Decisions
This section of the Web Site contains opinions selected by individual Judges for posting and is not intended to constitute a complete set of opinions for the district or any Judge. The decisions are organized by categories listed on the lower left portion of this page. If you would like to do a word search of the entire database or individual categories you may do so by clicking on the search button below.


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Jones v. Colvin -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of Title XVI Social Security income benefits. Court found that the ALJ properly developed the record and the ALJ did not fail to fulfill his duty in this request. Court also found the record contained substantial evidence for the ALJ's credibility determination. Court recommended the ALJ's decision be affirmed.10/30/2015Leonard T. Strand
Vega v. Colvin -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of Title XVI Supplemental Security income benefits. Court found the ALJ erred in applying adult criteria when K.I.V. is a child. Court reversed and remanded with instructions for the ALJ to apply the correct "child" criteria.09/10/2015Leonard T. Strand
Howes v. Colvin -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of Title II Social Security disability insurance benefits and Title XVI Supplemental Security income benefits. Court found the ALJ's RFC determination is supported by substantial evidence on the record as a whole and the ALJ properly analyzed the claimant's credibility. Court found the ALJ's failure to ask the VE if his testimony was consistent with the DOT was harmless error that does not require remand. Court recommended the ALJ's decision be affirmed. 08/24/2015Leonard T. Strand
Thedford v. Colvin -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of Title II Social Security disability insurance benefits and Title XVI Supplemental Security income benefits. Court found that the ALJ's RFC determination is supported by substantial evidence on the record as a whole and that the ALJ properly analyzed the claimant's credibility. Court recommended the ALJ's decision be affirmed. 07/30/2015Leonard T. Strand
Crum v. Colvin -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of Title II Social Security disablity insurance benefits and Title XVI Supplemental Security income benefits. Court found the law of the case doctrine did not preclude the ALJ, on remand, from making new findings as to Crum's RFC. Court also found the ALJ properly analyzed evidence that could support inconsistent conclusions and made RFC findings that are within the permissible zone of choice. The Court concluded the ALJ's second RFC determination is supported by substantial evidence on the record as a whole. Court also found the VE identified available positions in the national economy and the VE's testimony concerning both positions is consistent with the DOT. Court recommended the ALJ's decision be affirmed. 07/17/2015Leonard T. Strand
McIntire v. Colvin -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial for Title II Social Security Disabiltiy benefits and Title XVI Supplemental Security income benefits. Court found the ALJ erred in using McIntire's return to work as evidence that she was not disabled without first considering whether she was entitled to a trial work period. Court also found the ALJ failed to properly analyze the psychological consultant's opinion, as directed, on remand. Court found the ALJ did not commit error by failing to take additional steps to develop the record concerning McIntire's employment. Court recommended the ALJ's decision be reversed and remanded for further proceedings. 06/25/2015Leonard T. Strand
Schnee v. Colvin -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of application for Title XVI Supplemental Security income benefits. Court found the ALJ's findings were not inconsistent with regard to Schnee's drug addiction and alcoholism impairment. Court found substantial evidence on the record as a whole supported the ALJ's findings that Schnee was disabled prior to February 17, 2012, and that drug addiction and alcoholism was a contributing factor material to disability. Court found the ALJ properly found that Schnee was no longer disabled after February 17, 2012. Court recommended the ALJ's decision be affirmed.06/25/2015Leonard T. Strand
Ackerman v. Colvin -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of application for Title II Social Security Disability benefits and Title XVI Supplemental Security income benefits. Court found the ALJ gave proper weight to the opinions of a non-treating medical source and a licensed mental health counselor. Court found the ALJ gave sufficient reasons for discounting the opinions. Court also found the Appeals Council properly refused to consider a psychologist's report when the report did not address medical conditions occurring during the relevant time period. Court found substantial evidence supported the ALJ's RFC assessment. Court recommended the ALJ's decision be affirmed. 06/16/2015Leonard T. Strand
Cowles v. Colvin -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of application for Title II Social Security disability insurance benefits. Court found the medical evidence substantially supports the ALJ's decision regarding the severity of Cowles' impairments and that the ALJ pointed to specific portions of the record showing that Cowles' impairment had no more than a minimal effect on her ability to work. Court also found the ALJ provided good reasons, supported by substantial evidence on the record as a whole, for affording little weight to the medical opinions of Cowles' nurse practitioner and examining physical thearpist. Court found substantial evidence supports the ALJ's finding that Cowles has past relevant work as a waitress because she performed that job at the substantial gainful activity level in 1997. Count affirmed ALJ's decision.04/24/2015Leonard T. Strand
Mann v. Colvin -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of application for Title II Social Security disability insurance benefits and Title XVI Supplemental Security income benefits. Court found the ALJ did not impose an "objective evidence" requirement when determining Mann's RFC and there was substantial evidence to support the RFC determination. However, Court found the ALJ failed to address Listing 11.03 when determining whether Mann's severe migraines meet or medically equal the severity of a listed impairment. Court also found the ALJ failed to develop the record fully and fairly, as the record contains no opinion evidence from any treating or examining source as to Mann's RFC. Case reversed and remanded for further proceedings. 04/23/2015Leonard T. Strand
Berry v. Colvin -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of application for Title II Social Security Disability benefits. Court found there was substantial evidence supporting the ALJ's conclusion that Berry's migraine headaches were non-severe. Court also found there was substantial evidence supporting the ALJ's finding that Berry had the RFC to perform light work with no additional limitations for pace and concentration. Court found the ALJ properly considered all impairments and reviewed the record as a whole. Court entered judgment in favor of the Commissioner and against Berry.02/24/2015Leonard T. Strand
Wikstrom v. Colvin -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of application for Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found that the ALJ properly weighed the medical opinion evidence and properly evaluated Wikstrom's credibility. Court found the ALJ's formulation of Wikstrom's RFC was supported by substantial evidence on the record as a whole. Court recommended the ALJ's decision be affirmed.02/23/2015Leonard T. Strand
Gann v. Colvin -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of application for Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found that the ALJ properly determined certain impairments to be non-severe and that the ALJ's formulation of plaintiff's RFC was supported by substantial evidence. Court also found that the ALJ provided good reasons for discounting plaintiff's credibility. Court recommended the ALJ's decision be affirmed.01/30/2015Leonard T. Strand
Katherine Allen v. Carolyn W. Colvin -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of application for Title XVI Supplemental Security Income benefits. Court found ALJ's decision that Allen's asthma was not a severe impairment is supported by substantial evidence on the record as a whole. Court found ALJ's failure to develop a full and fair record was unfair and prejudicial. Court also found ALJ did not provide good reasons for discrediting other medical source opinions or Allen's credibility. Court recommended the ALJ's determination be reversed and remanded for further proceedings. 01/23/2015Leonard T. Strand
Mathies v. Colvin -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of application for Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found ALJ did not provide good reasons for discrediting treating physicians' opinions and failed to provide good reasons for giving great weight to a non-examining source's opinion. Court also found ALJ referenced relevant factors and provided an explanation supported by substantial evidence for discrediting claimant's testimony. Court recommended the ALJ's determination be reversed and remanded for further proceedings.12/09/2014Leonard T. Strand
Kennedy v. Colvin -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of application for Title II Social Security Disability benefits and Title XVI Supplemental Security income benefits. Court found ALJ's assessment of plaintiff Kennedy's credibility was proper and supported by substantial evidence in the record as a whole. Court also found ALJ afforded proper weight to Kennedy's subjective allegations and ALJ's determination that Kennedy was not disabled was supported by substantial evidence in the record. Court entered judgment in favor of the Commissioner and against Kennedy.09/16/2014Leonard T. Strand
Rollefson v. Colvin -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of application for Title II disability insurance benefits and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ's analysis and consideration of Rollefson's credibility, VE's testimony, and vocational evaluation were proper and supported by substantial evidence in the record as a whole. Court affirmed ALJ's decision.09/08/2014Leonard T. Strand
Rozeboom v. Colvin -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of application for Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ did not provide good reasons for discrediting treating therapist's opinion and did not explain how medical evidence supported RFC determination. Court recommended that case be reversed and remanded for further proceedings for the ALJ to either obtain additional medical evidence from claimant's treatng psychiatrist or a consultative examiner or explain how existing medical evidence supports the RFC determination.07/23/2014Leonard T. Strand
Barrows v. Colvin -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of application for Title II disability insurance benefits and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ had appropriately indicated he considered obesity in determining the claimant's RFC and ALJ's evaluation of claimant's mental RFC was supported by substantial evidence. Court found ALJ's evaluation of claimant's physical RFC was not supported by substantial evidence and ALJ had failed to fully and fairly develop the record to support a Step Five determination that claimant could perform other work available in the national economy. Court recommended the case be reversed and remanded for further proceedings.07/01/2014Leonard T. Strand
Gutierrez v. Colvin -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of application for Title II disability insurance benefits and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found new and material evidence from treating physician was not credible and did not require reversal. Court also found ALJ's credibility determination and RFC and hypothetical question to the VE were supported by substantial evidence in the record as a whole. Court recommended the ALJ's decision be affirmed.06/25/2014Leonard T. Strand
Thimmesch v. Colvin -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of application for Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ's analysis of medical opinions, credibility and VE testimony was supported by substantial evidence. However, ALJ erred at Step Three by failing to discuss whether claimant's impairments were medically equal to Listing 12.05C or why this Listing was ignored. Court recommended the case be reversed and remanded for further proceedings.05/27/2014Leonard T. Strand
Kruger v. Colvin -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of application for Title II disability insurance benefits and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ's analysis of claimant's mental impairments was supported by substantial evidence in the record as a whole. However, ALJ did not meet burden at Step Five concerning claimant's physical impairments because there was no medical opinion from a treating or examining source and the medical evidence was insufficient to establish claimant's ability to perform competitive work. Court recommended the case be reversed and remanded for further proceedings.04/21/2014Leonard T. Strand
King v. Colvin -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of application for Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ's analysis of consultative examiners' opinions and treating psychiatrists's notes were supported by substantial evidence as was ALJ's credibility determination. Court found ALJ did not meet burden at Step Five though because there were no medical opinions from a treating or examining source on work-related limitations associated with claimant's physical impairments. Case reversed and remanded for further proceedings.04/04/2014Leonard T. Strand
