March 13, 2009
On Monday, December 8, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Peake v. Sanders. The Supreme Court here considers the administrative process governing veterans’ disability benefits claims. The consolidated cases arise from disability claims filed by respondents Woodrow Sanders and Patricia Simmons under the Veterans Claims Assistance Act. Initially both claims were denied, but respondents later sought to reopen or amend their claims. Both claims were again denied, but in each case the Department of Veterans Affairs failed to provide all of the appropriate notice required by the VCAA. Respondents appealed their cases to the Veterans Court, each arguing that the failure to provide the required notice was prejudicial, with that court drawing a distinction between different types of notice error. On appeal, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held that all types of notice error would be presumed prejudicial, and the VA petitioned for certiorari in both cases. The Supreme Court thus now considers whether a failure of the VA to give notice required by the VCAA must be presumed to be prejudicial. Richard Samp, Chief Counsel of the Washington Legal Foundation, discusses the case.
Oral Argument - December 8, 2008: