Citation Nr: 18131270
Decision Date: 08/31/18	Archive Date: 08/31/18

DOCKET NO. 18-34 617
DATE:	August 31, 2018
ORDER
Entitlement to service connection for malignant pleural mesothelioma is dismissed.
FINDING OF FACT
In August 2018, while the Veteran’s appeal to the Board was pending, and prior to the issuance of a final decision, VA received notice that the Veteran died in July 2018.
CONCLUSION OF LAW
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).
REASONS AND BASES FOR FINDING AND CONCLUSION
The Veteran served on active duty in the Navy from November 1953 to November 1956.
This matter is before the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board) on appeal from a September 2017 rating decision of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Regional Office (RO) in New York, New York.

Service Connection
Unfortunately, the appellant 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 appellant 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 claims 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).  
(Continued on the next page)
 
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 claims originated (listed on the first page of this decision).  38 C.F.R. § 3.1010(b) (2017).
 
J.W. FRANCIS
Veterans Law Judge
Board of Veterans’ Appeals
ATTORNEY FOR THE BOARD	G.A. Ong, Associate Counsel  

For A Complete Guide To VA Disability Claims and to find out more about your potential VA disability case and how to obtain favorable VA Rating Decision! Visit: VA-Claims.org

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