Walker v. Colvin -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of application for Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ's credibility determination was supported by substantial evidence, but ALJ did not meet burden at Step Five because there was no medical evidence from a treating or examining source on the work-related limitations associated with claimant's severe impairment of recurrent headaches. Court recommended the case be reversed and remanded for further proceedings. 04/03/2014Leonard T. Strand
Murphy v. Colvin -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of application for Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found that substantial evidence supported ALJ's finding that claimant could perform past relevant work and ALJ appropriately considered claimant's receipt of unemployment benefits in evaluating her credibility. Court found ALJ erred, however, by failing to discuss the weight he gave the consultative examiner's opinion and failing to provide good reasons supported by substantial evidence for discrediting the treating physician's opinion. Case reversed and remanded for further proceedings.03/26/2014Leonard T. Strand
DeVary v. Colvin -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of application for Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found that substantial evidence supported ALJ's finding that claimant had RFC to perform sedentary work. Court also found substantial evidence supported ALJ's credibility assessment and Step Five determination that other work existed in the national economy that claimant could perform. ALJ's decision was affirmed.03/19/2014Leonard T. Strand
Bauerly v. Colvin -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of application for Title II disability insurance benefits and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ's evaluation of the medical evidence and claimant's credibiltiy was supported by substantial evidence. Court also found ALJ obtained appropriate testimony from a vocatonal expert on claimant's ability to perform work available in the national economy. Court recommended the ALJ's decision be affirmed.03/11/2014Leonard T. Strand
Niebaum v. Colvin -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of application for Title II disability insurance benefits and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ failed to fully and fairly develop the record by not obtaining medical opinions from an examining source as to claimant's mental and physical work-related limitations. ALJ's credibiltiy determination was also not supported by good reasons or substantial evidence. Court recommended the case be reversed and remanded for further proceedings.03/04/2014Leonard T. Strand
Tennyson v. Colvin -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of application for Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ's evaluation of the treating psychologist's opinion and claimant's credibility was supported by substantial evidence in the record as a whole. Court also found that ALJ's decision remained supported by substantial evidence when considering the new evidence in the record from claimant's nurse practitioner and vocational rehabilitation services.02/10/2014Leonard T. Strand
Ramos v. Colvin -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of application for Title II disability insurance benefits and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found the ALJ properly evaluated the medical opinions and claimant's credibilty. Although the ALJ mistakenly used a more limited RFC in determining if claimant could perform other work in the national economy and referred to a non-treating source as a treating source, the court found these errors did not warrant reversal. Court recommended the ALJ's decision be affirmed.01/29/2014Leonard T. Strand
Kunik v. Colvin -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of application for Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found ALJ failed to consider relevant medical evidence in evaluating claimant's RFC and credibility. Court reversed and remanded the case for further proceedings to allow the ALJ to consider the evidence and additional evidence that had been submitted to the Appeals Council.01/27/2014Leonard T. Strand
Gulick v. Colvin -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of application for Title II disability insurance benefits and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ's weighting of the medical opinions and RFC determination were supported by substantial evidence but Commissioner did not meet burden at Step Five in determining whether claimant could perform work that existed in significant numbers in the national economy. Court recommended the case be reversed and remanded for further proceedings.01/17/2014Leonard T. Strand
Whited v. Colvin -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of application for Title II disability insurance benefits and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ's evaluation of the medical opinions was supported by substantial evidence and the ALJ adequately accounted for all of the claimant's impairments and related limitations in the RFC and hypothetical question to the VE. ALJ's credibility determination was also supported by substantial evidence. Court recommended the ALJ's decision be affirmed.01/09/2014Leonard T. Strand
Figgins v. Colvin -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of application for Title II disability insurance benefits and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ did not err in weighing medical evidence or discrediting claimant's allegations, but the ALJ should have obtained a medical opinion from a treatment source or consultative examiner regarding claimant's work-related limitations. Court recommended remand for the ALJ to obtain this evidence and re-evaluate whether claimant retained the RFC necessary to perform work that exists in the national economy.01/02/2014Leonard T. Strand
Vantuyl v. Colvin -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of application for Title II disability insurance benefits and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ did not err by failing to address all of the limitations identified by the state agency consultants or by failing to discuss certain evidence in evaluating the claimant's credibility. Court found ALJ's decision was supported by substantial evidence in the record as a whole. ALJ's decision was affirmed.11/20/2013Leonard T. Strand
Ditsworth v. Colvin -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of application for Title II disability insurance benefits and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found substantial evidence supported ALJ's analysis of claimant's credibility and the medical opinion evidence. Court also found the ALJ properly applied the Act's definition of disability and asked hypothetical questions that incorporated all of the claimant's proven impairments. ALJ's decision was affirmed. 11/12/2013Leonard T. Strand
Sneller v. Colvin -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of application of Title II disability insurance benefits and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found the ALJ provided good reasons supported by substantial evidence for discrediting the opinions of the treating physician and the claimant's subjective allegations. Court recommended the ALJ's decision be affirmed.11/07/2013Leonard T. Strand
Phalakhone v. Colvin -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of application for Title II disability insurance benefits and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found the ALJ erred by failing to order a new consultative examination after rejecting the first consultative examiner's opinion because she was not an acceptable medical source. The ALJ further erred by drawing his own inferences from the medical evidence when he cited the lack of objective medical evidence as the basis to discredit only the medical opinions identifying a sitting limitation, but found the same evidence sufficient to support other opinions/limitations. Court recommended the case be reversed and remanded for further proceedings.11/04/2013Leonard T. Strand
Al-Hameed v. Colvin -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of application of Title II disability insurance benefits and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ did not provide good reasons for giving no weight to the claimant's treating physician's opinion and failed to obtain a medical opinion addressing the claimant's work-related limitations for her mental impairment. Court recommended the case be reversed and remanded for further proceedings.11/04/2013Leonard T. Strand
Loftis v. Colvin -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of application for Title II disability insurance benefits and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ did not meet burden at Step 5 because there were no medical opinions supporting the claimant's RFC to perform other work available in the national economy. Court reversed and remanded the case for further proceedings to allow the ALJ to attempt to obtain medical opinions.10/16/2013Leonard T. Strand
Kohn v. Colvin -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of application of Title II disability insurance benefits and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found the ALJ provided good reasons for discrediting the claimant and her husband and properly weighed the medical opinions in determining the claimant's RFC. The ALJ appropriately incorporated the limitations from his RFC finding into the hypothetical question to the VE. Court recommended the ALJ's decision be affirmed.09/26/2013Leonard T. Strand
Carter v. Colvin -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of application of Title II disability insurance benefits and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ's evaluation of the medical evidence was supported by substantial evidence in the record as a whole and the hypothetical question submitted to the VE accounted for all of the claimant's credible impairments. Court recommended the ALJ's decision be affirmed.09/26/2013Leonard T. Strand
Hattig v. Colvin -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of application for Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ's decision was not supported by substantial evidence because there was no medical evidence of the claimant's work-related limitations to support the ALJ's finding at Step Five that the claimant could perform other work available in the national economy. Court recommended the case be reversed and remanded for further development of the record.09/16/2013Leonard T. Strand
Henn v. Colvin -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of application for Title II disability insurance benefits and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found the ALJ's analysis of whether the claimant suffered repeated episodes of decompensation and whether substance use was a contributing factor material to a finding of disability were not supported by substantial evidence in the record as a whole. The ALJ also erred in his evaluation of the medical evidence and the credibility of the claimant and third parties. Court recommended remand with instructions to conduct new analyses on these issues.09/05/2013Leonard T. Strand
Lopez v. Colvin -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of application for Title II disability insurance benefits and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ provided good reasons for the weight she gave to the medical opinions in the record and for discrediting claimant's subjective allegations. The VE's testimony based on the ALJ's hypothetical question was also supported by substantial evidence. Court affirmed the ALJ's decision that claimant was not disabled. 08/13/2013Leonard T. Strand
McCormick v. Colvin -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of application for Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found ALJ erred in evaluating the treating physician's opinion and the claimant's credibility. Court recommended the case be reversed and remanded for further consideration and findings.07/26/2013Leonard T. Strand
Simmonds v. Colvin -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of application for Title II disability insurance benefits and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ's credibility determination and hypothetical question to the VE were supported by substantial evidence and affirmed the ALJ's decision that claimant was not disabled. 07/19/2013Leonard T. Strand
Tedford v. Colvin -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of application for Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found ALJ's decision was not supported by substantial evidence because he failed to consider her somatization disorder diagnosis at step two and at step four in conducting his credibility analysis while determining her RFC. Case reversed and remanded for further proceedings. 07/02/2013Leonard T. Strand
Keyser v. Colvin -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of application for Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found ALJ erred by relying heavily on claimant's noncompliance with recommended treatment to discredit her subjective complaints without considering whether noncompliance was related to her mental impairments. Court recommended remand to obtain medical opinion on this issue and reconsider her RFC in light of this evidence and new evidence that had been submitted to the Appeals Council.05/31/2013Leonard T. Strand
