Thursday, March 15, 2007

Correction on Ribaudo

We apologize, our March 12 post reporting the Ribaudo stay being lifted is in error. The following message from the National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP) was posted this evening on the Blue Water Navy message board, and also on the Blue Water Navy website. Please read it carefully, and several times as it can be confusing. There also is some meaning to it which we will discuss later:
There have been many rumors flying around about the status of the two important Blue Water Navy cases – Haas and Ribaudo. In an attempt to clear up confusion, the following is the status as of 3:30 PM, March 14, 2007:

Haas: This case is currently on Appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (not the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims). After the Court granted several extensions, the government’s initial brief was due to be filed with the Court on March 2, 2007. On March 2, 2007, the government filed a motion for an extension of time until March 7, 2007 to file the brief. On March 6, 2007, we filed an opposition to the VA’s motion for an extension of time. The government submitted a brief to the Federal Circuit on March 7, 2007. However, the brief has not been accepted for filing by the Court, since the Court has not yet ruled on the March 2, 2007 motion for an extension of time.

Ribaudo: This case is currently at the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. On January 26, the Court issued a temporary stay of the adjudication of all Haas-like claims at the Board of Veterans’ Appeals and the VA Regional Offices. This temporary stay is in effect until the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims issues an order either revoking the temporary stay or granting the VA’s Motion for Stay (see below). Our most recent filing in this case was on February 7, 2006. On that date, the Court accepted for filing our opposition to the VA’s motion for stay of the Haas decision (which the VA filed in Ribaudo for some reason). There are currently three motions awaiting a decision in this case:

  1. The VA’s motion to stay the effect of Haas pending the outcome of its appeal at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit;

  2. Our motion requesting that the Court hold the VA in contempt for its violation of a January 9, 2007 Court Order; and

  3. Our motion to dismiss the VA’s motion for a stay of proceedings (since we believe it should have been filed in Haas and not in Ribaudo).

I hope that clears up some confusion. I will keep this site [Blue Water Navy]updated with the latest relevant happenings in either case (aside from non-substantive, routine motions by either party). It will likely be many more months, and possibly longer than a year, before these cases are resolved. I also request that people with general questions about the status of these cases refer to this website [Blue Water Navy] instead of directly contacting NVLSP. It has been difficult to keep up with all of the emails and telephone calls, most of which could have been avoided merely by checking this website.

Thank you!

-NVLSP

Again, we apologize for misinterpreting the court's actions with their administrative handling of cases on their website.

It would seem to us that if the USCAFC [United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit] rules against the request for extension in the Haas case the appeals of it are over. That, then should make moot the stay in Ribaudo. So one positive outcome of this whole thing hinges on that particular decision. Decisions on requests for extensions of filing deadlines for briefs are not usually that difficult to make.

On the other hand, the USCAVC [United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims] taking as long as it is to decide to either uphold the writ of mandamus or uphold the stay order seems to favor the latter, as they must be digging for case law to support the stay.

Still we think the remedy for the Haas appeal lies not in the courts but in Congress.

VN Vets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." -- President Abraham Lincoln

"Without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious." --President George Washington

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