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Procedural Requirements for Staff Conferences

To assist all interested parties in USCAVC Rule 33 submissions, the Department of Veterans Affairs has dedicated the fax number 202-632-7122 for Professional Group VII submissions.

The purpose of the program is to facilitate the narrowing or full resolution of the issues to be presented by the appellant on appeal. In furtherance thereof, the Court's Central Legal Staff attorneys have been provided additional mediation training and certification. In cases identified for Staff Conference, the Court will schedule a conference to occur approximately 30 days prior to the date the appellant's principal brief is due. See Sample Rule 33 Staff Conference Order. The conference may be rescheduled by the Court only upon a showing of good cause. The Staff Conference procedures are modified as follows:


(1) No later than 14 days prior to the Staff Conference, the appellant shall submit to the Secretary and to the Court's Central Legal Staff, a summary of the issues that he or she intends to raise in the appeal, including citations to the relevant authorities and pertinent documents.

(2) The appellant shall submit the summary of the issues by facsimile (fax) or email. The appellant must also file with the Court and serve on the Secretary a certificate of service that includes the date of the appellant's submission to the Secretary and to the Central Legal Staff; the specific manner of the service (email or fax); and the names and addresses of the persons served.

(3) E-mail submissions shall be sent to the Central Legal Staff at CLS-Calendar@uscourts.cavc.gov.  Fax submissions shall be sent to the CLS fax number at (202) 585-3951.

(4) The representatives for the parties must consult with their respective clients in good faith to determine whether joint resolution of the appeal or settlement is possible. At the time of the Staff Conference, the representative must either possess the authority to enter into a joint resolution of the appeal or settlement to the extent authorized by the client, or be in immediate contact with such a person.

(5) Absent an order of the Court, the time period for taking any action under the Court's Rules is not tolled for the time required to prepare for the Staff Conference.

If any party, counsel, or representative fails to comply with the requirements as set forth in the Staff Conference order, the Court may take appropriate action. See 38 U.S.C. § 7265(a)(3) (Court may punish disobedience or resistance to, inter alia, a lawful order, rule, or command by fine or imprisonment); see also Chambers v. NASCO, Inc., 501 U.S. 32, 43-44 (1991) (holding that Federal courts have implied powers "'governed not by rule or statute but by the control necessarily vested in courts to manage their own affairs so as to achieve the orderly and expeditious disposition of cases'" to include sanctions); see, e.g., Ruiz-Rosa v. Rullan, 485 F.3d 150 (1st Cir. 2007) (affirming district court's grant of summary judgment as sanction for failing to comply with court's order); U.S. Vet. App. R. 3(a) (failure of appellant to take required steps under the Court's Rules may be grounds for appropriate Court action, to include dismissal of an appeal); U.S. Vet. App. R. Adm. & Prac. 4(b)(2) (failure to comply with Court's Rules may subject representatives to disciplinary action).

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