Henning v. Colvin -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of application for Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found ALJ erred at step two by failing to conduct a careful evaluation of the medical findings and consider the claimant's subjective complaints in determining whether her skin condition was severe. Court recommended remand with instructions to conduct a new step two analysis, consider whether her skin condition met or equaled a listing at step three and consider the effects of her skin condition both separately and in combination with her mental impairment in determining her RFC at step four. 05/09/2013Leonard T. Strand
Miller v. Colvin -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of application for Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ erred at step two by failing to consider the claimant's subjective allegations and the combination of all his impairments. ALJ also erred at step four by failing to consider both severe and non-severe impairments in determining the claimant's RFC. Case reversed and remanded for further proceedings.05/07/2013Leonard T. Strand
Meyerhoff v. Colvin -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of application for Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ did not obtain additional medical evidence as required by the previous remand order, improperly excluded a previously identified limitation and provided a new RFC that was not supported by substantial evidence. Court recommended the case be reversed and remnded for further proceedings. 05/02/2013Leonard T. Strand
Kinseth v. Colvin -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of application for Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found substantial evidence supported the ALJ's evaluation of the medical opinions and recommended the ALJ's decision be affirmed.04/04/2013Leonard T. Strand
Tomlinson v. Colvin -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of application for Title II disability insurance benefits and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found substantial evidence supported the ALJ's evaluation of the treatiing source opinion and claimant's credibility and recommended the ALJ's decision be affirmed.03/15/2013Leonard T. Strand
Newcomb v. Colvin -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of application for Title II disability insurance benefits and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found substantial evidence supported the ALJ's evaluation of the medical evidence, the credibility analysis, the hypothetical question to the VE, and his ultimate decision that claimant was not disabled.03/06/2013Leonard T. Strand
Comstock v. Astrue -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of application for Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ did not properly evaluate the credibility of the claimant or her husband concerning the severity and limitations of her migraines. Case reversed and remanded for re-evaluation of credibility and further development of the record if necessary.02/14/2013Leonard T. Strand
Kling v. Astrue -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of application for Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ did not properly evaluate treating physician's medical opinion in that she did not give it controlling weight or explain why it was not given controlling weight as required by the regulations. Court recommended the ALJ's decision be reversed and remanded.01/31/2013Leonard T. Strand
Rohwer v. Astrue -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of application for Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found substantial evidence supported the ALJ's decision that claimant's impairment did not meet the listing requirements of Section 12.04. Substantial evidence also supported the limitations provided in the hypothetical question to the vocational expert and the ALJ was entitled to rely on the expert's testimony in concluding the claimant could perform other work and was not disabled.01/09/2013Leonard T. Strand
Jansen v. Astrue -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of application for Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found substantial evidence in the record supported the ALJ's credibility analysis, RFC determination, and the finding that claimant's hearing loss did not meet or equal any of the listed impairments. 01/08/2013Leonard T. Strand
Tracy v. Astrue -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of application for Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found ALJ did not provide "good reasons" for giving the treating physician's opinion less than controlling weight and there was overwhelming evidence that claimant could not lift more than 10 pounds since his alleged onset date. Because claimant could not return to past relevant work and had no transferrable skills under this limitation, the court recommended the ALJ's decision be reversed and remanded.12/28/2012Leonard T. Strand
Sangel v. Astrue -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of application of Title II disability insurance benefits and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ properly evaluated the medical opinions, analyzed claimant's credibility, and concluded claimant could perform other work in the national economy, with findings supported by substantial evidence.12/21/2012Leonard T. Strand
Morrison v. Astrue -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of applications for Title II disability insurance benefits and disabled widow's benefits and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ erred in discrediting treating physician's opinion and claimant's subjective allegations relating to mental disorder based on her efforts to gain employment and an improper inference that her disorder was situational which was not supported by substantial evidence. Case reversed and remanded for calculation and award of benefits.11/28/2012Leonard T. Strand
Kofron v. Astrue -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of application for Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found ALJ properly considered the medical opinions and new medical evidence did not provide a basis for changing the ALJ's decision. Substantial evidence supported the ALJ's credibility analysis, RFC determination, hypothetical question to the VE, and his ultimate decision that claimant was not disabled.10/25/2012Leonard T. Strand
Agan v. Astrue -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of application for Title II disability insurance benefits and Title XVI Supplemental Security Income benefits. Court found ALJ properly determined claimant's credibility and fully developed the record as to claimant's work-related limitations, diabetic peripheral neuropathy, and mental impairments, with findings supported by substantial evidence.10/15/2012Leonard T. Strand
Foster v. Astrue -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of application for Title II disability insurance benefits and Title XVI Supplemental Security Income benefits. Court found ALJ failed to fully develop the record regarding claimant's past work and should have made findings regarding claimant's vocational rehabilitation and whether claimant met criteria under Listing 12.05C. Court recommended remand for further development of the cord. 09/26/2012Leonard T. Strand
Carter v. Astrue -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of application of Title II disability insurance benefits and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found substantial evidence supported the ALJ's decision that claimant was not disabled.08/20/2012Leonard T. Strand
Nicolls v. Astrue -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of applications for Title II disability insurance benefits and Title XVI Supplemental Security Income. Court found substantial evidence supported Commissioner's decision that claimant was not disabled.07/12/2012Leonard T. Strand
Wagner v. Astrue (denying as untimely prevailing plaintiff’s application for attorney fees and expenses under the Equal Access to Justice Act) 06/08/2012Mark W. Bennett
Toye v. Astrue -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of application for supplemental security income. In recommending remand for further proceedings, court found that the ALJ erred in considering the claimant's daily living activities in determining his credibility. 06/01/2012Paul A. Zoss
Miller v. Astrue -- Order remanding under sixth sentence of 42 USC 405(g) for ALJ to consider additional evidence. Court found that good cause existed for not submitting new, material evidence to ALJ that reasonably would have changed ALJ's decision.04/05/2012Paul A. Zoss
Mosley v. Astrue -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of applications for Title II disability insurance benefits and Title XVI Supplemental Security Income. Court reversed Commissioner's decision and remanded for an award of benefits because substantial evidence did not support ALJ's adverse determination of claimant's credibility.03/29/2012Paul A. Zoss
Bell v. Astrue -- Order granting in part plaintiff's motion for remand under sixth sentence of 42 USC 405(g) for ALJ to consider additional evidence attached to plaintiff's motion. Court found that evidence was new and material and that plaintiff showed good cause for not incorporating it in the administrative record.02/10/2012Paul A. Zoss
Rahe v. Astrue -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of application for Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found that ALJ's failure to submit claimant's requested supplemental post-hearing interrogatories to vocational expert denied claimant the opportunity to cross-examine the expert, violating claimant's right to due process.12/14/2011Paul A. Zoss
Higginbottom v. Astrue -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of application for supplemental security income. Court found that physician assistant's opinion submitted to the Appeals Council after the ALJ's decision was new, material evidence warranting consideration by the ALJ pursuant to Social Security Ruling 06-3p. Court further recommended remand for the ALJ to weigh evidence of claimant's GAF scores and to detemrine whether the scores indicated an inability to work. 11/30/2011Paul A. Zoss
Dawdy v. Astrue -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of applications for disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income. In recommending remand for further proceedings, court found that ALJ (1) did not articulate reason to discount evidence of claimant's GAF score that, according to vocational expert, would preclude him from working and (2) did not articulate weight given to the opinion of claimant's treating physician that claimant would miss two days of work per month, which would preclude claimant from competitive employment, according to the vocational expert. 10/25/2011Paul A. Zoss
Swett v. Astrue -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of applications for disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income. Court found that substantial evidence in the record as a whole supported ALJ's assessment of claimant's credibility and residual functional capacity.08/31/2011Paul A. Zoss
Tippie v. Astrue -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of application for Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found substantial evidence supported Commissioner's decision that claimant was not disabled.06/08/2011Paul A. Zoss
Sangel v. Astrue -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of application for Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found substantial evidence supported Commissioner's decision that claimant was not disabled.05/23/2011Paul A. Zoss
Shaver v. Astrue -- Order granting defendant's motion to dismiss under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) and dismissing plaintiff's complaint with prejudice. Court found that the complaint was untimely filed because it was filed more than sixty days after plaintiff presumptively received notice of the Appeals Council's denial of review. Further, circumstances warranting equitable tolling of the sixty-day deadline were absent, and the filing of a civil cover sheet by itself did not constitute the filing of a complaint.05/12/2011Paul A. Zoss
Gustin v. Astrue -- Order granting in part and denying in part motion for attorney fees under EAJA. Plaintiff was a prevailing party, and the Commissioner's position was not substantially justified. Postage related to service of process was reimbursable as an expense under EAJA and not a a cost. Plaintiff's filing fee was taxable as a cost and payable by the Treasury and not by the Social Security Adminsitration.04/19/2011Paul A. Zoss
Clark v. Astrue -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of application for Title II disability benefits. Court found substantial evidence supported the ALJ's decision that claimant was not disabled due to back pain.03/14/2011Paul A. Zoss
Rittenhouse v. Astrue -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of applications for Title II disability insurance benefits and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found substantial evidence supported the ALJ's decision that claimant was not disabled due to rheumatoid arthritis.03/04/2011Paul A. Zoss
Gustin v. Astrue -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of decision denying claimant's applications for Title II disability insurance benefits and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ erred in failing to give controlling weight to opinion of claimant's treating rheumatologist, who opined claimant would e unable to work full-time.02/28/2011Paul A. Zoss
