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ROY v. SECRETARY OF HEALTH & SERV.
May 1, 1981
ANTHONY W. ROY, PLAINTIFF,
SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, DEFENDANT.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Baker, District Judge.
This is an action under Section 205(g) of the Social
Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), to review a final decision of
the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The Secretary
denied the claimant's application for the establishment of a
period of disability under Section 216(i) of the Social
Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 416(i), and for disability insurance
benefits as provided in Section 223 of the Social Security Act,
42 U.S.C. § 423. In an administrative review hearing, the
Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) also denied the claimant's
application. The Appeals Council summarily denied the
plaintiff's request for review of the ALJ's decision. The
claimant and the Secretary have filed cross motions for summary
I conclude that the ALJ failed both to develop an adequate
record and to apply proper legal standards when weighing the
evidence and making his decision. Therefore, the ALJ's
decision to deny disability benefits to the claimant is not
supported by substantial evidence, and summary judgment must
be denied and the cause remanded for further development of
the record and the taking of additional evidence.
The claimant, Anthony Roy, was born on March 21, 1927. He is
a literate man, having completed 6 years of school. His only
other formal education consists of a two week arc and
acetylene welding course taken in 1974. Roy performed a
variety of jobs for General Cable in Monticello, Illinois. The
claimant's testimony at the administrative hearing indicates
that he worked as a lead man and supervisor for 6 years, as a
cabler for approximately 2 years and as a maintenance mechanic
for an estimated 2 years.*fn1 From 1976 to 1978 the claimant
operated a gas station and repaired cars in Kentucky. In 1978,
the claimant returned to Illinois and went to work for
Rite-Way in Rantoul, Illinois as a car mechanic. In 1978 or
1979 the claimant became a truck mechanic for Lincoln Land
Moving and Storage in Champaign, Illinois.
On November 26, 1979, an appeal hearing was held by an
administrative law judge (ALJ) to review the Social Security
Administration's denial of disability benefits based on the
Administration's finding that the claimant was not currently
under a disability. Mr. Roy and his wife testified at the
hearing. Mr. Roy was not represented by counsel.
Mr. Roy testified as to his work experience. As lead man and
supervisor, the claimant loaded and unloaded reels of cables
and supervised others. His most recent work as a truck
mechanic he described as active, involving much bending,
lifting, and moving around. His earlier work, 2 years as a
maintenance repairman, the claimant and the ALJ categorized as
light work, with maximum lifting of 25 pounds; his duties as
an operator of a gas station included "pumping gas, changing
oil, repairing cars, ordering supplies, and keeping records
(R. 9, ALJ's Summary and Evaluation of the Evidence.) The ALJ
did not otherwise categorize the claimant's former work.
The claimant also testified as to his physical condition. He
stated that he has arthritis in his neck, spine, lower back,
elbows and shoulders, causing increasing pain in his
shoulders, right arm and hand, and back. He also suffers pain
when bending or reaching. He is unable to lift his arms above
his head and is able to lift only to just below shoulder
level. Although he has swelling and pain in his right hand,
Mr. Roy states that he "wouldn't want to try [to lift] any
more than 15 to 20 pounds at the most." (R. 43). He can stand
or sit 30 minutes to one hour before changing positions. The
claimant feels he can walk one-quarter mile.
The claimant also complained in the hearing about recent
stomach pains and heartburn which are aggravated by greasy or
spicy foods. Maalox tablets are taken daily to alleviate the
problem. The claimant testified to no other maladies. The
claimant has not been hospitalized in the last 10 years.
No vocational expert testified at the trial. None of the
doctors, neither the claimant's physician nor the Social
Security Administration's (SSA) physicians, testified at the
hearing. The record does, however, include the clinical
evaluation of each of these doctors with the exception of Dr.
