"We want the VA out of our lives"
"Jim -- as you can see, the Court's moving quick on this one."
United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims Notice of Docket Activity
The following transaction was filed on 12/27/2010
Case Name: William E. Freeman v. Eric K. Shinseki
Case Number: 10-1462
ORDERED, pursuant to Rule 34 of the Court’s Rules of Practice and Procedure, that oral argument before Judges Hagel, Moorman, and Lance is set for Wednesday, February 23, 2011, at 10:00 a.m. in the Courtroom at Suite 900, 625 Indiana Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20004. Counsel for the parties are allotted 30 minutes each for presentation of argument.
By Jim Strickland
Why is this case important to every veteran? The simple answer is that it goes directly to the heart of the issue of your rights as a citizen. Every citizen is guaranteed the right to due process.
The appointment of a VA fiduciary affects a small percentage of veterans. When it does happen, it usually happens to the weakest members of our ranks. The usual targets are veterans who have mental health issues or combat related PTSD. Also on the list are our older veterans who are confined to nursing homes, veterans who may suffer from debilitating wounds from enemy actions or severe Agent Orange conditions.
These are the veterans who most need a voice and they are the very people that VA tells us have no rights to speak or be heard. VA says no appeal, no hearing, no representation and no path to reconsideration of any assignments of a rogue fiduciary.
The attorneys who represent the veteran and the legal theory are fierce advocates for veterans. Katrina Eagle has worked for veterans her entire professional career. As the president of NOVA she's worked with her Board of Directors to ensure that NOVA is a serious player in the arena of veterans law.
Doug Rosinski is acting pro bono for the veteran Mr. Freeman. Attorney Rosinski is a veteran himself. In the record it's clearly stated, "This engagement is without charge to Mr. Freeman." The firm that employs Mr. Rosinski, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. are supportive of his efforts as he faces the 2nd largest agency in our federal government.
Ms. Eagle & Mr. Rosinski are taking action to support an old fashioned ideology...that no veteran will be left behind. Those who aren't able to defend themselves will have warriors who stand up for them.
Why am I passionate about this? Read my email;
"I been declared incompetent by the VA even though on by exam by the Fee Basis Doctor before the C and P exam said I could handle money. I don't want to have a third party manage my funds and it isn't a option. What steps do I take to not let this happen since they haven't given me a fidiciarie yet? Who would I file a Notice of Disagreement to?
"I HOPE YOU CAN SUGGEST AN ANSWER TO THE FOLLOWING PROBLEM. CLEVELAND REGIONAL OFFICE BECAME MAD AT MY BROTHER (MY FIDUCIARY FOR THREE YEARS - HE DID AN EXCELLENT JOB - THEY THREATENED HIM AND TOOK THE FIDUCIARY FROM HIM) WHAT ARE THEY DOING TO THE OTHER MENTALLY HANDICAPPED VETERANS. THIS CAN'T BE NEW. YOU CAN'T GET HELP WITH THIS BECAUSE NO ONE WITH THE VA RESPONDS BACK TO YOU. THESE REGIONAL OFFICES AND BANK HAVE FULL CONTROL OF THE VETERAN. IF THERES AN INVESTIGATION THEY ALL GROUP TOGETHER TO PROTECT THEM SELVES. SO YOU REALLY CAN'T GET HELP!!!!!!!!"
"I left my job 4 years ago to take care of my dad. I went to the VA to seek a medical guardianship for my dad. Well, the fiduciary nightmare was about to begin. They refused to acknowledge my guardianship.
I dont know who has my dads VA money. They have not told me how many hundreds it will cost for someone else to manage. Then we are supposed to beg the VA for handouts of my dads money. My mother was not declared incompetent. She has been married to my dad for nearly 60 years. The VA told me that my mom was not entitled to my dads money. I was approved by my mother, sisters, brother, the state of Indiana. We want the VA out of our lives."
I have no answers for those veterans or the dozens of others who write to me begging for help. I agree with the attorney who told me;
"The Secretary should concede the issue as quickly as possible and agree to allow vets due process regarding fiduciary appointments.
The Secretary should immediately send a letter to every veteran with an appointed fiduciary correctly spelling out his or her right to challenge the appointment. This is absolutely necessary because every VARO and field examiner has repeatedly told veterans that there is no appeal."
I agree. The evidence gathered by VA OIG confirms that the current state of the VA fiduciary appointment program is broken. To begin to restore trust in our VA this is one of the programs within the seemingly uncontrollable C & P division that must be repaired right now.
This is not the time for months of adversarial sparring to keep VA lawyers busy, it's time to fix the damage.