Single Judge Application; In Saunders v. Wilkie, 886 F.3d 1356, 1368 (Fed. Cir. 2018), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit overruled nearly 20 years of precedent when it held that “pain in the absence of a presently diagnosed condition can cause functional impairment,” which may qualify as a “disability” under 38 U.S.C. § 1110. 886 F.3d at 1368, overruling Sanchez-Benitez v. West, 13 Vet.App. 282, 285 (1999), appeal dismissed in part and vacated in part on other grounds sub nom. Sanchez-Benitez v. Principi, 259 F.3d 1356 (Fed. Cir. 2001); The Federal Circuit held that pain alone may constitute a disability if it causes functional impairment, even without an identifiable underlying pathology. Saunders v. Wilkie, 886 F.3d 1356, 1368 (Fed. Cir. 2018); The Federal Circuit’s decision provides a means of establishing service connection without an explicitly diagnosed condition;
Designated for electronic publication only
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR VETERANS CLAIMS
TYRONE HARTMAN, APPELLANT,
SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, APPELLEE.
Before PIETSCH, Judge.
Note: Pursuant to U.S. Vet. App. R. 30(a),
this action may not be cited as precedent.
PIETSCH, Judge: The self-represented appellant, Tyrone Hartman, appeals a
December 17, 2019, Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board) decision in which the Board reopened
and denied a claim for service connection for left knee degenerative joint disease (DJD) claimed
as chondromalacia. Record (R.) at 5-9. The Board’s decision to reopen the claim is favorable to
the appellant and the Court will not disturb it. See Medrano v. Nicholson, 21 Vet.App. 165, 170
(2007). This appeal is timely and the Court has jurisdiction over the matter on appeal pursuant to
38 U.S.C. §§ 7252(a) and 7266. Single-judge disposition is appropriate when the issues are of
“relative simplicity” and “the outcome is not reasonably debatable.” Frankel v. Derwinski,
1 Vet.App. 23, 25-26 (1990). For the reasons that follow, the Court will vacate the part of the
December 17, 2019, decision that denied service connection for left knee DJD claimed as
chondromalacia and will remand the matter for readjudication consistent with this decision.
Mr. Hartman served on active duty in the U.S. Air Force from October 1969 to August 1979. R. at 921-23. 3. In September 1973 he injured his left knee playing basketball. R. at 1872. In
June 1974, he reported continued left knee pain, especially on bending, and he had a small effusion
in the left knee. Id. A physician prescribed medication and rest and advised Mr.