CCK successfully appealed to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims a Board of Veterans’ Appeals decision that denied the Veteran a disability rating in excess of 50% for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In its decision, the Board concluded that the Veteran’s PTSD did not cause occupational and social impairment with deficiencies in most areas, such as work, school, family relations, judgment, thinking or mood, which would warrant a 70% disability rating for PTSD.
CCK argued, and the Court agreed, that the Board erred in its decision as its statement of reasons or bases for denying an evaluation in excess of 50% for PTSD was inadequate. The Court recognized that the Board discussed the list of symptoms enumerated in the 70% rating criteria, and improperly highlighted the absence of certain symptoms. Additionally, the Court concluded that the Board’s discussion of symptoms was inadequate.
CCK also challenged the Board’s rejection of the 2015 private psychologist’s opinion that the appellant’s PTSD results in deficiencies in most areas. The Court agreed and explained that it “is disturbed by the Board’s ad hominem attack” on the private psychologist who rendered the opinion as the Board’s reasoning was wholly contrary to the nonadversarial nature of proceedings before VA. The Court also found it troubling that the Board would discount a medical opinion by resorting to a direct attack upon a medical professional’s integrity and concluded the Board failed to provide adequate reasons or bases for its inference that the psychologist may have some interest, pecuniary or otherwise, in the outcome of the case.