Chisholm v. McDonald, docket no. 15-1594 (per curiam order) (Sept. 30, 2016)

HELD: The Court ordered the Secretary to issue a decision on an attorney’s request for paralegal access to VA’s electronic claims system (VBMS) on behalf of the law firm’s clients. 

SUMMARY: VA’s regulations allow representatives to access their clients’ VA claims files electronically via its Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS). 38 C.F.R. § 1.600-.603. Attorney Robert Chisholm petitioned the Court for a writ of mandamus to compel VA to provide electronic access to paralegals under his supervision or, in the alternative, to compel VA to issue a decision on his request for electronic access by his paralegals.

The Court found that it had jurisdiction to order the Secretary to issue a decision, and granted the petition, in part, to do so. Because it had granted that portion of the request, the Court determined that Mr. Chisholm was not entitled to an order granting his paralegal staff access to their clients’ electronic records.