(a) In actions for debt, possession or actions similar in substance (including title actions) in which § 36.4282 or § 36.4319 of this chapter has been complied with, the Regional Counsel is authorized to enter the appearance of and represent the Secretary of Veterans Affairs as the attorney of record and to file claims for debt in probate proceedings without prior reference to the General Counsel. Any such action will normally be taken within the time prescribed by law as though there had been valid service of process. In all other types of cases, the Regional Counsel will not enter an appearance or file any pleading on behalf of the Secretary except in imperative emergency until authorization is received from the General Counsel after submission of all relevant facts. In doubtful cases, the Regional Counsel will request instructions from the General Counsel, submitting copy of so much of the pleadings or other papers, together with a sufficient recital of the facts as will make clear the background, the issues, and the relief sought. The submission also will include names and addresses of adverse parties and attorneys so that immediate action may be taken if injunctive relief seems proper. Where necessary in any case to preserve rights which might be lost by default if there had been proper service of process, appropriate action will be taken by a special appearance, or, in jurisdictions where a special appearance does not serve the purpose or under State statute or decisions will constitute a general appearance for a later date, by an appearance through amicus curiae, to obtain an extension of time, preferably 30 days or more, in which to appear and plead without prejudice. If not feasible to obtain an extension, the Regional Counsel will explain to adverse counsel by letter, and personally, if desirable, the necessity of deferring all action and will see that the proper judge receives a signed copy of the letter before default day. The letter will point out that there is no valid service of process on the Secretary of Veterans Affairs but will not base the delay on that alone.
(b) The General Counsel or each Regional Counsel representing the General Counsel is the attorney of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs for all purposes of 38 U.S.C. 3720 and, as such, is authorized to represent the Secretary in any court action or other legal matter arising under said statutory provisions. Said authorization is subject to any applicable statutes and Executive orders concerning claims of the United States. A Regional Counsel may enter appearance in such cases, subject to the provisions of §§ 36.4282 and 36.4319 of this chapter and paragraph (a) of this section. Each Regional Counsel is authorized to contract for the employment of attorneys on a fee basis for conducting any action arising under guaranty or insurance of loans or direct loans by the Department of Veterans Affairs; or for examination and other proper services with respect to title to and liens on real and personal property, material incident to such activities of the Department of Veterans Affairs, when, such employment is deemed by the Regional Counsel to be appropriate. the authority delegated to the Regional Counsel may be redelegated with the approval of the General Counsel.
(c) The General Counsel and each Regional Counsel, in carrying out their duties as authorized in paragraph (a) or (b) of this section, are authorized: (1) To contract for and execute, for and on behalf of the Secretary, any bond (and appropriate contract or application therefor) which is required in or preliminary to or in connection with any judicial proceeding in which the Regional Counsel is attorney for the Secretary, and to incur obligations for premiums for such bonds and (2) to do all other acts and incur all costs and expenses which are necessary or appropriate to further or protect the interests of the Secretary in or in connection with prosecuting or defending any cause in any court or tribunal within the United States, which cause arises out of or incident to the guaranty or insurance of loans, or the making or direct loans by the Department of Veterans Affairs, pursuant to 38 U.S.C. ch. 37.
(d) Except in an emergency, no Regional Counsel will initiate action for appellate review without prior approval by the General Counsel. These limitations do not preclude the filing of a motion for a new trial, appeal to intermediate court with hearing do novo, the giving of notice of appeal, reserving of bills of exception, or any other preliminary action in the trial court which may be necessary or appropriate to protect or facilitate, the exercise of the right of appellate review, nor do they preclude the taking of appropriate steps on behalf of the Secretary as appellee (respondent) without prior reference to the General Counsel. Upon the conclusion of the trial of a case, the Regional Counsel will report the result thereof to the General Counsel with recommendation as to seeking appellate review if the result reported is adverse to the position of the Department of Veterans Affairs in the litigation. The reporting Regional Counsel who recommends appellate review will include as a part of the communication, or in exhibits attached: (1) A summary of the evidence; (2) a summary of the law points to be reviewed; (3) citations of statutes and cases; (4) statements of special reasons for recommending appellate review; (5) time limitations for the action recommended; (6) requirements, if any, respecting printing of the record and briefs; (7) the estimated total expenses to be incurred by reason of the appeal, reporting separately the estimated costs for printing the brief and record so that authority for printing may be granted in accordance with the prescribed procedure, MP-1, part II, chapter 9;1 and (8) the recommendation or a statement as to nonrecommendation by the Loan Guaranty Officer.
1 Available in any Department of Veterans Affairs facility.
[42 FR 41411, Aug. 17, 1977]
Title 38 published on 2013-07-01
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