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The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issues ruling affecting Vietnam Bluewater sailors

Official Court Document:
2017-1821.Opinion.1-29-2019.pdf

Joe Lolley posted this announcement from the to Blue Water Navy Association on facebook:

Today, the Court ruled IN OUR FAVOR in the Procopio v Wilkie case, by a vote of 8-2. The following is a BRIEF synopsis of the opinion just rendered. The entire ruling can be found on the Court webpage... US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit Court 2017-1821 ...We find no merit to the government’s argument that § 1116 is ambiguous because “Congress’s codification of the existing regulatory presumptions . . . tells, at best, a conflicting story.” Appellee’s Br. 39–40. In 1991, Congress legislated against the backdrop of international law that had defined the “Republic of Vietnam” as including its territorial sea for decades. The government’s foot-onland requirement, first articulated in 1997, does not provide a basis to find ambiguity in the language Congress chose. ... It is precisely because “waters adjacent” go beyond a nation’s landmass and territorial sea that Congress needed to specify “waters adjacent” in these statutes. See, e.g., Keene Corp. v. United States, 508 U.S. 200, 208 (1993) (“[I]t is generally presumed that Congress acts intentionally and purposely in the disparate inclusion or exclusion” of “particular language”); W. Va. Univ. Hosps., Inc. v. Casey, 499 U.S. 83, 88-92 (1991) (comparing distinct usage of “attorney’s fees” and “expert fees” among statutes). These statutes cast no doubt on our conclusion that, by using the formal term “Republic of Vietnam,” Congress unambiguously referred, consistent with uniform international law, to both its landmass and its 12 nautical mile territorial sea ... Respectfully, the Haas court went astray when it found ambiguity in § 1116 based on “competing methods of defining the reaches of a sovereign nation” and the government’s urged distinction between Regulations 311 and 313. 525 F.3d at 1184–86. As discussed above, international law uniformly confirms that the “Republic of Vietnam” included its territorial sea. And we cannot read into § 1116 an ambiguity that relies on a distinction between Regulations 311 and 313 made by the government only after § 1116 was adopted. Haas is overruled.7 CONCLUSION Congress has spoken directly to the question of whether those who served in the 12 nautical mile territorial sea of the “Republic of Vietnam” are entitled to § 1116’s presumption if they meet the section’s other requirements. They are. Because “the intent of Congress is clear, that is the end of the matter.” Chevron, 467 U.S. at 842. Mr. Procopio is entitled to a presumption of service connection for his prostate cancer and diabetes mellitus. Accordingly, we reverse. REVERSED AND REMANDED

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Another sound decision from congress whose people who were never there, don't know which way the wind blows & contamination of aircraft , etc !!!!  I know personally  of Vets never in country of VC land had severe cancers etc problems directly related to agent orange , some cases were covered by VA some are still being fought !!!!!!!

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