As a paratrooper in the U.S. Army during the period following the Korean War, DWT's client was involved in multiple parachute jumps, often with heavy packs on his back. Not surprisingly, he developed bilateral degenerative knee disease later in his life. In a decision issued in 2017, the Office of Veteran Affairs (VA) denied our client’s request for veterans' disability benefits caused by his knee disorder.
Through DWT’s partnership with the National Veterans Legal Services Program, which connects military veterans with pro bono volunteer attorneys, K.C. Halm, a partner in the Washington, D.C., office, took on the case. He won a reversal, convincing the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims that while there was no indication of an injury in service, and the knee disorder did not “present” until later in life, the VA failed to consider relevant evidence surrounding the client’s service record as a former paratrooper.
Finding merit in K.C.’s argument, the Court of Appeals reversed the VA’s decision to deny benefits and remanded the case back to the agency with an opportunity to file additional evidence to support the client's claims. K.C. explained the key to success: “Sometimes a little common sense goes a long way when taking on the VA’s bureaucracy on behalf of our pro bono clients.”