietnam from 1965 to 1966 and again in 1972. After he got out, he worked as a truck driver and heavy equipment operator. But a host of nagging war-related injuries began to take a toll and he ultimately was diagnosed with a seizure condition. The condition required another person to be present with him at virtually all times.

When a veteran's service-related conditions require the aid and attendance of another person, the VA is supposed to provide the veteran extra compensation to defray the cost of that assistance. Here is the VA's information on the benefit.

But in Mr. Shockley's case, the VA would not grant service connection for his seizures or special monthly compensation for aid and attendance. For eight years, the VA withheld more than $60,000 in payments.

We were able to help him win a substantial award of back pay after proving to the VA that Mr. Shockley's seizure disorder were related to a knee injury in service. Mr. Curry was also able to prove that Mr. Shockley's Vietnam-related illnesses absolutely require the ongoing care and attendance of another person -- in his case, the care of his wife. As a result, Mr. Shockley was able to collect all of the money the VA should have been paying him for the last ten years AND has increased monthly payments going forward.



No veteran should have to wait eight years for the compensation they need to live a full life. Brown & Curry applaud Mr. Shockley for persevering.







Carl Brown: The VA denied that 27th Infantry was exposed to Agent Orange in Thailand.



Carl Brown knows his unit was exposed to Agent Orange, either in Thailand or during a perhaps undocumented excursion into Vietnam. Our firm is trying to help him win his Agent Orange claims at the VA's St.Louis Regional Office.

Mr. Brown served in Company A, 1st Battle Group, 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, and in 1962, his unit moved from Travis Air Base in Hawaii to Korat, Thailand. Mr. Brown recalls that his Army unit conducted a training operation that lasted several months that brought them into Vietnam by convoy via Freedom Highway. His unit later returned to  Hawaii.

Last year the Board of Veterans Appeals denied his claim for exposure to Agent Orange. The Board stated that it had no record of his unit setting foot in Vietnam in the summer of 1962, although the records do verify that the unit was in Thailand at that time.

The VA admitted that Mr. Brown served in Co. A, 1st BF, 27th Inf, APO 25 USARPAC from 1960 to 1962. But the VA stated that it could not find any record of his unit entering Vietnam: “We coordinated our research with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) by College Park, Maryland.  They were unable to locate 1962 unit records submitted by the 1st Battle Group, 27th Infantry (1st BG,27th INF).  However, the US Army historical records available to us document that the 1st BG,27th INF was in Thailand.  The records do not document that the 1st BG, 27th INF was in Vietnam in 1962.” 

The only way Mr. Brown and veterans in his situation can prevail on a claim for Agent Orange exposure and any of the condition (diabetes, various forms of cancer, ischemic heart disease, etc.) related to exposure to the herbicide is to find documentation or other witnesses to the exposure. 

If you or anyone you know remembers a training foray into Vietnam, please contact my office. If anyone recalls this unit patrolling the perimeters of any Thailand air force bases, please contact me. Your information could help Mr. Brown and others prove to the VA that they truly were exposed to Agent Orange.  804- IM4-VETS.



Allen Daniels at the Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base: Herbicides in 1967 and 1968


Allen Daniels is an Air Force veteran working to prove to the VA that he served near the perimeter of the Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base, and that he witnessed two aircraft incidents in 1967 and 1968.

Mr. Daniels was a member of the Air Force’s 432nd Supply Squadron serving in Thailand in 1967 and 1968.  He also served in the 507th Supply Squadron at Kincheloe Air Force Base in Michigan, and the 1369 Photographic Squadron in Vandenberg AFB in California.

We are looking for people who may have been stationed at the Udorn RTAFB in 1967 or 1968 and remember the following:

-          In December 1967 or January 1968, an F-105 slide off the Udorn runway and crash.

-        In January of 1968, an F-4 Phantom land with co-pilot canopy blown off, exposing the body of the co-pilot.

Mr. Daniels remembers witnessing these events after alarms went off. Unfortunately, the VA currently states that the Air Force kept no record of the occurrences. If you recall these events, please contact my office at (816) 756-5458.

Herbicide Use



Allen Daniels served in Thailand from 1967 to 1968. He was stationed at the Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base. His job title was “materiel facilities specialist.” He worked in indoor and outdoor warehouses at the base, about 500 yards from the flight line, which was being used to fly combat missions to Vietnam.  

