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UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR VETERANS CLAIMS
ALPHONSA BROWN, APPELLANT,
ROBERT L. WILKIE,
SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, APPELLEE.
Before TOTH, Judge.
Note: Pursuant to U.S. Vet. App. R. 30(a),
this action may not be cited as precedent.
TOTH, Judge: The Board has a duty to explain its “rejection of any material evidence
favorable to the claimant.” Hedgepeth v. Wilkie, 30 Vet.App. 318, 325 (2018). Without that
explanation, neither the Court nor the veteran can “understand the precise basis for the Board’s
decision.” Id. In this case, two VA medical examiners suggested that veteran Alphonsa Brown’s
psychiatric disorder was related to his divorce. The record also indicates that his divorce occurred
while he was in service. These pieces of evidence bear on critical elements of service connection
and are thus material and favorable. But because the Board failed to discuss this evidence, it’s
unclear why the Board decided that Mr. Brown’s psychiatric disorder wasn’t related to service,
specifically his divorce. The veteran’s claim for service connection for a psychiatric disorder is
therefore remanded, along with his inextricably intertwined claim for sleep apnea, secondary to
the psychiatric disorder.
Mr. Brown served in the Army from May 1972 to June 1992, including service in Desert
Storm from November 1990 to April 1991. His separation examinations were normal for any psychiatric or sleep problems. But, important to this case, the veteran’s wife divorced him just
before he left service. See, e.g., R. at 2785 (1992 claim for diabetes listing divorce on June 26,
1991, in Coryell County, Texas); R. at 1464 (reporting his divorce in 1991).
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Single Judge; must "provide the reasons for its rejection of any material evidence favorable to the claimant." Hedgepeth, 30 Vet.App. at 325; whether the Board considered all evidence of in-service occurrence should be evident from its statement of reasons and bases. See Fears v. Wilkie, 31 Vet.App. 308, 314 (2019);
Designated for electronic publication onlyUNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR VETERANS CLAIMSNo. 19-0333ALPHONSA BROWN, APPELLANT,V.ROBERT L. WILKIE,SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, APPELLEE.Before TOTH, Judge.MEMORANDUM DECISIONNote: Pursuant to U.S. Vet. App. R. 30(a),this action may not be cited as precedent.TOTH, Judge: The Board has a duty to explain its "rejection of any material evidencefavorable to the claimant."...