Langdon v. McDonough, No. 2020-1789(Decided: June 9, 2021); General Rating Formula does not allow the VA to distinguish between the thoracic and lumbar spine segments; we hold the VA’s regulation requires it to rate the thoracolumbar spine as a unit when applying the General Rating Formula;

United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

ROBERT E. LANGDON, Claimant-Appellant v. DENIS MCDONOUGH, SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, Respondent-Appellee

2020-1789

Appeal from the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims in No. 18-0520, Judge Michael P. Allen, Judge Joseph L. Toth, Judge Coral Wong Pietsch.
__________ Decided: June 9, 2021 __________
CHARLES COLLINS-CHASE, Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP, Washington, DC, ar-gued for claimant-appellant. Also represented by KAYVON GHAYOUMI, JEANETTE ROORDA. MOLLIE LENORE FINNAN, Commercial Litigation Branch, Civil Division, United States Department of Jus-tice, Washington, DC, argued for respondent-appellee. Also represented by JEFFREY B. CLARK, ROBERT EDWARD KIRSCHMAN, JR., LOREN MISHA PREHEIM; MEGHAN ALPHONSO, BRIAN D. GRIFFIN, Office of General Counsel, Case: 20-1789 Document: 46 Page: 1 Filed: 06/09/2021
2 LANGDON v. MCDONOUGH
United States Department of Veterans Affairs, Washing-ton, DC.

Before MOORE, Chief Judge, PROST* and CHEN, Circuit Judges.
MOORE, Chief Judge.
Robert E. Langdon appeals a final decision of the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims that denied him a higher rating for his service-connected thoracic spine disability. See J.A. 1–12. Because that holding was based on a misinterpretation of the controlling regulations, we reverse.
I
Mr. Langdon served on active duty in the United States Navy from 1980 until 1996. After leaving service, Mr. Langdon sought disability compensation for a “spine condition especially [the] thorac[ic] [and] lumbar regions.” J.A. 429. After various proceedings, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) determined Mr. Langdon had a serviceconnected thoracic spine injury, a non-service-connected lumbar spine injury,