Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

JACKSON v. HECKLER

August 24, 1984

LAURA JACKSON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MARGARET M. HECKLER, SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Shadur, District Judge.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Laura Jackson ("Jackson") seeks judicial review of a final decision of the Secretary of Health and Human Services ("Secretary") denying Jackson a period of disability and disability insurance benefits. Jackson's claim under Social Security Act ("Act") §§ 216(i) and 223, 42 U.S.C. § 416(i) and 423, was denied by ALJ Charles Walsh ("ALJ Walsh" or simply the "ALJ") after an April 19, 1983 hearing. Jackson then exhausted her administrative remedies (a process that resulted in the ALJ's decision becoming Secretary's) and brought this action against Secretary under Act § 205(g), 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

As is customary in these cases, the parties have filed cross-motions for summary judgment under Fed.R.Civ.P. ("Rule") 56. In this case the ALJ's decision (which became Secretary's) rested on his finding Jackson could return to her past relevant work if it were available. Jackson contends the ALJ's findings are not supported by "substantial evidence" because record evidence does not support the propositions that:

1. Jackson's disabilities are not "severe."

2. Jackson can return to her past work as a sewing machine operator.

For the reasons stated in this memorandum opinion and order, Secretary's motion is granted and Jackson's is denied.

Facts

Jackson was 57 years old at the date of the ALJ hearing and has an eleventh grade education. Until she was laid off in 1980 she worked for a number of years as a sewing machine operator for Brown's Industrial Uniforms, Inc. Her work required her to bend and reach, as well as to do close work with her hands, but little or no standing was required. She claims she has been disabled since April 30, 1981 with swelling of her legs, bursitis, osteoarthritis and adult-onset diabetes mellitus. In addition to her testimony, the record contains four medical opinions:

      1. On November 14, 1981 Dr. Phillip Foley reported
    after a single examination (R. 93) Jackson suffers
    from "some early degenerative osteoarthritis of the
    right knee" and "Low grade bursitis of the right
    shoulder." He concluded Jackson could do "light work
    with occasional climbing, frequent bending, stooping
    and operating foot controls" and added, "Handling
    and fingering are all right."
      2. On December 19, 1981 Dr. Virgilio Jonson
    dictated a discharge summary covering Jackson's
    just-concluded six-day stay at Roseland Community
    Hospital ("Roseland") (R. 94-95). He had diagnosed
    Jackson's diabetic condition for the first time. In
    addition he found Jackson had "osteoarthritis of the
    cervical and lumbar spine" and "generalized edema,"
    or fluid buildup in the tissues, of unknown source.
    However she was discharged "with no limitation of
    her activity" after a diabetic diet and
    anti-swelling drugs improved her condition
    markedly.
      3. On March 24, 1982 Dr. Mamie Long filed a report
    after a single examination of Jackson (R. 103-05).
    She found evidence of "Degenerative joint disease
    changes of the right shoulder and right knee with
    complaints of arthralgias in these areas" and "Adult
    onset diabetes mellitus." She also reported that by
    Jackson's own account she had experienced
    "congestive heart failure compensated at this
    time."*fn1 Dr. Long really made no findings bearing
    directly on

    ultimate issues such as whether Jackson could do
    either her past work or work-related activities in
    general.
      4. On February 16, 1983 Dr. Pascual Sales reported
    treating Jackson at Roseland for a week in early
    1983 (R. 118-23). He found pain and tenderness of
    the stomach and right flank ("acute abdomen
    secondary to acute pyelonephritis, right"), which
    improved on treatment with antibiotics and a soft
    low sodium diet. Jackson was discharged with "no
    restriction of her ambulation." Dr. Sales submitted
    a letter May 14, 1983 (R. 143), which read in its
    entirety:
      Ms. Laura Jackson has been under medical care for
      recurrent swelling and edema to the both [sic]
      lower extremeties [sic] more so to her right leg.
   ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.