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Case Summaries

Osterhout Berger Disability Law > Case Summaries (Page 7)

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...

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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...

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Michigan District Court Reverses ALJ

August 11, 2015. Here, the ALJ denied benefits to a claimant who had significant mental impairments that precluded him from performing skilled work activity. A vocational expert testified as to the type of jobs that were available, but was not asked any questions with regard to the mental limitations that the claimant faced. The District Court reversed, holding that the vocational expert needs to be asked questions that accurately portray both the physical and mental limitations that the claimant faces, and that this testimony is necessary to determine whether there are jobs that still exist for claimants such as the...

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California District Court Reverses ALJ

August 25, 2015. In this case, the ALJ rejected the treating psychiatrist’s opinion for inconsistencies, without much more explanation. The inconsistencies cited were misunderstandings that should have been cleared up in the hearing. The District Court held that the ALJ failed to cite specific and legitimate reasons supported by substantial evidence. The case was remanded for further proceedings....

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Colorado District Court Reverses ALJ

August 17, 2015. A claimant with numerous impairments, including arthritis, was denied benefits in the ALJ hearing. The ALJ rejected the impairment of arthritis because the record lacked a formal diagnosis. We successfully argued that the ALJ did not fully develop the record with regard to all of the claimant’s impairments, namely, arthritis, even after the Social Security Administration’s examining expert stated the record was inadequate and needed to be fully developed. The District Court agreed with our argument, finding that the ALJ failed to properly evaluate all of the evidence and make the necessary inquiries to fully develop the...

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Oklahoma District Court Reverses ALJ

August 31, 2015. Here, the ALJ found that while the claimant suffered from severe impairments, she was still able to perform her former jobs. In making this determination, the ALJ did not take into account the primary reason for the claimant’s work limitations-migraine headaches. The ALJ rarely mentioned the migraines in his decision, and didn’t consider all of the environmental factors in a work environment that would have an impact on the claimant’s ability to find work. The District Court remanded for further proceedings to ensure that the migraines were accounted for in the disability determination....

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Louisiana District Court Reverses ALJ

August 10, 2015. In this case, the claimant suffered from a degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine and cervical spondylosis. The ALJ based his denial of benefits on old medical reports and opinions of non-treating doctors. We argued that the new medical records should be given more weight than the older ones because of the degenerative nature of the claimant’s disease. The District Court agreed, and reversed on the basis that new medical evidence and the opinion of treating physicians should not be ignored....

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Indiana District Court Reverses ALJ

September 1, 2015. Here, we successfully argued that the ALJ incorrectly evaluated the claimant’s credibility. Rarely is an ALJ’s assessment of a claimant’s credibility discounted, however, in this case, the ALJ did not support his reasoning. Even the government failed to defend the ALJ’s credibility determination, and the District Court held that it was “patently wrong”, requiring reversal of his decision....

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Texas District Court Reverses ALJ

August 25, 2015. A claimant who suffered from such severe migraines that he had to miss several days of work on a monthly basis was denied SSI after the ALJ improperly discredited the opinion of his treating neurologist. The neurologist had seen the claimant frequently for over five years, but the ALJ did not consider his opinion when making his decision, nor did he provide an explanation for failing to do so. The District Court held that the ALJ was clearly in error when he gave no explanation, and remanded for further proceedings....

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Wisconsin District Court Reverses ALJ

August 14, 2015. Here, the claimant suffered from mental impairments that prevented her from productive at work, as she would be off-task for a significant portion of the day. The ALJ issued an unfavorable decision stating that the claimant would be able to find suitable positions that allowed her to be off-task 10% of the day, as testified to by the vocational expert (the expert also testified that there are no jobs that would allow an employee to be off-task more than 10% of the day). The ALJ did not explain how he came to this arbitrary and convenient percentage,...

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