Federal appeals court to hear arguments on Delaware Campus
Public Relations - Published: March 15, 2010
VetCourtAppealsPromoWidener University School of Law is pleased to announce the Delaware campus will host a visit from the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, which will hear oral arguments in the Ruby R. Vale Moot Courtroom on Tuesday, March 16.

The three-judge panel will hear one case at 10 a.m. The hearing will be preceded by a video presentation about the court. The event marks the first time the Washington, D.C.-based court has heard oral arguments in Delaware. The proceedings are open to the public.

Court protocol will be in effect and no cameras or electronic devices will be allowed in the courtroom during the argument, which is open to the public. The three-judge panel will be comprised of Judges Lawrence B. Hagel, Alan G. Lance Sr. and Mary J. Schoelen. All were appointed by former president George W. Bush.

The case before the court has been brought by veteran Robert V. Posey of Denver, Colo., who served active duty between 1945 and 1949. It involves an appeal of a decision by the Department of Veterans Affairs denying Posey benefits. He maintains he suffers from a respiratory disorder that is linked to his service. Copies of briefs filed in the case are available through the library circulation desk for students who would like to read about the case ahead of time.

The judges will hear arguments from attorneys on both sides. Posey is represented by attorney Sara E. Collier of Oklahoma City and attorneys Jeffrey J. Schoueler and Nhu P. Nguyen represent the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims is the venue for appeals of decisions made by the Board of Veterans Appeals on matters of benefits paid out to American veterans. It is a court of national jurisdiction without geographical limits. The court was created in 1988 as the United States Court of Veteran Appeals. The name changed in 1999.

Thomas J. Reed, Widener’s Taishoff professor of law and director of the school’s Veterans Law Clinic, said it was notable for the court to take its work on the road to Delaware.

“We are grateful to the judges for giving us a personal audience here at the law campus. Their visit will be an invaluable teaching tool for our students,” Reed said. “We are a school that puts great emphasis on public service with regard to veterans, so it is especially meaningful for us to witness the work of this particular appellate court firsthand.”

Widener University was among the first law schools in the United States to start a clinical program for disabled veterans. Through its Veterans Law Clinic, students work under the supervision of practicing attorneys to provide legal representation to disabled veterans and their dependants with Veterans Affairs compensation claim appeals to the Board of Veterans Appeals. First known as the Veterans Assistance Program, Widener students began the work under Reed’s direction in 1997, when the school co-sponsored a program with the pro bono arm of the Delaware State Bar Association. It became known as the Veterans Law Clinic in January 2006 and today has three offices: in Wilmington, Del., Harrisburg, Pa. and in Media, Pa.