Jones, one of the SSA's examining physicians who practices at
the Veterans Hospital (VA) in Danville, Illinois. Dr. Mundt,
the treating physician, diagnosed the claimant as having
severe degenerative arthritis of the spine. Dr. Mundt
recommended that Roy restrict his activities, not do any
stooping, prolonged standing or lifting, or lifting more than
10 pounds. Dr. Mundt also recommended that Roy quit his job as
a mechanic. Dr. Mundt prescribed treatment for pain which
consisted of medication, Indocin, and an occasional Excedrin,
accompanied by the application of wet heat. Dr. Nauman, the
physician to whom Dr. Mundt referred the claimant, made a
similar diagnosis of severe degenerative changes of the spine
and suggested avoidance of heavy lifting, lifting not more
than 20 pounds.
The SSA recommended that Mr. Roy be examined by Dr. Sukkar
and Dr. Jones at the VA in Danville, Illinois. Dr. Sukkar's
diagnosis differed from that of Drs. Mundt and Nauman. Dr.
Sukkar found a mild scoliosis and moderate or advanced
degenerative arthritis of the spine. Here the record is
unclear. Dr. Sukkar's diagnosis states "advanced degenerative
osteoarthritis of the spine". (R. 123) The x-ray impression
states "moderate degenerative changes." (R. 124). Dr. Sukkar
suggested only occasional lifting of a maximum of 20 pounds
and 6 hours of standing, walking or sitting with rest periods.
Dr. Jones' diagnosis is not in the record, although in the
hearing the claimant offered to procure that diagnosis. All
three doctors, Mundt, Nauman, and Sukkar, recommended light
work rather than work as a truck mechanic.
Two other doctors, Dr. "Dirkenmanp" (illegible signature)
and Dr. Phillips, after reviewing the information in the
claimant's Social Security file also found the claimant
capable of performing light work. Both these doctors felt the
claimant was capable of performing his past jobs as a factory
worker and lead man. The SSA vocational assessment specialist
also found the claimant capable of performing light work and,
specifically, his prior jobs as factory worker and lead man.
The claimant, however, has applied with his former employer,
General Cable Co., for janitorial work, and has been rejected
for an unspecified reason.
The ALJ narrowed the issue to "whether the claimant's
impairments prevent him from performing his usual or other
work." The ALJ's final conclusion was that the claimant's
osteoarthritis and arthritic pain were not so severe as to
"prevent him from performing light work within his
occupational qualifications, such as his former work as a lead
man and supervisor, general maintenance repairman or gas
Based upon the weight of the evidence the
following findings are made:
1. The claimant continues to meet the special
disability earnings requirement of the Social
Security Act through December 31, 1982.
2. The claimant was born on March 21, 1926 and
completed six years of formal education. He
is fully literate.
3. The claimant has had prior work experience as
a cable company lead man and supervisor,
cable operator, general maintenance
repairman, gas station manager, auto
mechanic, and truck mechanic.
4. The evidence shows that the claimant is
afflicted with moderate degenerative
osteoarthritis of the spine.
5. The evidence of record fails to show that the
claimant is afflicted with a severe stomach
6. The claimant has some complaints of pain but
the evidence as a whole, including medical
findings, is not consistent with the
existence of intractable, incapacitating
7. The claimant's arthritic impairment does not
prevent him from performing light work not
involving frequent bending and stooping, such
as his former jobs as a lead man and
supervisor, general maintenance repairman or
service station manager.
8. In accordance with Regulations 404.1503(e)
and 416.903(e) of the Social Security
Administration the claimant has not been
under a "disability," as defined in sections
216(i), 223 and 1614(a)(3) of the Social
Security Act, as amended, at any time through
the date of this decision.
It is the finding and decision of the undersigned
Administrative Law Judge that the claimant, based
on his applications filed on March 5, 1979, is
not entitled to a period of disability or to
disability insurance benefits under the
provisions of sections 216(i) and 223 of the
Social Security Act, as amended, nor is he
eligible for supplemental security income under
the provisions of section 1614(a)(3) of the
Social Security Act, as amended.
S/ Irwin I. Blumberg
Irwin I. Blumberg
Administrative Law Judge