WASHINGTON, D.C., January 31, 2019 - Baker Botts lawyers, on behalf of a diverse coalition of trade associations, filed a merits-stage amicus brief in Kisor v. Wilkie, No. 18-15, before the Supreme Court of the United States. The case will address the scope and good-standing of two past Supreme Court cases directing courts to defer to an agency’s “reasonable” interpretation of its own regulations: Auer v. Robbins (1997) and Bowles v. Seminole Rock & Sand Co.(1945). This principle is commonly referred to as the “Auer Doctrine.”
The case concerns a Vietnam veteran’s attempts to seek service-related disability benefits, which were originally denied in 1983. Interpreting its own regulations, the Department of Veterans Affairs determined that the veteran’s claim could be not be re-opened based on new evidence he obtained. The veteran’s administrative appeals, and an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, were denied in opinions that turned on Auer and Seminole Rock.
Baker Botts filed a petition-stage amicus brief last summer urging the Supreme Court to grant review of the Federal Circuit’s decision. The Court agreed and granted certiorari on December 10, 2018. The Court will consider whether to overrule Auer and Seminole Rock.
The case is set for argument on Wednesday, March 27, 2019.
Baker Botts lawyers acting on the case include: Evan Young (Partner, Austin); Megan Berge (Partner, Washington D.C.); Jared Wigginton (Associate, Washington D.C.); Adam Dec (Associate, Washington, D.C.); William Seidleck (Associate, Washington D.C.)
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