Henderson v. Shinseki

PETITIONER: Doretha H. Henderson, Authorized Representative of David L. Henderson, Deceased
RESPONDENT: Eric K. Shinseki, Secretary of Veterans Affairs
LOCATION: Board of Veterans' Appeals

DOCKET NO.: 09-1036
DECIDED BY: Roberts Court (2010-2016)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

CITATION: 562 US 428 (2011)
GRANTED: Jun 28, 2010
ARGUED: Dec 06, 2010
DECIDED: Mar 01, 2011

ADVOCATES:
Eric D. Miller - Assistant to the Solicitor General, Department of Justice, for the respondent
Lisa S. Blatt - for the petitioner

Facts of the case

David Henderson filed a claim for monthly compensation with the Department of Veterans Affairs Regional Office based on his need for in-home care. The Regional Office denied the claim. Mr. Henderson appealed to the Board of Veterans' Appeals, which affirmed the Regional Office. He then filed a notice of appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims fifteen days after the expiration of the 120-day appeal period set forth in 38 U.S.C. § 7266(a). The court of appeals denied the claim. The court of appeals held that it lacked jurisdiction because Mr. Henderson's notice of appeal was out of time and was not subject to equitable tolling.

Question

Is the time limit in 38 U.S.C. § 7266(a) subject to equitable tolling?

Media for Henderson v. Shinseki

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 06, 2010 in Henderson v. Shinseki

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - March 01, 2011 in Henderson v. Shinseki

Samuel A. Alito, Jr.:

This case concerns the 120-day time limit for filing a notice of appeal in the Veterans Court.

The petitioner in this case, David Henderson was a veteran.

He applied for veteran's benefits but those were denied by the Veteran's Administration so he filed a notice of appeal with the Veterans Court but he missed the 120-day deadline by a couple of days.

He argued that his late filing should be excused because it was caused by his illness but the Veterans Court held that the 120-day time limit is jurisdictional and can't be relaxed under any circumstances.

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed.

As we explained in an opinion that is filed today, we hold that Congress did not intend that the 120-day time limit be treated as a jurisdictional provision.

The judgment of the Court of Appeals is therefore reversed and the case is remanded for further proceedings.

Justice Kagan took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.