Publicly, the VA has conceded that a “recently declassified Department of Defense report written in 1973, Project CHECO Southeast Asia Report: Base Defense in Thailand 1968-1972, contains evidence that there was a significant use of herbicides in the fenced-in perimeters of military bases in Thailand to remove foliage that provided cover for enemy forces.”  The CHECO report does indicate that herbicides were used on the Royal Thai Air Force Bases, including Udorn:




However, when a veteran seeks to apply for benefits based on exposure to those herbicides, the VA will insert into the veteran’s file a “Memorandum for the Record” that downplays the presence of herbicides on the bases. 

So, Mr. Daniels is placed in the same position of many veterans who must prove to the VA that they were near the perimeter of their own base. 

If anyone can remember use of herbicides at Udorn, please contact my office at (816) 756-5458.  It would be a great help to Mr. Daniels.  


Dencil Farris: Looking for veterans who served in the 46th Infantry in 1955 at Camp Chaffee, Arkansas.


This is  the challenge of winning a VA case when your records have been burned in the 1973 fire at the National Personnel Records Center.  What should be open-and-shut gets complicated, fast.

Dencil Farris joined the Army in 1955 at the age of 16-years-old. He served in the 46th Infantry Armored Infantry Battalion, C Comany, at Camp Chaffee in Arkansas in 1955 and 1956. He signed up at Mountain View,Arkansas at the courthouse.  They put him on a bus to Little Rock, where he underwent a physical, spent the night at a YMCA, and then was packed off to Camp Chaffee.

At Camp Chaffee they cut his hair off and assigned him a barracks. He trained with an M1 Garand, a 30-caliber machine gun and howitzers. Dencil remembers that they did this without using any hearing protection, and his ears would ring all night. In addition, early during training he fell down a flight of stairs after staying out late and had to go to sick bay. 

Dencil's superior officers finally figured out he wasn't even 17-years-old yet, so they handed him an honorable discharge and sent him home. 

Mr.Farris asked the VA for benefits but they denied him, telling him he had no evidence of hearing loss, tinnitus or a back injury in service.  The problem was that all his records had been burned in the St. Louis fire that destroyed 18 million files. 

Mr. Farris now needs to prove to the VA's satisfaction that his hearing was hurt and his back was injured, but he has no records to do it. He needs a witness. 

Below are some photographs from the basic training year book that Mr. Farris kept with him. If anyone remembers Mr. Farris, please contact our  office at (804)IM4VETS. 















Another Hepatitis C Victory for a Navy veteran suffering from Parkinson's symptoms.



The VA fights awarding compensation for Hepatitis tooth and nail. That's why its always notable when another veteran gets benefits.

We helped a Kansas City, Mo., area Navy veteran obtain benefits for Hepatitis C that he contracted during an emergency abdominal surgery a the Naval Medical Center in Philadelphia in 1980. They told him he had just been out in the sun too long.  Turned out he had infections all throughout his abdomen.  And then they gave him a transfusion using blood contaminated with the Hepatitis-C virus.

The unique aspect of this veteran's case was that recently he had developed Parkinson's-like symptoms. This veteran worked in IT as a government contractor.  The Parkinson's symptoms were about to force him to quit.

Fortunately, Dan Curry was able to uncover a medical link between this veteran's Hepatitis and the Parkinson's.  We obtained secondary-service connection for his Parkinson's symptoms based upon the Hepatitis claim.

This veteran found Dan Curry after his friend repaired his washing machine. If you or a veteran you know have had trouble with your Hepatitis claim, you can contact Dan Curry in Kansas City to see what claims you are eligible for at: 804- IM4-VETS.




New Veterans Bill

Image from: http://blog.cvsflags.com/flag-etiquette/american-flag-etiquette-nutshell


A new bill has been approved by the Senate for veterans and will soon go to President Obama to be signed into law. This proposed bill will provide greater mental health services to veterans in need, by providing college campuses with better mental health programs, and increasing mental health care at various VA medical facilities around the country.

This bill is especially important in light of the rising suicide rate of veterans nationwide. This act, the Clay Hunt SAV Act, unanimously approved by the Senate, will shed more light on the frighteningly high--and ever increasing--rate of veteran suicide once it becomes law.

Holiday Wishes



We're sending out a happy Christmas and holiday greeting to all our veterans and members of the armed forces. We hope you all enjoy the season and time with your families, in addition to the video above, presented by Sainsbury and the Royal British Legion, commemorating the Christmas Truce of 1914.

