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Vietnam Veteran’s Widow Finally Wins VA Claim After 24 Years

Bergmann & Moore Honored to Aggressively Represent Claim Appeal. 

Army Veteran Ronnie McNutt cooks steaks over a barrel that once contained dioxin, also known as Agent Orange, while serving in the Vietnam War.  He died from colon cancer VA linked to his Agent Orange poisoning.  Photo Credit: McNutt family.

Army Veteran Ronnie McNutt cooks steaks over a barrel that once contained dioxin, also known as Agent Orange, while serving in the Vietnam War. He died from colon cancer VA linked to his Agent Orange poisoning. Photo Credit: McNutt family.

On May 7, Bettye McNutt won her Dependency and Indemnity Compensation claim against the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  Her remarkable legal victory, reported by Jamie Reno in Veteran Journal, comes after fighting against VA for nearly a quarter century and after her personal appearance before Congress and several interviews with the national press.

McNutt is the widow of Vietnam War Army infantry veteran Ronald McNutt, who died quickly from colon cancer at the age of 39. He served in Vietnam from 1968 to 1969.

McNutt was represented by Bergmann & Moore.

Strong Congressional and Media Interest

Last December, in a powerful and poignant plea, McNutt testified about her struggle before the House Veterans Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs.  Several legislators were moved to tears.

She told lawmakers that because of VA’s chronic delays and errors over the past 24 years, she has been “forced to live in poverty sometimes without heat and electricity as a widow raising a son orphaned by the Vietnam War.”

McNutt’s epic battle against VA also received widespread national attention, including articles Josh Hicks at the Washington Post and Rick Maze at Military Times.

Victory for Widow

Earlier this month, after seven denials and appeals and nearly 24 years of struggling just to make ends meet, VA’s Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board) granted her claim.  The Board concluded the colon cancer “that resulted in the Veteran’s death is directly, not presumptively, related to exposure to Agent Orange during service.”

A happy McNutt told the Military Times, “I’ve been in survival mode for so long, it’s going to take me a while for it to sink in.”  She added, “Dealing with the VA is a game of nerves. What I’d like to say to others is: ‘Don’t accept the denial. Keep on.’”

Bergman & Moore partner Glenn Bergmann, a former VA litigator, told the Military Times, “VA finally agreed with the clear medical evidence that toxic exposure to Agent Orange in 1968 and 1969, while serving in the Army in Vietnam, caused Ronald McNutt’s tragic and early death from colon cancer. This case should serve as an example to other veterans and survivors to never give up the fight.”

Managed by former VA attorneys, Bergmann & Moore is a national law firm that has helped thousands of Veterans and families obtain the VA disability benefits they earned.  Call us if you are unemployed due to your military service or have lost a loved one due to a service-related disease or injury.

 

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