VA reverses denial of benefits for veteran in Agent Orange-related case

Interesting Washington Post Article by Steve Vogel. This is the first win of its kind. Excerpted from the original article… “The Department of Veterans Affairs has reversed its denial of Agent Orange-related disability benefits for an Air Force veteran who flew on potentially contaminated C-123 aircraft after the Vietnam War, a decision advocates describe as the first of its kind for veterans seeking compensation for postwar exposure to the toxic defoliant.” “Paul Bailey, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who is gravely ill with cancer, received notice Monday that he would receive “a total grant of benefits” for cancer associated with his 1970s-era service in the United States aboard the aircraft, which had been used to spray the toxic defoliant during the war.” “’The preponderance of the evidence suggests that you were exposed to herbicide onboard U.S. Air Force C-123K aircrafts,’ said the VA decision, dated July 31. ‘Reasonable doubt in regards to the exposure to certain herbicide, to include Agent Orange, as the result of occupational hazards onboard C-123K aircrafts is resolved in your favor.'” “Bailey was featured in a recent Washington Post article about a controversy concerning C-123 aircraft, many of which were destroyed in 2010 by the Air Force. Tests in the 1990s showed that some of the planes might still be contaminated with TCDD dioxin, a carcinogen associated with Agent Orange.” “Bailey, 67, who suffers from prostate cancer and metastatic cancer of the pelvis and ribs, said the disability compensation will allow his wife to stay in their New Hampshire home after he dies. ‘The financial and emotional support this provides is just tremendous,’he said in a telephone interview Wednesday. ‘It takes a huge burden off me.'”  Full Story.

Dear Friends and Clients,

In furtherance of our firm’s culture of commitment to always act with compassion, concern and commitment to our clients, community and colleagues, we have been taking precautions to ensure that we are still fulfilling our ethical and moral obligations while prioritizing health, wellness and safety of all we can.

As you know, the COVID-19 pandemic has introduced changes to many lives and businesses in our communities, and around the world. We, much like our neighbors and friends, have been taking precautions to ensure that we are still fulfilling our ethical and moral obligation to our clients, while also prioritizing the health, wellness and safety of our employees.

Until further notice, our offices will be closed to the public to encourage social distancing and to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Our team is still hard at work, many from home, and you may still call, email, live chat or video conference us if you or a loved one is seeking legal assistance. As the first law firm to offer our clients secure online access to their case file more than a decade ago, we have always been believers in using technology to make life easier and information more accessible. In these present times it has been a smooth transition for us to continue to offer our clients the same seamless and thorough service that you deserve and are accustomed to.

This pandemic is unlike anything any of us have faced in our lifetimes, and while we can continue to emotionally support one another through it all, staying home and keeping your distance is vital to the health and wellness of our communities. It does not feel good to break routines, cancel events and retreat from our normal, day-to-day socializing, but let us remember that, in times of strife, prior generations were asked to go to war and we are simply being asked to stay home. Your isolation equals more lives saved, and more time for medical providers to prepare for the treatment of patients battling COVID-19.

When the dust settles, we will join together with a greater appreciation for our lives, local businesses, loved ones and health. Until then, we will continue to offer guidance from a safe distance.

Very truly yours,

Andrew G. Finkelstein and the staff of Finkelstein & Partners, LLP