Wagner v. Astrue -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of application for Title II disability insurance benefits. In recommending remand for further proceedings, the Court found ALJ erred in failing to discuss fully her finding that the claimant's condition did not meet Listing 1.04(a), spinal disorders, and in developing the record fully and fairly on the issue of the claimant's gastrointestinal disorder.01/26/2011Paul A. Zoss
Bendlin v. Astrue -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of applications for Title II disability insurance benefits and Title XVI Supplemental Security Income benefits. Court found the record evidence could support two inconsistent conclusions, one of which was the Commissioner's conclusion that claimant was not disabled, and therefore the Commissioner's decision was affirmed.01/21/2011Paul A. Zoss
Cuvelier v. Astrue -- Report and Recommendation on parties' joint motion for sentence four remand. Court found entry of judgment is the 'substantive ruling' required in order to grant a sentence four remand, and recommended the motion be granted without full briefing and review of the entire administrative record.09/14/2010Paul A. Zoss
Lindstrom v. Astrue -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found ALJ erred in failing to comply with previous remand order in connection with his decision that claimant's substance abuse was a material contributing factor in the disability determination.09/01/2010Paul A. Zoss
Burroughs v. Astrue -- Order on motion for sentence four remand. Court found full review of the record is unnecessary to grant joint motion for sentence four remand, as long as the remand order expressly reverses the Commissioner's decision and directs entry of judgment.09/01/2010Paul A. Zoss
Meyerhoff v. Astrue -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of Title XVI Supplemental Security Income benefits. Court found ALJ erred in failing to include all of claimant's limitations in hypothetical question to vocational expert and in the ALJ's RFC determination, and recommended remand to determine claimant's disability onset date and for calculation and award of benefits.07/26/2010Paul A. Zoss
Polson v. Astrue -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of application for Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found substantial evidence supported Commissioner's decision that claimant was not disabled.07/19/2010Paul A. Zoss
Kliment v. Astrue (The court granted Plaintiff’s request for attorney fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2412(d); however, pursuant to the United States Supreme Court’s recent decision in Astrue v. Ratliff, --- S.Ct. ---, 2010 WL 2346547 (2010), the court awarded the fees to the Plaintiff, rather than awarding them directly to Plaintiff’s counsel.)06/15/2010Mark W. Bennett
Hovenga v. Astrue -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of disability insurance and supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ had failed to make a complete and proper credibility analysis and failed to ask clear hypothetical questions, and Appeals Council erred in failing to consider a medical source statement submitted after the ALJ's decision. Case remanded for further development of the record. 06/07/2010Paul A. Zoss
Bloom v. Astrue -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of applications for disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income. Court found substantial evidence in the record supported the ALJ's decision that the claimant was not disabled. 06/02/2010Paul A. Zoss
Kliment v. Astrue (Plaintiff appealed the Commissioner of Social Security’s finding that he was not disabled; Plaintiff claimed that there was not substantial evidence in the record to support the ALJ’s determination at step three, of the familiar five-step analysis, that Kliment did not meet or equal the conditions in Listing 12.05(C) and, specifically, that there is not substantial evidence in the record to support the ALJ’s failure to find a second medically determinable impairment under Listing 12.05(C), that the ALJ failed to pose a hypothetical question to the Vocational Expert witness that clearly presented a set of limitations that mirrored Kliment’s, and that the ALJ failed to determine and communicate a residual functional capacity specific enough to determine if Kliment is disabled; the court found, as did Chief United States Magistrate Judge Paul A. Zoss, that there was not substantial evidence in the record for the ALJ’s decision that Plaintiff was not disabled under Listing 12.05(C) and that the ALJ posed an improper hypothetical question to the VE; however, the court also agreed with Judge Zoss that there was not overwhelming evidence that Plaintiff was disabled under Listing 12.05(C), as Plaintiff had claimed in his objection to Judge Zoss’s Report and Recommendation; the case is remanded for further consideration of whether Plaintiff meets Listing 12.05(C) and for a reassessment of Plaintiff’s residual functional capacity)04/28/2010Mark W. Bennett
Huisman v. Astrue -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found ALJ's residual functional capacity assessment was not supported by the record, and ALJ failed to make a proper credibility analysis. Case remanded for further proceedings.04/21/2010Paul A. Zoss
Evers v. Astrue -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of ALJ's denial of claimant's applications for disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income. Court found ALJ gave appropriate weight to treating physicians' opinions, properly evaluated claimant's Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) scores, was not required to obtain vocational expert testimony, and properly evaluated claimant's credibility.04/20/2010Paul A. Zoss
Havil v. Astrue -- Judicial review of decisions denying plaintiff's applications for disability insurance and supplemental security income benefits under the Social Security Act. After two remands for further proceedings, court found ALJ still had erred in failing to obtain proper vocational expert testimony to support decision that plaintiff was not disabled. Court found vocational expert's testimony was not adequately supported by evidence in the record, and further found the record evidence supported an immediate award of benefits.03/03/2010Paul A. Zoss
Wellenstein v. Astrue ((Plaintiff appealed the Commissioner of Social Security’s finding that he was not disabled; Plaintiff claimed that the ALJ failed to give enough weight to the opinions of certain medical sources, failed to fully and fairly develop the record concerning his physical and mental limitations, and failed to make a proper assessment of his credibility; this court found, as did Chief United States Magistrate Judge Paul A. Zoss, that there was not substantial evidence in the record to support the ALJ’s decision that Plaintiff was not disabled and ordered remand; Judge Zoss had found that the ALJ inadequately assessed the credibility of Plaintiff’s subjective complaints and that further development of the record was appropriate, as did this court; counter to Judge Zoss’s findings, this court found that the ALJ improperly analyzed the weight to be given to certain medical sources and required a reassessment on remand) 02/24/2010Mark W. Bennett
Kliment v. Astrue -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of applications for disability insurance and supplemental security income benefits under the Social Security Act. Court recommended remand for further proceedings, finding the ALJ erred in failing to give proper consideration to opinions of examining psychologists, and in posing an improper hypothetical question to vocational expert.02/23/2010Paul A. Zoss
Wellenstein v. Astrue -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of Title II disability insurance and Title XVI supplement security income benefits. Court found ALJ gave appropriate weight to opinions of claimant's doctor and therapist, but ALJ failed to conduct a complete credibility analysis, making remand appropriate.01/26/2010Paul A. Zoss
Lynch v. Astrue -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of applications for disability insurance and supplemental security income benefits. Court found substantial evidence supported the ALJ's decision that claimant was not disabled, and recommended the Commissioner's decision be affirmed.12/04/2009Paul A. Zoss
Gacke v. Astrue -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of disability insurance benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act. Court found substantial evidence supported the Commissioner's decision that claimant was not disabled due to obesity, or difficulties with concentration, persistence, or pace.09/28/2009Paul A. Zoss
Wensel v. Astrue -- Order on motion of plaintiff's counsel for attorney's fees pursuant to 42 USC 406(b). Court found fee equal to 25% of past-due benefits was excessive under the Gisbrecht factors, and reduced the fee award to approximately 18.6% of the past-due benefits.09/11/2009Paul A. Zoss
Cole v. Astrue -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of application for disability insurance benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act. Court found ALJ misinterpreted the evidence of record, and held the record did not contain substantial evidence to support the Commissioner's decision that the claimant was not disabled due to muscular dystrophy and related symptoms. 09/02/2009Paul A. Zoss
Carver v. Astrue -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of applications for Title II disability insurance and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court reversed Commissioner's decision, finding claimant disabled due to ongoing pain from previously broken ankle; arthritis in lower back, right ankle, and foot; and pain in right ankle, back, and hip.08/07/2009Paul A. Zoss
Matheis v. Astrue -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of applications for Title II disability insurance and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ erred in substituting his own opinions for those of claimant's treating physician, and ALJ based his decision on speculation rather than on the evidence of record. 07/20/2009Paul A. Zoss
Settell v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co.: (claimant’s action against insurer and claim administrator for judicial review of denial of long-term disability benefits under ERISA plan: decision on the merits: claim pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 1132(a)(1)(B) alleging improper denial of benefits, in light of opinions of treating physicians and the insurer’s consulting physicians; claim for imposition of a penalty pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 1132(c) for failure to provide plan documents, including propriety of such a penalty against an insurer that was not the plan administrator)07/14/2009Mark W. Bennett
Vanbogart v. Astrue -- Memorandum Opinion and Order reversing Commissioner's denial of Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found plaintiff's migraine headaches would cause her ot miss three or more days of work per month, rendering her disabled.07/13/2009Paul A. Zoss
Blazek v. Astrue -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found overwhelming evidence supported Commissioner's decision that claimant was not disabled.05/27/2009Paul A. Zoss
Moriarity v. Astrue (Plaintiff appealed the Commissioner of Social Security’s finding that she was not disabled; the Appeals Council had denied she was disabled even though she provided them, but not the ALJ, with a medical report containing opinions from her treating physician. The court applied the framework governing a district court’s reveiew when evidence is provided to the Appeals Council but not the ALJ, as explained in Riley v. Shalala, 18 F.3d 619, 622 (8th Cir. 1994) and remanded the case for further development of the record.) 05/13/2009Mark W. Bennett
Ptikin v. Astrue -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of Title II disabilty insurance benefits. In reversing and remanding for immediate finding of disability, court found the evidence of record uniformly indicated claimant suffered from severe mental impairment due to his schizophrenia, and he could not be expected to engage in any gainful employment.05/06/2009Paul A. Zoss
Fink v. Astrue -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of application for Title II disability benefits. Court found ALJ properly weighed the medical evidence, and substantial evidence supported the Commissioner's decision that the claimant was not disabled.04/17/2009Paul A. Zoss
Kunert v. Astrue -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found that although claimant's condition may have worsened to the point of disability since the expiration of her insured status, the record contained substantial evidence to support the Commissioner's decision that claimant was not disabled due to back pain or mental health problems prior to her date last insured.04/08/2009Paul A. Zoss
Moriarity v. Astrue -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of Title II disability insurance benefits and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found Commissioner erred in failing to give proper consideration and weight to treating psychiatrist's opinion that claimant's bipolar disorder would prevent her from working. 04/07/2009Paul A. Zoss
Maxon v. Astrue -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of applications for Title II disability insurance and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ erred in failing to give proper weight to treating physician's opinion and in posting an inaccurate hypothetical question to the vocational expert. Case remanded for award of benefits from onset date to date of plaintiff's back surgery, and for further development of the record regarding plaintiff's impairments following her surgery. 03/27/2009Paul A. Zoss
