Citation Nr: 1829776	
Decision Date: 08/01/18    Archive Date: 08/17/18

DOCKET NO.  10-22 882	)	DATE

On appeal from the
Department of Veterans Affairs Regional Office in St. Petersburg, Florida


Entitlement to service connection for hypertension, to include as due to in-service herbicide exposure or as secondary to diabetes mellitus. 


Appellant represented by:	Joseph R. Moore, Attorney


J. Rutkin, Counsel


The Veteran served on active duty from January 1966 to September 1969. 

This matter comes before the Board of Veterans' Appeals (Board) on appeal from a July 2009 rating decision of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Regional Office (RO) in St. Petersburg, Florida. 

In June 2017, the Board issued a decision denying service connection for hypertension.  In an April 2018 Order, the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (Court) endorsed a joint motion for remand (JMR), vacated the Board's June 2017 decision, and remanded the case for further action consistent with the terms of the joint motion.  


The Veteran died in June 2018.  


Due to the death of the Veteran, the Board has no jurisdiction to adjudicate the merits of this appeal at this time.  38 U.S.C. § 7104(a) (2012); 38 C.F.R. § 20.1302 (2017). 


Unfortunately, the Veteran died during the pendency of the appeal.  As a matter of law, appellants' claims do not survive their deaths.  Zevalkink v. Brown, 102 F.3d 1236, 1243-44 (Fed. Cir. 1996); Smith v. Brown, 10 Vet. App. 330, 333-34 (1997); Landicho v. Brown, 7 Vet. App. 42, 47 (1994).  This appeal on the merits has become moot by virtue of the death of the Veteran and must be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.  See 38 U.S.C. § 7104(a) (2012); 38 C.F.R. § 20.1302 (2017).

In reaching this determination, the Board intimates no opinion as to the merits of this appeal or to any derivative claim brought by a survivor of the Veteran.  38 C.F.R. § 20.1106 (2017).  

The Board's dismissal of this appeal does not affect the right of an eligible person to file a request to be substituted as the appellant for purposes of processing the claim to completion.  Such request must be filed not later than one year after the date of the appellant's death.  See 38 U.S.C. § 5121A (2012); 38 C.F.R. § 3.1010(b) (2017).  A person eligible for substitution includes "a living person who would be eligible to receive accrued benefits due to the claimant under section 5121(a) of this title ...."  38 U.S.C. § 5121A (2012); see 38 C.F.R. § 3.1010(a) (2017).  An eligible party seeking substitution in an appeal that has been dismissed by the Board due to the death of the claimant should file a request for substitution with the VA office from which the claim originated (listed on the first page of this decision).  38 C.F.R. § 3.1010(b) (2017). 


The appeal is dismissed.
	Veterans Law Judge, Board of Veterans' Appeals

Department of Veterans Affairs

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