Thank you all for your services and happy holidays.

Dan Curry, Esq.
for veterans
804-IM4-VETS

Kansas City-based Houlihan's is joining Americans nationwide in giving thanks to our nation's heroes this Veterans Day. Just show proof of military status for a free entree tomorrow at a delicious local restaurant. 

Not sure where the nearest one to you is? There are 77 locations throughout the Midwest. Here's a quick link to find your neighborhood Houlihan's: http://www.houlihans.com/find-a-location

Thank you, veterans for all you do and all you've done for this country. This country remembers and is perpetually grateful for your sacrifices.

Dan Curry, Esq. helping veterans with their appeals since 2009.
804-IM4-VETS

Veterans Groups in Kansas and Missouri

Can Kansas and Missouri end the economic development border war?
Image: Chris Curry
Found: bizjournals.com

 
Veterans in Kansas and Missouri should be aware of opportunities they have available to them in their respective states and know what kind of support they can receive.

In Missouri, you can visit the Veterans Commission for all kinds of helpful links and information. One interesting component is the Missouri Veterans History Project. Through this organization you can learn about military history and help preserve it by volunteering or sharing your own personal story.

In Kansas, you can find programs and services available to you here. The state site also has links to help you get back into the workforce.

Though sometimes it seems the Washington gets nothing accomplished and there is constant red tape, there are sources and organizations--government and private--that ably help veterans move forward and readjust to civilian life. While waiting on claims to go through the appeals process, it may be worth getting involved with one of these groups to help yourself or a comrade in arms.

If you are a part of a veterans organization or have heard about local veterans groups worth mentioning, leave a comment below to help spread the word.

Dan Curry, Esq. helping veterans with their appeals since 2009.
804-IM4-VETS

No Draft has Unforseen Consequences


The end of the draft in 1973 caused the nation to breathe a sigh of relief. However, the ending the draft had unprecedented side-effects.

With fewer citizens joining the military, there became fewer veterans to be elected into congress. Having fewer veterans as representatives means not as many congressmen understand the struggles of our troops returning home and trying to adapt to the civilian lifestyle. 

Across the state of Missouri veterans are feeling the detriments of such a lack in representation. In St Louis, one third of disabled veterans' claims are mismanaged. While in Kansas City the Star worriedly reports the lack of political strength representing our armed forces.

Hopefully, as the media draws more attention to this matter, and after this spring's scandal in V.A. hospitals, the nation's representatives--veterans or not--will find proper ways to care for our veterans re-acclimating to the civilian lifestyle and in need of specialized care.


Dan Curry 804-IM4-VETS

Robin Williams, Suicide, and the Military



Robin Williams,
photo pulled from Google Images

The tragic suicide this week of comedian Robin Williams only serves to remind us how dark and plaguing an illness like depression can be. The spiraling circle that is depression is often exacerbated by other mental illnesses such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Unfortunately, the sad truth is that many of our veterans return from war suffering from both.

According to The Kansas City Star, a minimum of 22 veterans take their own lives each day. This adds up to approximately 8,030 veterans every year, making the total number of Americans who have died in combat since 2000 (10,550 or 754 each year) pale in comparison. These numbers sadly show that we are losing more of our servicemen and women off the battlefield than on it.

The VA has been established to provide veterans with the healthcare they so desperately need. Included in this healthcare is the health of the mind. Though the need for awareness of mental health and wellness is recognized by public institutions as high up as the White House, there has been too much controversy and red tape in the Veterans Administration for any notable progress to be made. In the end, our veterans are gone from us and their family members suffer the anguish of such a loss.

Suicide can be prevented. If you or a veteran you know is suffering from depression, PTSD, or any other mental illness, don't be afraid to reach out for help. You can call the Veterans Crisis Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1 or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. Both are available 24/7.


Dan Curry is an attorney in Kansas City who helps veterans at the appellate level receive medical and monetary benefits to which they are entitled. He can be reached at 804-IM4-VETS.


Hardest Evidence yet of Agent Orange in Okinawa

Excavation of the former U.S. military dump in January - uncovered barrels, some of which bore markings of the Dow Chemical Company
Photograph from the Japan Times



Journalist Jon Mitchell reports on another big development in Okinawa, Japan. This report reveals information that could change the VA Appeals process for some veterans. According to Mitchell, two separate independent testing groups have verified that dozens of barrels unearthed on former Camp Schwab property contained Agent Orange ingredients. If this proves true, the VA may soon be making more favorable findings on claims for veterans who were stationed at the camp.