Volkert v. Astrue -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found ALJ failed to develop the record fully and fairly with regard to claimant's mental impairments, and remanded case for further proceedings. 03/23/2009Paul A. Zoss
Miller v. Astrue -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on review of decision denying plaintiff's application for Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found substantial evidence supported the Commissioner's decision that Miller was not disabled. 03/23/2009Paul A. Zoss
Rohde v. Astrue -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of application for Title II disability benefits. In affirming the Commissioner's denial of benefits, Court found claimant's subjective complaints of disabling back and leg pain were inconsistent with the record as a whole.03/12/2009Paul A. Zoss
Jayson Johnson v. Astrue -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of applications for disability insurance and supplemental security insurance benefits. Court affirmed Commissioner's decision that substance abuse is a material factor in the plaintiff's disability. 02/24/2009Paul A. Zoss
Pearson v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co. -- R&R; ERISA, Accidental Death Benefits01/06/2009Jon Stuart Scoles
Lindstrom v. Astrue (Plaintiff’s Application for Attorney Fees Under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA); the court awarded EAJA fees directly to the prevailing party’s attorney pursuant to the recent Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals holding in Ratliff v. Astrue, 540 F.3d 800 (8th Cir. 2008) (holding that “EAJA attorneys’ fees are awarded to prevailing parties’ attorneys.”)) 01/05/2009Mark W. Bennett
Franks v. Astrue -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found ALJ erred in discounting claimant's subjective complaints, where claimant failed to seek medical treatment for many years due to doctors' advice that her condition, an ateriovenous malformation, was untreatable.12/15/2008Paul A. Zoss
Gray v. Astrue -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of application for Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found ALJ and Appeals Council erred in giving insufficient weight to opinions of treating physician and nurse practitioner regarding claimant's limitations.11/20/2008Paul A. Zoss
Lwis v. Astrue - Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of application for Title II disability benefits. Court found claimant failed to provide adequate evidence that she was disabled prior to her date last insured of December 31, 1997.11/07/2008Paul A. Zoss
Malmquist v. Astrue -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of Title II disability insurance and Title XVI Supplemental Security income benefits. Court found ALJ erred in finding substance abuse was a material factor contributing to claimant's disability, but further found the record evidence was insufficient with regard to claimant's mental abilities to support the Commissioner's decision.11/06/2008Paul A. Zoss
Combs v. Astrue - Order denying motion for supplemental attorney's fees for services performed at the administrative level. Court held administrative fees are determinable only by the agency, not by the courts.10/16/2008Paul A. Zoss
Joran v. Astrue - Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of Title II disability insurance and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ failed to give proper weight to treating physician's opinions, and vocational expert's response to hypothetical question that did not include limitations suggested by treating physician could not support denial of benefits. Case reversed and remanded for further proceedings.10/15/2008Paul A. Zoss
Glawatz v. Astrue -- Order granting plaintiff's motion to remand for consideration of further evidence pursuant to sentence six of 42 USC 405(g).08/21/2008Paul A. Zoss
Jensen v. Astrue - Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of applications for Title II disability insurance and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Taking into account medical records that were presented to Appeals Council, but were not before the ALJ at the time of his decision, court found claimant disabled due to mental impairments, but further found claimant failed to show his disability began prior to expiration of his insured status for Title II purposes. 07/30/2008Paul A. Zoss
Erickson v. Astrue -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review from denial of Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ erred in failing to give proper weight to opinions of treating physician, and in failing to appreciate the debilitating effects of fibromyalgia.07/16/2008Paul A. Zoss
Handke ex rel. Estate of Davis v. Astrue - Order on motion for attorney's fees and costs under Equal Access to Justice Act and 42 USC 406(b)05/16/2008Paul A. Zoss
Nissen v. Astrue -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of applications for Title II disability insurance and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ correctly weighed the medical evidence in assessing claimant's residual functional capacity and finding claiant was not disabled.05/09/2008Paul A. Zoss
Sorenson v. Astrue -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of application for Title II disability insurance benefits. In recommending remand for immediate payment of benefits, court found ALJ erred in weighing the medical evidence, assessing claimant's residual functional capacity, evaluating claimant's crediblity, and posing an incomplete hypothetical question to the vocational expert.03/17/2008Paul A. Zoss
Closson v. Astrue (Claimant sought judicial review of Commissioner's denial of Title II and Title XVI benefits; Commissioner objected to Magistrate Judge's recommendation that testimony of vocational expert conflicted with the information in the dictionary of occupational titles; analyzes Social Security Ruling SSR 00-4p) 02/21/2008Mark W. Bennett
Risdal v. Astrue -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of Title II disability insurance and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found claimant was not eligible for SSI benefits because he was a resident of a public institution, and he was not eligible for DI benefits because he lacked the requisite number of quarters of eligibility.02/20/2008Paul A. Zoss
Wensel v. Astrue -- Memorandum Opinion and Order reversing Commissioner's decision denying plaintiff's application for Title II disability benefits. Court found ALJ erred in weighing the opinion of claimant's treating physician regarding claimant's functional limitations, and in finding claimant's subjective complaints of disabling pain not to be credible.02/20/2008Paul A. Zoss
Bowers v. Astrue (Plaintiff Tamela Bowers sought review of agency decision denying her benefits; magistrate recommended reversing for a finding of a closed period of disability, and remanding for a determination of whether Bowers was entitled to a continual period of disability; Bowers filed objection arguing she was entitled to a continual period of disability; standards for reviewing the agency's determination, magistrate's recommendation, and plaintiff's objection; and standard for assessing whether court can reverse agency for a finding of disability on appeal). 01/24/2008Mark W. Bennett
Roger Walters vs. Purdential Insurance Company of America (Report and Recommendation--ERISA--long-term disability benefits)11/30/2007Jon Stuart Scoles
Wurth v. Astrue -- Report and Recommendation on defendant's motion to dismiss. Court recommended motion be granted, finding case was not timely filed within sixty days after notice of decision was mailed to plaintiff's correct address, despite the fact that the notice was not received by his attorney until a month later due to an incorrect address for the attorney.11/19/2007Paul A. Zoss
Murray v. Astrue -- Report and Recommendation on appeal from denial of Title II disability insurance benefits. Issue concerned application of 20 CRF 404.1574a(a) & (c). Count fond claimant's earnings had not changed significantly as found by the ALJ, and recommended the decision be reversed.11/19/2007Paul A. Zoss
Frazier ex rel. McDonald v. Astrue -- Order reversing Commissioner's decision denying application for supplemental security income benefits on behalf of minor child. Court found record evidence proved minor child had at least marked limitation in four functional areas, and his impairments were equal or functionally equivalent to a listed impairment.09/28/2007Paul A. Zoss
McKee v. Astrue -- Order reversing Commissioner's decision denying claimant's application for disability insurance and supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ erred in assessing claimant's residual functional capacity and in giving greater weight to non-examining physician's opinion than he gave to opinions of two examining physicians and one treating physician. Court amended claimant's disaiblity onset date, holding claimant could not be found disabled for period when she was receiving unemployment compensation.09/27/2007Paul A. Zoss
Earl Harrison and Mariam P. Harrison vs. Rockwell Collins, Inc., Aetna Life Insurance Comany, and Rockwell Collins Employee Health Plan Number 700 (denial of benefits for hospital bills)09/25/2007Jon Stuart Scoles
Combs v. Astrue -- In reversing Commissioner's denial of Title II disability insurance benefits, court found ALJ erred in rejecting opinions of claimant's treating physicians, presenting inaccurate hypothetical questions to vocational expert, assessing claimant's residual functional capacity, failing to develop the record fully and fairly, and failing to consider dosage, side effects, and effectiveness of claimant's medications.09/20/2007Paul A. Zoss
Combs v. Astrue -- Supplemental Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of Title II disability insurance and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ erred in giving improper weight to opinion of records-review physician, which differed from opinions of examining and treating physicians; in relying on hypothetical question that failed to include all of claimant's impairments as supported by the record evidence; and in assessing claimant's credibility. 09/04/2007Paul A. Zoss
Klepper v. Astrue -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of Title XVI Supplemental Security Income and Title II disability income benefits. Court found ALJ erred in failing to develop the record adequately as to claimant's mental impairment. Court further found substantial evidence established claimant's disability.08/22/2007Paul A. Zoss
Heimlicher v. Steele, et al. -- Order on motions for summary judgment. Court found Iowa law is well settled that a wrongful death action cannot lie for an unborn fetus, and declined to certify question to Iowa Supreme Court. Court also held doctor's certification that patient was stabilized prior to transfer did not obviate EMTALA liability as a matter of law. Whether patient actually was stabilized prior to transfer, and whether doctor adequately deliberated and weighed medical risks and benefits of transfer, were questions for the jury.08/17/2007Paul A. Zoss
Hunter v. Astrue -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court recommended reversal for calculation and payment of benefits, finding ALJ erred in ruling claimant's substance abuse disorder was a contributing factor material to her disability.06/05/2007Paul A. Zoss
Blum v. Astrue -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found ALJ failed to include all of claimant's limitations in RFC assessment and in hpothetical questions to vocational expert, and failed to obtain clarification from claimant's long-time treating physician regarding work-related limitations. Court recommended remand for further development of the record and consideration of new evidence.05/22/2007Paul A. Zoss
Brinkmann v. Astrue -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of Title II disability insurance and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ erred in ignoring claimant's amended disability onset date, and in speculating about claimant's credibility based on past behavior before claimant got sober. Court recommended remand for further proceedings.05/09/2007Paul A. Zoss
Chapman v. Astrue - Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of SSI benefits. Court found claimant's limitations due to chronic back pain, side effects from pain medications, and need to change position frequently precluded her from gainful employment. In recommending reversal and remand for payment of benefits, court concluded ALJ erred in failing to give controlling weight to treating physicain's opinion, and in assessing claimant's residual functional capacity.04/12/2007Paul A. Zoss
Beck v. Astrue - In affirming Commissioner's decision denying claimant's appliccations for SSI and disability insurance benefits, court found ALJ's credibility assessment and determination of claimant's residual functional capacity were supported by substantial evidence.02/16/2007Paul A. Zoss
Combs v. McMahon -- Report and recommendation that court grant Commissioner's motion for entry of final judgment, and reversal and remand for further proceedings, pursuant to sentence four of 42 USC 402(g).01/22/2007Paul A. Zoss
Crandall v. Barnhart -- Order denying defendant's motion to amend/correct judgment.01/11/2007Paul A. Zoss
Crandall v. Barnhart -- Order on judicial review from denial of Title XVI Supplemental Security Income benefits. Court found ALJ did not err in finding claimant's mental impairments not to be severe, but further found ALJ erred in failing to obtain updated evaluation of claimant's physical impairments and in assessing claimant's residual functional capacity. Court remanded case for calculation and award of benefits, but found disability onset date to be later than claimant alleged.12/15/2006Paul A. Zoss
