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Traut V. Brown

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NAME: Traut v. Brown

ISSUE: Weighing Evidence; Reasons or bases

ACTION BY COURT: Reversal Date: 6/2/94

BEFORE JUDGES: Farley, Holdaway, Steinberg

Significant points:

. Reversal is appropriate where all of the evidence supports the claim.


The veteran (4/53-4/55) was hospitalized in 1954 for anemia. Clinical records indicated a number of symptoms before and during hospitalization which could have reflected multiple sclerosis in retrospect. There were also two medical opinions that the veteran had prodromal symptoms within the presumptive period based on review of credible testimony and historical medical records. While the veteran had also been treated for rheumatoid arthritis after service, there was no medical evidence which tied relevant manifestations to that diagnosis rather than to multiple sclerosis. The Board of Veterans' Appeals cited two medical texts which actually indicated that some of the symptoms reported in service may be early symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

Court Analysis:

Based on its own review of the record, the Court found that there was no unfavorable evidence to support a denial of service connection. The case was distinguished from the remand in Talley v. Brown, 6 Vet. App. 72, 74 (1993), because the favorable medical opinions in Traut unequivocally supported an allowance and there was no evidence that another cause was plausible. The denial was reversed under Willis v. Derwinski, 1 Vet. App. 66, 70 (1991), since the evidence was wholly favorable.

Service Analysis:

The claim was clearly well-grounded and should have led to a VA examination with review of the file to determine onset of multiple sclerosis. Current procedural instructions call for a VA examination when there is reasonable probability of a valid claim (M21-1, Part VI, Paragraph 1.01c,f), and the February 1994 Judicial Review summary of court cases reminded regional office personnel of the Court's specific duty-to-assist exam requirements.

RECOMMENDED VBA ACTION: None. This decision is consistent with prior precedents and no revision of current guidance is necessary.


J. Gary Hickman, Director

Compensation and Pension Service

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