9:00am - 5:00pm

Our Opening Hours Mon. - Fri.

866.438.8773

Call Us For Free Consultation

Facebook

LinkedIn

Search

Case Summaries

Osterhout Berger Disability Law > Case Summaries (Page 6)

Mississippi District Court Reverses ALJ

November 3, 2015. In this case, the claimant was denied benefits after the ALJ did not give any weight to the opinions of two treating physicians, indicating that the claimant had substantial limitations in performing activities. The district court reversed, holding that the ALJ was required to consider several factors before declining to give the treating physician’s opinion weight, including: the length of treatment, frequency of examination, nature and extent of treatment relationship, support of the opinion offered by medical evidence, consistency of the opinion with the record as a whole, and the specialization of the physician.

Illinois District Court Reverses ALJ

November 19, 2015. Here, the ALJ found claimant to be not disabled, and found that he had the RFC to perform sedentary work, based on the vocational expert’s testimony that jobs exist in the national economy that the claimant could perform. The vocational expert’s testimony was challenged by the claimant’s counsel at the hearing, but the ALJ did not inquire further to determine if the testimony was reliable. The vocational expert relied on SkillTRAN, a program used to estimate the number of jobs existing, however, its reliability was never determined by the court in this case. The district court held that the ALJ’s determination that there were jobs in the national economy that the claimant could perform, despite his impairments, was not based on substantial evidence.

Pennsylvania District Court Reverses ALJ

October 6, 2015. In this case, the claimant was denied benefits largely due to the ALJ’s determination that he was non-compliant with treatment for his impairments. We successfully argued that this determination of non-compliance should not have ended there; rather, the ALJ should have assessed whether good reasons existed for the claimant’s failure to follow a prescribed treatment. The district court held that it was the ALJ’s duty to determine whether there was a justifiable reason for the claimant’s refusal of treatment, and remanded the case for further proceedings.

Michigan District Court Reverses ALJ

October 8, 2015. A claimant with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, bipolar disorder, and anxiety was denied benefits. The ALJ assigned little weight to the claimant’s treating physician, who opined that the claimant was limited in sitting, standing, walking, lifting, fingering, reaching, handling, and lifting, and that she would be absent from any job often. Instead, the ALJ found the claimant had little to no limitations in these areas and could perform light work. The district court reversed, holding that the ALJ’s RFC determination was not based on medical evidence.

Massachusetts District Court Reverses ALJ

November 4, 2015. A claimant with fibromyalgia, among other impairments, was denied benefits. Despite numerous medical records to the contrary, the ALJ did not consider the claimant’s fibromyalgia as even a non-severe impairment, and found that the claimant’s description of her symptoms lacked credibility because there was little objective medical evidence. The district court noted that fibromyalgia is a disease that is “characterized by the lack of objective medical…findings” and remanded the case for further proceedings. It also found that the ALJ’s treatment of the claimant’s daily activities when determining that she was able to work was concerning, as a person need not be totally incapacitated to be found disabled, but rather, be incapable of performing substantial gainful activity.

Maryland District Court Reverses ALJ

October 9, 2015. A claimant with shoulder, elbow, and knee injuries, as well as headaches was denied benefits, based in part on testimony from a vocational expert that there were jobs that existed in the economy that she could perform. This testimony was based on a hypothetical question that only considered limitations to one side of the claimant’s body, whereas the ALJ found that the claimant had limitations in both sides. The district court found that this inconsistency required a remand for further proceedings to allow the ALJ to correct or explain his position.

Texas District Court Reverses ALJ

October 2, 2015. A claimant with mental impairments was denied benefits. Two state agency examining consultants diagnosed the claimant with depression, and difficulties in maintaining concentration, persistence, and pace. While the ALJ discussed these opinions, he did not explain the weight he gave to them in making a mental RFC determination. We successfully argued that the ALJ failed to explain the weight assigned to the state agency examining consultants’ opinions, and the district court remanded for further proceedings.

North Carolina District Court Reverses ALJ

October 5, 2015. The district court found that the ALJ “did a completely inadequate job of analyzing medical records and explaining her decision[.]” The ALJ found that the claimant only had moderate limitations in concentration, persistence, or pace, despite the medical record being “replete with evidence” of the claimant’s difficulties with concentration. Additionally, the district court found that the ALJ’s analysis of the claimant’s treating doctor’s opinions were “factually incorrect and legally insufficient”.

North Carolina District Court Reverses ALJ

November 3, 2015. The claimant was found to have severe impairments and had moderate limitations in concentration, persistence, and pace, but the ALJ held he could perform light work. A vocational expert testified in the administrative hearing, and was given a hypothetical example of a claimant who could perform unskilled work, with little interaction with others. The vocational expert based his testimony on this hypothetical claimant in concluding that such an individual could perform other jobs; the ALJ used this testimony to come to the same conclusion. The district court reversed, holding that the hypothetical posed to the vocational expert did not account for the ALJ’s findings of limitations in concentration, persistence, and pace.

Louisiana District Court Remands for Further Proceedings

February 26, 2016.  In this case, a claimant with severe back pain required the use of a cane to even walk short distances, however, the ALJ neglected to include the use for a cane in her finding that the claimant could perform a reduced range of sedentary work.  The district court reversed, holding that the ALJ did not consider how the need for a cane would reduce the range of sedentary work further.  The district court went on to undermine the Commissioner’s argument that the vocational expert provided examples of jobs that an individual could perform with a cane, noting that while this may have been true, the ALJ did not rely on that testimony in her ultimate finding, holding that “the Commissioner’s decision ‘must stand or fall within the reasons set forth in the ALJ’s decision”.