Thompson v. Barnhart -- Order on judicial review of denial of Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found ALJ's decision was not supported by substantial evidence in the record and reversed decision, but from a later disability onset date than claimant had alleged. 12/06/2006Paul A. Zoss
Vasquez v. Barnhart -- Order granting untimely motion for attorney fees under EAJA. Court held that because thirty day filing requirement is not jurisdictional, it may be waived by the Government, which expressly did not object and asked court to grant claimant's motion for fees.11/08/2006Paul A. Zoss
Balstad v. Barnhart -- Order reversing Commissioner's decision to deny claimant Title II Disability Insurance and Title XIV Supplemental Security Income benefits. Court found ALJ improperly weighed the medical evidence, discredited the claimant's subjective complaints, and discounted the opinion of the claimant's treating physician.11/01/2006Paul A. Zoss
Lundgren v. Barnhart -- Report and recommendation on judicial review of denial of Title II disability insurance benefits. Claimant alleged disability due to fibromyalgia and other causes. In recommending reversal for payment of benefits, court found ALJ erred in discounting treating physician's opinion that claimant would be unable to work; in relying on consulting medical opinions based on outdated information; and in failing to give due consideration to third-party statements.09/29/2006Paul A. Zoss
Choma v. Barnhart -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court affirmed Commissioner's decision, finding substantial evidence existed to support ALJ's consideration of claimant's mental impairments under the regulatory Listings; ALJ gave proper weight to opinions of treating physician and therapist; and hypothetical question to vocational expert accurately reflected claimant's mental residual functional capacity, as determined by the ALJ. 09/28/2006Paul A. Zoss
Almanza v. Barnhart -- Report and recommendation on judicial review of Title II disability insurance and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. In recommending reversal and remand for further proceedings, court found ALJ erred in failing to give proper weight to opinions of nurse practitioner, failing to consider effects of claimant's obesity on her musculoskeletal complaints, and posing an inaccurate hypothetical question to the vocational expert. 09/11/2006Paul A. Zoss
Coleman v. Barnhart -- Memorandum opinion and order on judicial review of denial of Title II disability insurance benefits. In extremely close cases, court must affirm Commissioner's decision to deny benefits, rather than re-weighing the evidence de novo. Court found substantial evidence supported Commissioner's decision and affirmed denial of benefits.07/25/2006Paul A. Zoss
Palmer v. Barnhart -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of Title II disability insurance and title SVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ failed to give proper weight to opinion of treating physician in finding claimant not to be disabled. Court recommended reversal and remand for payment of benefits. 06/09/2006Paul A. Zoss
Mankle v. Barnhart -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review of denial of Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found ALJ correctly discounted treating physician's opinion letter, determined claimant's residual functional capacity, and found claimant's subjective complaints to be less than fully credible. Commissioner's decision affirmed.06/01/2006Paul A. Zoss
Kuhn v. Barnhart -- Report and recommendation on judicial review of denial of applications for Title II disability insurance benefits and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. In recommending remand for payment of benefits, count found commissioner gave too much weight to work assessment that predated disability onset date, and failed to give appropriate weight to opinion of examining consultative doctor. 05/22/2006Paul A. Zoss
Netten v. Barnhart -- Report and recommendation on judicial review of denial of Title II disability insurance benefits. ALJ found claimant was engaged in substantial gainful activity, and thus ALJ stopped evaluation of claim at step one of the sequential evaluation process. Court found record did not contain substantial evidence to support ALJ's decision, and recommended remand for further developmnet of the record and further consideration of claim through the sequential evaluation process. 05/12/2006Paul A. Zoss
Schroder v. Barnhart -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on judicial review from denial of Title II disability benefits. Court found record did not contain substantial evidence to support Commissioner's decision that claimant, who suffers from severe scoliosis, asthma, arthritis, and other impairments, was not disabled prior to date last insured. Case reversed and remanded for calculation and award of benefits.05/11/2006Paul A. Zoss
Clark v. Barnhart -- Memorandum, Opinion, and Order on judicial review of denial of Title II disability insurance and Title XVI Supplemental Security Income benefits. Court found ALJ erred in failing to consider impact of claimant's obesity on his residual functional capacity, and in failing to give proper weight to opinions of physician's assistant and Goodwill evaluator as "other sources" regarding severity of claimant's impairments. Case reversed and remanded for further proceedings. 05/09/2006Paul A. Zoss
Kennaway v. Barnhart -- Memorandum Opinion and Order affirming Commissioner's decision to deny SSI and DI benefits claiming disability on the basis of a back injury and Charcot-Marie Tooth Disease.05/02/2006Paul A. Zoss
Gettner v. Barnhart -- Report and recommendation on judicial review of denial of Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Commissioner acknowledged ALJ erred in certain respects in sequential evaluation process, and requested remand for further proceedings. Court found record contained substantial evidence to prove claimant was disabled due to seizures, migraine headaches, and mental illness, and recommended reversal and remand for calculation and award of benefits. 05/02/2006Paul A. Zoss
Loehr v. Barnhart -- Report and Recommendation on judicial review of denial of Title II disability insurance and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ failed to develop the record or discuss adequately claimant's allegation that he is unable to sit upright or bend forward without suffering disabling symptoms, and further failed to develop the record adequately regarding the extent to which claimant's mental impairment would affect his ability to function in the workplace. Court recommended reversal and remand for further proceedings.04/20/2006Paul A. Zoss
Higgins v. Barnhart -- Report and recommendation on judicial review of denial of Title II disability insurance and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ erred in failing to obtain vocational expert's testimony or to develop other evidence of record with regard to impact of claimant's severe mental impairment on his functional capacity. Court recommended remand for further development of the record. 03/29/2006Paul A. Zoss
Ulicki v. Barnhart -- Report and recommendation on judicial review of denial of Title II disability insurance and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ did not err in failing to ask medical sources for specific statements regarding claimant's functional capacity when evidence clearly shows impairments are non-disabling.03/15/2006Paul A. Zoss
Clark v. Barnhart -- Report and recommendation on judicial review of denial of Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ failed to develop the record fully and fairly with regard to claimant's functional limitations, and as a result, ALJ's assessment of claimant's residual functional capacity was erroneous. Court recommended remand for new hearing.03/10/2006Paul A. Zoss
Schneiders v. Barnhart -- Report and recommendation on judicial review of denial of Title II disability insurance and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ's misstatement of claimant's environmental limitations in hypothetical question to vocational expert was harmless error; ALJ made proper credibility analysis; and record contained substantial evidence to support Commissioner's decision that claimant was not disabled.03/07/2006Paul A. Zoss
Offield v. Barnhart -- Report and recommendation on review of denial of Title II disability insurance and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found record did not contain adequate evidence of claimant's ability to work in light of mental limitations, and therefore did not contain substantial evidence to support Commissioner's decision that claimant was not disabled. Court recommended remand for further development of the record. 03/03/2006Paul A. Zoss
Claussen v. Barnhart -- Report and recommendation that Commissioner's decision be affirmed on appeal from denial of Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found record contained substantial evidence to support ALJ's decision that claimant failed to show she became disabled prior to her date last insured.03/02/2006Paul A. Zoss
Hamann v. Barnhart -- Report and recommendation on appeal from denial of Title II disability insurance benefits. After ALJ issused decision favorable to claimant, ALJ received income records indicating claimant had worked somewhat longer than originally had been apparent. ALJ issued revised opinion with newly-determined disability onset date, and found that due to waiting period and claimant's pending retirement age, claimant was not entitled to benefits. Court found ALJ's revised determination of disability onset date was arbitrary and erroneous, and recommended reversal and remand for calculation and award of benefits based on revised disability onset date.03/01/2006Paul A. Zoss
Quee v. Barnhart -- Report and recommendation on appeal from denial of Title II disability insurance and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ erred in failing to consider claimant's ability to work during one-year period while she was recovering from multiple shoulder surgeries while managing her other medical complaints. However, court found ALJ properly discounted treating orthopedist's assessment of claimant's residual functional capacity, and therefore ALJ presented proper hypothetical question to vocational expert. Recommendation that Commissioner's decision be affirmed in part and reversed in part. 02/15/2006Paul A. Zoss
Bailey v. Barnhart -- Amended Report and Recommendation on appeal from denial of Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found ALJ properly rejected opinions of consulting psychologist; gave proper weight to opinion of claimant's treating physician; and properly applied Medical-Vocational Guidelines in finding claimant was not disabled.01/23/2006Paul A. Zoss
Bailey v. Barnhart -- Report and recommendation on appeal from denial of Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found ALJ properly rejected opinions of consulting psychologist; gave proper weight to opinion of claimant's treating physician; and properly applied Medical-Vocational Guidelines in finding claimant was not disabled.01/23/2006Paul A. Zoss
Fuhrman v. Barnhart -- Report and recommendation on appeal from denial of Title II disability insurance and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Plaintiff alleged disability on basis of Chiari Malformation type I, which caused her headaches, vertigo, and other symptoms. Court found substantial evidence in record supported Commissioner's decision that plaintiff's complaints were not fully credible, and recommended Commissioner's decision denying benefits be affirmed.01/06/2006Paul A. Zoss
Hicok v. Barnhart. Report and Recommendation on appeal from denial of Title II disability insurance and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ improperly discounted opinions of claimant's treatment physicians and vocational rehabilitation evaluators that claimant was unable to work due to fibromyalgia and other medical problems. Court recommended Commissioner's decision be reversed, and case be remanded for payment of benefits. 12/29/2005Paul A. Zoss
Bell v. Barnhart - Report and recommendation on appeal from denial of Title II disability insurance benefits. Claimant alleged disability due to diabetes, hypertension, and heart condition. Court concurred in Commissioner's decision that claimant was able to return to his past work, and recommended Commissioner's decision be affirmed.12/05/2005Paul A. Zoss
Fair v. Barnhart -- Report and recommendation on appeal from denial of Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found ALJ failed to recognize debilitating nature of fibromyalgia per Eighth Circuit case law, and improperly disregarded claimant's subjective complaints of pain and limitations. Court recommended reversal and remand for calculation and award of benefits.11/09/2005Paul A. Zoss
Talkington v. Barnhart -- Memorandum Opinion and Order on appeal from denial of Title II disability insurance and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ erred in making inferences from medical records regarding the impact of claimant's mental impairments on her ability to work. Commissioner's decision reversed and case remanded for further development of the record.09/20/2005Paul A. Zoss
O'Brien v. Barnhart -- Report and recommendation on appeal from denial of Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court recommended Commissioner's decision be affirmed, finding no error in ALJ's failure to consider State's determination that claimant qualified for certain state benefits, and otherwise finding record contained substantial evidence to support Commissioner's decision.09/06/2005Paul A. Zoss
