Veterans for Common Sense v. Shinseki

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Administrative Law
  • Date Filed: 05-07-2012
  • Case #: 08-16728
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Bybee for the Court; Chief Judge Kozinski, Circuit Judges Thomas, Graber, McKeown, Wardlaw, Rawlinson, Callahan, Ikuta, Smith; Dissent by Circuit Judge Schroeder
  • Full Text Opinion

The district court lacked jurisdiction to hear whether the procedures for veterans’ mental health services and service-related disability claims with the Department of Veteran’s Affairs violates due process and a statutory duty to provide timely care. The district court did have jurisdiction to consider if the Regional Office’s non-adversarial adjudication of disability claims satisfied due process and properly held that it did.

Two nonprofit veterans organizations brought suit seeking declaratory judgment and injunctive relief against the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), alleging that its management of veterans’ mental-health care services and service-related disability claims violate the Due Process Clause and statutory obligations to provide timely care. The district court denied Plaintiffs relief and they appealed. The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court on constitutional grounds but found that the VA’s management of claims did not violate due process. The Court granted the VA’s petition for a rehearing en banc. The Court, on rehearing, held that jurisdiction will be precluded by 38 U.S.C. § 511 when it requires the District Court to consider claims related to administering VA benefits. The Court held that it lacked jurisdiction to review Plaintiffs’ claims regarding delays in administering mental-health care and disability services and claims because it would require the Court to review and evaluate the VA’s procedures for dispensing veteran benefits. The Court, however, did find that the district court had jurisdiction to consider whether the non-adversarial adjudication of veterans’ service-related disability claims at the Regional Office level satisfied due process and found that the District Court properly decided that its adjudication process did satisfy due process. AFFIRMED in part, REVERSED in part, and REMANDED with instructions to DISMISS.

Advanced Search