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7th Circuit orders SSA take another look at woman’s case

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Finding that the administrative law judge hearing a southern Indiana woman’s claim for disability insurance benefits made several errors in his consideration of the record, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals sent the case back to the Social Security Administration for more proceedings.

In Linda K. Roddy v. Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, 12-1682, Linda Roddy, who had worked full-time as a shift manager at Taco Bell for many years, sought disability benefits after pain prevented her from working and doing basic household chores. She was in a car accident in 1999 that led to her seeking treatment for chronic pain. She went to pain management specialist Dr. Gary Wright for several years and received treatments. When she lost her insurance, she saw Wright less frequently until she stopped seeing him in January 2006. Tests revealed she had degenerative disc disease and inflammation of the joints in the lower back. She cut back hours at work at the suggestion of Wright until she could no longer work at all.

Roddy filed for benefits in November 2007, alleging that her disability began in November 2005. Dr. Larissa Dimitrov evaluated Roddy and found her not to be disabled. The agency denied her claim as did an administrative law judge. He found her not to be disabled using the five-step sequential process in 20 C.F.R. Section 404.1520(4).

The 7th Circuit found the ALJ failed to adequately explain why Wright’s views should be set aside and didn’t give much weight to his opinion. As Roddy’s treating physician, his opinion is entitled to controlling weight if it is supported by other evidence.

The judges also agreed with Roddy that this case must go back to the SSA because the ALJ erred by basing his credibility finding on Roddy’s failure to seek professional treatment for her back after 2006 and her ability to perform household tasks.

The 7th Circuit vacated the District Court judgment that found evidence supported the decision and remanded with instructions to send the case to the SSA for further proceedings.
 

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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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