Berg v. Barnhart - Report and recommendation on appeal from denial of Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found claimant failed to show she was disabled prior to her date last insured, and recommended Commissioner's decision be affirmed.08/23/2005Paul A. Zoss
Shaw v. Barnhart -- Report and recommendation on appeal from denial of Social Security benefits. Court found record lacked sufficient evidence to determine whether claimant was disabled on the basis of a mental impairment, and recommended remand for further proceedings.08/04/2005Paul A. Zoss
Hedinger v. Barnhart -- Report and Recommendation on appeal from denial of Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found record contained substantial evidence to support Commissioner's denial of benefits, and recommended Commissioner's decision be affirmed.07/20/2005Paul A. Zoss
Strang v. Barnhart -- Report and recommendation on appeal from denial of Social Security disability benefits. Court found record contained evidence to support both the claimant's position and the Commissioner's decision. Therefore, due to deferential standard of review, court recommended Commissioner's decision be affirmed.06/23/2005Paul A. Zoss
Newkirk v. Barnhart (Report and recommendation on appeal from denial of applications for Title II disability insurance and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Plaintiff alleged disability on the basis of chronic depression. Court found ALJ erred in discounting opinions of plaintiff's mental health treatment team, and recommended reversal and remand for award of benefits.)04/28/2005Paul A. Zoss
Powell v. Barnhart (Memorandum Opinion and Order affirming Commissioner of Social Security's denial of benefits to plaintiff as a disabled adult child.)04/26/2005Paul A. Zoss
Kroll v. Barnhart (Report and recommendation on appeal from denial of Title II disability insurance and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ erred in failing to evaluate the claimant's mental capacity under Listing 12.05, and in failing to evaluate properly the claimant's physical capacity and his credibility. Court recommended remand for further proceedings.)04/06/2005Paul A. Zoss
Coan v. Barnhart (Report and recommendation on appeal from denial of Title II disability benefits and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Plaintiff alleged disability on the basis of chronic back pain. ALJ found plaintiff could return to her past relevant work, and stopped with step four of sequential evaluation process. Court found plaintiff could not return to her past relevant work up to a point, and ALJ should have proceeded with step five of evaluation. In addition, court recommended remand for further proceedings because the record contained no evidence whatsoever of plaintiff's condition or treatment for nearly two years prior to the ALJ's decision.)04/01/2005Paul A. Zoss
Krowiorz v. Barnhart (Report and recommendation on appeal from denial of Title II disability insurance and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ erred in finding plaintiff could return to her past relevant work, in failing to present hypothetical question to Vocational Expert that included all of plaintiff's impairments, and in failing to make a determination as to whether narcotic addition was contributing factor material to determination of disability. Court recommended reversal and remand for further proceedings.)03/30/2005Paul A. Zoss
Wilberding v. Barnhart (Report and recommendation on defendant's motion for remand pursuant to sentence four of 42 USC 405(g). Court recommended motion be granted and case be remanded due to ALJ's failure to obtain and consider subsequent claim file, as ordered by the court upon prior remand.)03/23/2005Paul A. Zoss
Clay v. Barnhart (Report and Recommendation on appeal from denial of Title II disability insurance and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court recommended affirming Commissioner's decision that claimant with amputated lower left leg retained capacity to work.)02/04/2005Paul A. Zoss
Hayes v. Barnhart (Report and Recommendation on appeal from denial of Title II disability insurance and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ failed to follow directions of Appeals Council to take claimant's obesity into account in assessing his residual functional capacity and in determining he could work. Court further found ALJ improperly implied claimant should have been able to lose weight, and relied on that conclusion in finding claimant was not disabled. Court recommended remand for calculation and payment of benefits.)01/21/2005Paul A. Zoss
Knudsen v. Jo Anne B. Barnhart, Commissioner of Social Security (Social Security Equal Access to Justice Act (“EAJA”) fee calculation): objections by the commissioner as to method used by plaintiff to calculate attorney’s hourly rate; court provides computation method of hourly rate; rates are to be adjusted according to the year the service was performed; court requires itemization of hours and block billing does not conform to the local rules to provide a description of services provided; prejudgment interest is precluded; attorney must provide documentation to support an award of an hourly rate greater than that established by statute; court finds the appropriate CPI to use is the CPI tied to the area where the service was performed and the court will use the Midwest Urban CPI available through www.bls.gov website)12/23/2004Mark W. Bennett
Womack v. Barnhart (Report and Recommendation on appeal from denial of Title II disability insurance and Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ erred in failing to take plaintiff's extreme obesity into account in assessing plaintiff's credibility and determining her residual functional capacity. Court recommended case be remanded with instructions for further consideration.)12/22/2004Paul A. Zoss
Mernka v. Barnhart (Report and Recommendation on appeal from denial of Title II disability insurance benefits. Plaintiff claimed disability due to Hepatitis C, scleritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and depression. Court found ALJ erred in concluding testimony of claimant and her husband was not credible, and in failing to give proper weight to the opinions of claimant's treatment physicians. Court recommended Commissioner's motion for sentence four remand be granted, to allow further evaluation of whether claimant met criteria of Listing 14.09D (inflammatory arthritis).12/03/2004Paul A. Zoss
Friedel v. Barnhart (Report and Recommendation on appeal from denial of Title XVI supplemental security income and Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found claimant's shortness of breath upon exertion did not prevent him from performing sedentary work, and recommended Commissioner's decision be affirmed.)10/27/2004Paul A. Zoss
O'Connor v. Barnhart09/28/2004Mark W. Bennett
McInnis v. Barnhart (Social Security; overpayment of benefits, Commissioner’s objection to report and recommendation recommending judgment finding claimant was “without fault” in receiving overpayment of benefits: the ALJ did not err in finding the claimant was “not without fault” in receiving overpayment of benefits when claimant testified that he had met with SSA representative, knew there was a monthly earning limitation, knew he was going over the monthly earning limitation, and knew that his benefits were at jeopardy because he was earning over the monthly limitation, yet continued to receive benefits; claimant received notice by mail and through discussion with SSA representative that he was required to report earnings that might impact his benefits; ALJ properly evaluated the record and concluded that the claimant should have known or understood that he was required to report earnings that might affect his benefits; claimant accepted payment of benefits that he knew or could have been expected to know was incorrect; report and recommendation rejected.)09/27/2004Mark W. Bennett
Havill v. Barnhart (Memorandum Opinion and Order on appeal from denial of SSI and DI benefits, and on Commisioner's motion for sentence four remand. Court found ALJ's credibility assessment and determination of claimant's residual functional capacity were supported by substantial evidence in the record. However, court found error in ALJ's reliance on testimony of Vocational Expert, where jobs cited by VE required frequent handling, and claimant's RFC included only occasional handling with left upper extremity. Commissioner's motion for sentence four remand greanted; Commissioner's decision reversed.)09/17/2004Paul A. Zoss
Engling v. Barnhart (Social Security; Commissioner’s objections to report and recommendation recommending judgment enter in favor of claimant: the ALJ erred in not giving more weight to counselor’s opinion when counselor treated claimant over period of time and was consistent with the record, versus the opinion of one time consultative examining psychologist; ALJ’s credibility analysis was in error because evidence did not supported a finding that claimant was not credible; evidence supported a finding that claimant suffered from a mental impairment and would be unable to sustain gainful employment)09/08/2004Mark W. Bennett
O'Connor v. Barnhart (Report and recommendation on appeal from denial of Title XVI supplemental security income and Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found ALJ erred in determining plaintiff retained residual functional capacity to work, failing to evaluate all of the evidence, and failing to perform a proper Polaski analysis in determining plaintiff's subjective complaints were not credible. Court recommended reversal and remand for calculation and award of benefits; however, court determined plaintiff's disability onset date was later than she claimed because she had been engaged in substantial gainful activity for a period of time following her alleged onset date.)08/20/2004Paul A. Zoss
Stewart v. Barnhart, Comm. of Social Security (Social Security; Claimant’s objections to report and recommendation recommending a remand for further development of the record: ALJ failed to conduct a proper credibility analysis, failed to follow the recommendations of disability service examiners to obtain additional tests, failed to obtain treating physician’s opinion, and failed to pose a hypothetical question to the vocational expert that accurately included all of claimant’s limitations; discussion of other work, past relevant work and unsuccessful work attempt; case remanded for further development of the record and with direction to reconsider the evidence and make a proper evaluation of claimant’s limitations in accordance with the regulations).08/02/2004Mark W. Bennett
Berg v. Barnhart, Comm. of Social Security (Commissioner’s objections to report and recommendation recommending judgment enter in favor of claimant: the ALJ did not err in discounting claimant’s allegations as to the level and severity claimed regarding his asthma and allergies, as his description of his daily activities, lack of documented attacks requiring medical or emergency intervention and medical regime were inconsistent with the allegations; ALJ properly evaluated the medical evidence in the case; hypothetical question posted to the vocational expert included limitations the ALJ found credible; and medical record was sufficient for ALJ to make a determination.) 08/02/2004Mark W. Bennett
Muckey v. Barnhart (Report and recommendation on appeal from denial of Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found substantial evidence existed to support Commissioner's decision that claimant, who was working at temporary full-time job at time of ALJ hearing, was not disabled.)08/02/2004Paul A. Zoss
Raven v. Barnhart (Report and recommendation on appeal from denial of Title XVI supplemental security income and Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found ALJ failed to give proper weight to opinions of plaintiff's treating physician, and two other consulting physicians who actually examined plaintiff, and gave improper weight to opinions of non-examining, non-treating consultants whose opinions were based solely on records review. Court found ALJ erred in finding alcoholism to be contributing factor to a finding of disability during the relevant time period, and recommended Commissioner's decision be reversed.)07/26/2004Paul A. Zoss
Durham v. Barnhart (Memorandum Opinion & Order on appeal from denial of retirement insurance benefits. Plaintiff was found to be disabled in 1983, although she did not qualify for disability insurance benefits because she lacked the requisite number of quarters of coverage. The issue here is whether the years from and after she was found to be disabled are excludable as a "period of disability" for purposes of determining her eligibility for retirement insurance benefits. Held: Although the statute is not a model of clarity, the court defers to the Commissioner's interpretation of the statute. Thus, Plaintiff is not entitled to benefits because she lacks the requisite number of quarters of coverage.)07/15/2004Paul A. Zoss
Quist v. Barnhart (Report and Recommendation on appeal from denial of Title XVI supplemental security income and Title II disability insurance benefits. Plaintiff claimed disability due to back pain, seizures, and headaches. ALJ found the evidence of record did not support the plaintiff's testimony that he was unable to perform any type of work. Court found substantial evidence existed in the record to support the ALJ's credibility determination, and recommended the Commissioner's decision to deny benefits be affirmed.)06/16/2004Paul A. Zoss
Saenz v. Barnhart (Social Security; adoption of report and recommendation finding ALJ failed to properly conduct Polaski analysis; discussion of “acceptable medical source” opinion, “other medical source” opinion and “treating source” opinion; finding ALJ failed to properly consider “other medical source” opinion and requiring on remand consideration of the factors enumerated and defined by the regulations)06/02/2004Mark W. Bennett
