As related legislation is being debated, veterans who served on ships during the Vietnam War won a significant court victory in their effort to secure Agent Orange benefits. Known as “blue water” vets — to distinguish them from “brown water” personnel who served on inland watercraft — these individuals were previously denied compensation related to the toxic defoliant. The Department of Veterans Affairs had refused to give sailors who didn’t reach the coastline a presumption that they were exposed to the dangerous substance.
In a 9-2 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit determined that the law Congress passed to provide disability payments for Agent Orange-related claims was not meant to exclude blue water veterans. The panel ruled that “Republic of Vietnam (aka South Vietnam),” as used in the statute, includes its 12-nautical-mile territorial sea in addition to its landmass. It’s estimated that this could affect up to 90,000 exposed veterans, who should understand such relevant issues as:
The VA has the ability to appeal to the Supreme Court, but some congressional leaders are encouraging the department to let the decision stand. After decades of having to wait, blue water vets should take quick action to make their Agent Orange disability claims, no matter what the final result of the litigation might be.
Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban advocates for veterans of the Vietnam War and other conflicts who have suffered a disability related to their military service. For assistance with Agent Orange claims and other actions, please call 866-866-VETS or contact us online to make an appointment for a free initial consultation. Our offices are in the Carolinas and Virginia.
Thank to Mr. Spencer I was able to get my VA disability claim re-reviewed and given another chance to receive disability. By far he is one of the most professional lawyers I have ever dealt with. So Veterans if you are looking for help with your VA disability claim I would suggest that you hire Macari, Russotto, Spencer, & Balaban. Thanks again for everything.
— Alfred Daye
As a disabled veteran trying to navigate the complexities of the Veterans Administrations regulations, I turned to the law firm of Marcari, Russotto, Spencer and Balaban. They helped me understand what I needed to do and prepared and presented to the VA an excellent presentation of my case. I recommend them for your legal needs.
— Harry Johnson
I was very satisfied with the excellent and professional manner the law firm handled my claim. I highly recommend any veteran who needs help with his or her claim to use Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban P.C. Special thanks to Mr Spencer for being very professional and courteous during the appeal process. Again Thanks to the entire firm for a job well done!
— Luther Henderson
My husband & I highly recommend this law form to any veteran trying to navigate the endless red tape of the VA. We turned to Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban to handle my husband's appeal and could not have been happier. We enjoyed open and consistent communication regarding our case. Any questions we had were answered immediately.
— Michele DeZayas
Amanda Medina-Morales was our point of contact and she kept us up to date on the progress of our case. It was a pleasure and relief knowing that someone truly competent and professional was handling this and fighting for us.
— Michele DeZayas