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August 26, 2019

The U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims will hold oral argument at University of Detroit Mercy School of Law on Tuesday, Sept. 10 at 2:00 p.m. The event presents an opportunity for students and members of the legal community to see experienced veterans law practitioners argue before a three-judge panel of the court.

The court, created in 1988, has exclusive jurisdiction to review final decisions by the Board of Veterans' Appeals. Prior to the establishment of the court, there was no direct judicial recourse for veterans who were denied Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits, such as disability compensation.

Located in Washington, D.C., the court hears all veterans appeals from the Board from anywhere in the United States. The court visits law schools throughout the country to educate students about its important role in veterans’ issues and the development of law in the area of veterans’ benefits. This will be the court’s second visit for oral arguments at Detroit Mercy Law; its first visit was in 2011. 

“We are honored that the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims is returning to Detroit Mercy Law to share their important work with our students and our community,” said Detroit Mercy Law Dean Phyllis L. Crocker. “It is a valuable experience for our students, faculty and visitors to see the court in action.” 

Federal Judges Joseph L. Falvey, Jr., Amanda L. Meredith and Joseph L. Toth will preside at the hearing. The case, Webb v. Wilkie, is an appeal from the Board of Veterans’ Appeals decision denying the veteran’s entitlement of benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Students from the Detroit Mercy Law Veterans Law Clinic will be among the attendees at the hearing. The clinic, established in 2007, was one of the first veterans law clinics launched in the United States. Since it was established, the clinic has made more than 2,000 veteran contacts, handled 500 active cases and recovered nearly three million dollars in retroactive benefits for clients.

 “Our clinic has been a leader in the field of Veterans Law since its opening, and many of our students and graduates have done outstanding work supporting veterans,” said Margaret Costello, professor and director of the Veterans Law Clinic. “I am delighted that my clinic students and our entire community will have this rare opportunity to see veterans’ advocates arguing a case that likely will result in a holding that will influence future cases.”

The court's oral argument will be followed by a reception with the judges and counsel. The hearing takes place in room 226 at the University’s Riverfront Campus located at 651 East Jefferson Ave., Detroit, MI 48226. Doors open at 1:30 p.m. Guests planning to attend should register at https://cavcudmlaw.eventbrite.com

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