If you or a veteran you know were stationed at Camp Schwab, you can contact Dan Curry in Kansas City to see what claims you are eligible for at:
804- IM4-VETS.




Jesse Barnes Finally Gets Compensated.




I have told the story before of Mr. Barnes. This month, he finally received compensation for his conditions.

Mr. Barnes served along the DMZ in Korea and he saw Agent Orange being used along the DMZ when he was TDY'd to the DMZ. We were able to obtain pay records to show that he had received hazard pay for his work, corroborating his account. We also found unit records that established that his paving company worked on roads in the vicinity of the DMZ. This was the evidence we needed to prove that he was exposed to Agent Orange.



NOW THE BOARD OF VETERANS' APPEALS  HAS AGREED TO RECONSIDER  JESSE BARNES' CLAIM THAT HE WAS EXPOSED TO AGENT ORANGE ALONG THE DMZ!






This is great news for Mr. Barnes. Jesse Barnes served in Company A of the 76th Engineer battalion.  Unlike infantry troops, the VA in most cases does not presume that non-infantry troops were exposed to Agent Orange.

More about our findings is provided below.


Veteran Wins Malpractice Claim Against the VA



This summer the VA finally had to pay for one of its mistakes.


We represented veteran David C. in a medical malpractice claim against the VA under the Federal Tort Claims Act. Following a heart surgery, David developed an infection after receiving poor wound care at a VA facility in Kansas. VA employees actually removed his wound v.a.c. against the device's recommendations. The infectious discharge from his wound built up and spread to his sternum. He had to undergo additional surgeries and wound up sidelined for months recuperating in a medical facility hooked up to IV antibiotics. His business floundered while he sat in a nursing home.


image via shutterstock

Our office represented him. We found the medical evidence needed to successfully establish negligence on the part of the VA Medical Center. We were able to obtain a six-figure settlement on his behalf.

We were also able to help David obtain additional VA compensation for the depression he suffered after going through what should have been an avoidable near-death experience and six-month stay in a nursing home. Compensation was obtained through Section 1151, a statute that permits a veteran to obtain VA disability compensation for permanent conditions that result from the VA's carelessness, negligence, or failure to obtain informed consent.  Section 1151 claims are notoriously difficult to win, so we are proud that David was able to obtain them in addition to his settlement.

David asked that I share his story so that other veterans realize that you can fight back.

If you need help like David did, you can contact Dan Curry in Kansas City at 804-IM4-VETS.



Health and Changes in the Law



Please take time to read this compelling story about one of our favorite clients, Robert Trafter. His battle with male breast cancer is a reminder that this terrible disease can impact anyone, but that there is support and ways to fight through it.

http://i0.wp.com/www.ssfinsurance.com/files/2014/06/photo-me-Jack.jpg

At Randles, Mata & Brown, L.L.C. we have a dedicated lawyer who fights tirelessly for the rights of veterans--just ask Robert Trafter. We were honored to work with Mr. Trafter to change the law in order to help more veterans.  Now, because of our win at the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans’ Claims, veterans claiming that VA doctors committed malpractice must be given a free medical opinion from the VA. Because of the work Dan Curry, Esq. did while fighting for Mr. Trafter, all veterans have the ability to do more than just sit idly by while overworked doctors at the VA commit malpractice.

When it comes to your health and well-being: It pays to fight the VA.  

If you, or someone you know, are a veteran in need, contact Dan Curry at 804-IM4-VETS
to see what he can do for you.

They're Doing Something About It...But Will It Work?

North Kansas City Hospital
North Kansas City Hospital

Politicians are crossing party lines this week to help protect and defend those who have already done just that for our country--veterans. As we have learned in recent weeks about the appalling secret wait-lists for veterans and related deaths, congress is trying to pass a bill to grant veterans the right to seek medical attention from private hospitals should waits exceed 90-day limits at Veterans Hospitals.

As veterans wait to find out if they are to see improvement in the medical sector, many are still fighting to receive financial support and benefits from the VA in the legal sector. Should any veterans be in the appellate stage of their struggle, they should contact attorney Dan Curry in Kansas City at (804)IM4VETS.