Two Atlanta-based attorneys, John Tanner and Beth Tanis, working in collaboration with Washington D.C. based attorney, Stephen Raber at Williams & Connolly, are under-taking a very commendable action. The three attorneys, acting in a pro bono capacity, are suing the Veteran’s Administration for violations of due process. They are filing mandamus petitions on behalf of 17 veterans and their survivors. According to an article featured on Law.com, citing VA data, it takes an average of 1,448 days from time of filing of an appeal for denial of benefits until resolution in the Veterans Court of Appeals.
Two King & Spalding lawyers in Atlanta, John Chandler and Beth Tanis, are leading an unusual and ambitious pro bono suit with Stephen Raber at Williams & Connolly in Washington to try and force the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs to speed up decisions on veterans’ disability claims.
They filed mandamus petitions for 17 veterans and their survivors on July 21 with the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, asking the court to declare unconstitutional the lengthy delays in the VA’s appeals process—which takes on average four years—and to order the VA to expedite appeals for veterans whose disability claims are denied.
The lawyers are asking the court to consolidate the 17 individual petitions—and Chandler said they will be filing more.
“We’ve got veterans coming in out of the woodwork who want to participate,” he said.
According to VA data cited in the suits, it takes an average of 1,448 days from when the VA denies a veteran’s disability claim to when the Board of Veterans Appeals rules on the appeal. Meanwhile, thousands of veterans die before their appeals are decided.
This violates the veterans’ due process guarantees under the Fifth Amendment, the petitions say.