Single Judge Application; veteran’s competence and credibility; Smith v. Wilkie, 32 Vet.App. 332, 399 (2020), where we found a violation of fair process where a veteran relied to his detriment on VA language in prior Board remands that reasonably led him to conclude that the Board had favorably resolved the matter of his competence and credibility;

Designated for electronic publication only
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR VETERANS CLAIMS
No. 20-1655
ANNIE L. ADAMS, APPELLANT,
V.
DENIS MCDONOUGH,
SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, APPELLEE.
Before FALVEY, Judge.
MEMORANDUM DECISION
Note: Pursuant to U.S. Vet. App. R. 30(a),
this action may not be cited as precedent.
FALVEY, Judge: Army veteran Annie L. Adams, through counsel, appeals a January 7,
2020, Board of Veterans’ Appeals decision that denied a disability rating above 10% for serviceconnected
left and right knee strains. This appeal is timely, the Court has jurisdiction to review the
Board’s decision, and single-judge disposition is appropriate. See U.S.C. §§ 7252(a), 7266(a);
Frankel v. Derwinski, 1 Vet.App. 23, 25-26 (1990).
We are asked to decide whether the Board erred in finding that the duty to assist was met.
Because the medical examinations relied on by the Board did not address the veteran’s condition
during a period of flareup and the Board inadequately explained its rejection of the lay evidence,
we will reverse the Board’s implicit determination that the duty to assist had been met, set aside
the Board’s decision, and remand the matter for further proceedings.
I. BACKGROUND
Ms. Adams served on active duty from January 1988 until July 1991. Record (R.) at 1317.
In 2012, she filed a VA disability compensation claim based on left and right knee disabilities. R.
at 222. In August 2013, VA provided her with a medical examination. R. at 1971-77. The next
month, VA granted the veteran’s claim and awarded her a 10% disability rating. R. at 1792.
2
In 2014, Ms. Adams filed a claim for an increased disability rating. R. at 1634-35. She
stated that her knees,