Engling v. Barnhart (Report and Recommendation on appeal from denial of Title XVI supplemental security income and Title II disability insurance benefits. Plaintiff alleged disability due to Bipolar Disorder and depression. Court found ALJ improperly discounted opinions of plaintiff's therapist, a licensed clinical social worker, at step three of the sequential evaluation process. Regulations provide therapist's opinions are appropriate source of evidence regarding severity of a claimant's impairment and its effect on his ability to work. Court also found ALJ erred in discounting plaintiff's credibility. Court recommended reversal and remand for calculation nd award of benefits.)05/28/2004Paul A. Zoss
Miller v. Barnhart (Memorandum Opinion and Order on appeal from denial of disability insurance benefits. Court found record contained substantial evidence to support Commissioner's decision, and recommended the decision be affirmed.)05/19/2004Paul A. Zoss
McInnis v. Barnhart (Report and Recommendation on appeal from Commissioner's ruling that plaintiff was "not without fault" in causing overpayment of disability insurance benefits. Court found ALJ failed to develop the record fully and fairly; erred in failing to make a credibility determination; and placed improper weight on what the ALJ believed the plaintiff's wife knew or should have known. Court recommended remand for further development of the record and consideration of further evidence.)05/13/2004Paul A. Zoss
Berg v. Barnhart (Report and Recommendation on appeal from denial of Title II disability insurance benefits. Court discusses difficulty in evaluating disability claim based on asthma, where claimant is able to control symptoms through self medication and controlling his environment. Court found record did not support ALJ's conclusion that claimant's subjective complaints were less than credible, and ALJ erred in relying on absence of certain medical documentation that could have been obtained upon request. Court found ALJ did not err in posing hypothetical question to vocational expert. Court recommended Commissioner's decision be reversed, and case be remanded for calculation and award of benefits.)05/04/2004Paul A. Zoss
Wallace v. Comm. of Social Security (Social Security; plaintiff’s attorney’s request for attorney fees pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 406(b): lodestar methodology is no longer used to calculate fees requested pursuant to contingency fee agreement; continency fee agreement is starting point for court’s determination of reasonable fees; court can only award fees for time before the court; the court will not award twenty-five percent of past due benefits, even with contingency fee agreement, if such an award is unreasonable).04/22/2004Mark W. Bennett
Stewart v. Barnhart (Report and Recommendation on appeal from denial of Title XVI supplemental security income benefits. Court found ALJ erred in finding claimant's subjective complaints not to be credible, and in failing to develop the record fully. Court also found ALJ improperly extrapolated wages for part-time work into a hypothetical full-time job for purposes of deeming part-time job to be past relevant work.)04/06/2004Paul A. Zoss
Saenz v. Barnhart (Report and Recommendation on appeal from denial of application for SSI benefits. In recommending reversal and remand, Court found ALJ erred in (1) failing to give great weight to opinion of physician's assistant who had treated claimant frequently over fourteen-month period, and had been claimant's exclusive treating medical sourse during that time; (2) assessing claimant's RFC and finding he could return to past work, with result that ALJ should have proceeded to step five of sequential evaluation process; and (3) failing to make a thorough analysis regarding claimant's credibility.)03/30/2004Paul A. Zoss
Dunkerson v. Commissioner of Social Security (Social Security; claimant’s objections to report and recommendation recommending judgment enter in favor of Commissioner: judicial review of ALJ’s consideration of medications as required by Polaski; whether ALJ’s RFC contained limitations documented by the medical evidence; whether hypothetical question reflected claimants abilities) 03/24/2004Mark W. Bennett
Thomas v. Barnhart (Memorandum Opinion and Order on appeal from denial of disability benefits. Court found ALJ erred in failing to develop the record fully and fairly; finding plaintiff could return to past work; relying on ambiguous testimony by vocational expert; and placing unwarranted weight on testimony of non-examining physician. Reversed and remanded for further proceedings.)03/19/2004Paul A. Zoss
Demaris v. Barnhart, Commisioner of Social Security (DeMaris v. Jo Anne B. Barnhart, Commissioner of Social Security (Social Security; claimant’s objections to report and recommendation recommending judgment enter in favor of Commissioner: judicial review of ALJ’s reliance on non-examining sources; whether substantial evidence existed that claimant could perform light work; review of other claimed limitations including medical evidence, daily activities, financial inability to obtain additional treatment, whether pain is controlled, work history, and claimant’s own subjective complaints)03/04/2004Mark W. Bennett
Henrichs v. Barnhart (Memorandum Opinion and Order on appeal from denial of Social Security disability benefits. Plaintiff claimed disability due to arthritis in thrumbs; pain in back, neck, hips and hands; and migraines. Court found ALJ's residual functional capacity assessment, as presented in hypothetical questions to Vocational Expert, did not encompass all of plaintiff's limitations. Court discusses duty of Appeals Council to provide explanation when it considers, and rejects, post-hearing evidence. Commissioner's decision reversed and case remanded for further proceedings.02/03/2004Paul A. Zoss
Dunkerson v. Barnhart (R&R recommending Commissioner's decision be affirmed denying applications for SSI and DI benefits. Court discusses recent case law regarding burdens of proof in five-step evaluation process (Sec. III.A.); standard of review for ALJ's credibility determination (Sec. IV.A.; see Sec. III.B.); standards for ALJ's residual functional capacity assessment (Sec. IV.B.); and requirements for proper hypothetical question to Vocational Expert (Sec. IV.C.).01/20/2004Paul A. Zoss
Centra v. Barnhart (Amended Report and Recommendation on appeal from denial of SSI and DI benefits. Court found that although none of plaintiff's medical or psychological impairments, standing alone, was sufficient to warrant a finding of disability, all of his impairments in combination rendered him disabled. Opinion discusses Social Security Ruling relating to consideration of residual functional capacity when mental illness is involved.)01/08/2004Paul A. Zoss
Knudsen v. Barnhart (R&R on appeal from denial of Social Security disability insurance benefits, recommending reversal and judgment for plaintiff. Plaintiff alleged disability due to Bipolar Disorder, fibromyalgia, Raynaud's phenomenon, and irritable bowel syndrome. Court found ALJ did not give proper weight to opinions of plaintiff's treating psychiatrist and counselor. Court discusses weight to be given to counselor as an "other" medical source.)12/16/2003Paul A. Zoss
McGee v. Barnhart (appeal from denial of Title II disability insurance benefits. Court found ALJ erred in rejecting opinions of plaintiff's treating physicians, and in discounting plaintiff's subjective complaints without performing proper Polaski analysis. Reversed and remanded for calculation and award of benefits.)12/08/2003Paul A. Zoss
Johnson v. Barnhart (R&R in appeal from denial of Social Security disability benefits, recommending Commissioner's decision be reversed. Plaintiff alleged disability due to fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and other causes. Court found ALJ erred in failing to consider Plaintiff's work history and opinion of treating physician in assessing Plaintiff's credibility, and in failing to credit presence of pain and trigger points as objective medical evidence of fibromyalgia.)12/05/2003Paul A. Zoss
Grant v. Barnhart (R&R in Social Security appeal where plaintiff claimed disability due to seizures and back pain since 11/02/98. Appeals Council overruled ALJ and found plaintiff to be disabled from and after 01/01/00. Court found substantial evidence existed in the Record to support a finding of disability from and after 09/01/99, and therefore recommended reversal of Commissioner's decision.)12/01/2003Paul A. Zoss
DeMaris v. Barnhart (R&R recommending Commissioner's decision be affirmed in appeal from denial of Title II disability benefits. Plaintiff claimed disability on the basis of, inter alia, fibromyalgia, diabetes mellitus, and high blood pressure. Court found evidence in the Record supported inconsistent positions, and because one of them represented the Commissioner's decision, the case should be affirmed.)11/13/2003Paul A. Zoss
Burks v. Barnhart (R&R in appeal from denial of SSI and DI benefits. Alleged impairments: borderline intellectual functioning, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder. Primary issue was lack of evidence to support any conclusion, either favorable or unfavorable. Court found the ALJ had not fulfilled his duty to develop the record fully, and recommended remand to obtain further evidence and reconsider the decision.)11/03/2003Paul A. Zoss
Harrington v. Barnhart (R&R recommending reversal and award of benefits in case involving Commissioner's denial of Widow's Insurance Benefits under Title II of Social Security Act. Plaintiff alleged common-law marriage and sought widow's insurance benefits based on decedent's wages. ALJ found no common-law marriage existed. Court recommended reversal and award of benefits. Court discussed Iowa law relating to factors for proof of common-law marriage.)10/30/2003Paul A. Zoss
Carroll v. Barnhart (R&R in Social Security appeal, recommending remand with instructions for the ALJ to further develop the record. Pivotal issue was whether Record contained sufficient evidence to support ALJ's residual functional capacity, and therefore the hypothetical posed to the Vocational Expert, where the claimant had received almost no treatment at all for the allegedly disabling condition.)09/25/2003Paul A. Zoss
Anderson v. Barnhart (R&R in appeal from denial of SSI benefits. Issues: claimant's credibility; impact of failure to seek treatment due to financial hardship. Court recommended case be remanded for reconsideration with directions to view claimant's subjective complaints as credible.)09/02/2003Paul A. Zoss
Deakins v. Barnhart (Social Security; objections to report and recommendation recommending judgment enter in favor of Commissioner: judicial review of ALJ’s assessment of the medical opinions of doctors; whether ALJ conducted a proper credibility analysis when she considered personal observations of claimant during hearing, claimant’s daily activities, and alleged short attention span)08/06/2003Mark W. Bennett
Jessen v. Barnhart (R&R in Social Security appeal, recommending the Commissioner's decision be affirmed. Plaintiff claimed disability based on borderline intellectual functioning and depression. Court found plaintiff could return to past relevant work, and therefore was not disabled.)07/22/2003Paul A. Zoss
Henrich v. Barnhart (Social Security; objections to report and recommendation recommending reversal and award of disability benefits: judicial review of ALJ’s assessment of claimant's subjective complaints; rejection of the opinions of medical and vocational experts relying on those complaints; whether ALJ conducted proper Polaski analysis)07/10/2003Mark W. Bennett
Kirkpatrick v. Barnhart (Memorandum opinion reversing Commissioner's decision denying Social Security benefits for a closed period. Court held the ALJ incorrectly relied on the opinions of non-examining, non-treating physicians, and improperly discounted or ignored opinions of the plaintiff's treating physicians.)06/18/2003Paul A. Zoss
Deakins v. Barnhart (R&R in Social Security appeal recommending that the Commissioner's decision be affirmed. Issues: ALJ's credibility determination; what constitutes a "treating physician," and proper weight to be given to physicians' opinions, appropriateness of hypothetical question posed to Vocational Expert)05/29/2003Paul A. Zoss
Henrich v. Jo Anne B. Barnhart, Commissioner of Social Security (R&R in Social Security appeal recommending reversal and award of disability benefits. Court found the ALJ improperly discredited the claimant's subjective complaints, and the opinions of medical and vocational experts relying on those complaints, without conducting a proper Polaski analysis.)05/01/2003Paul A. Zoss
Marnell v. Barnhart (Appeal of denial of several applications for Social Security benefits, including applications for SSI benefits under Title XVI as both a child and an adult, appliction for DI benefits under Title II, and application for Child's Disability Insurance Benefits under Title II. Discussion of disability requirements for child and adult claimants; regulations governing personality disorders in Listing 12.08; and case-specific requirements for entitlement to child's disability insurance benefits. Court found claimant to be disabled on the basis of personality disorder manifesting itself primarily in behavior problems, including persistent hostility and anger, inability to function socially, and inability to engage in appropriate relationships, including in the work place.)03/31/2003Paul A. Zoss
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