Woody v. Berryhill, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 168987

Pond Lehocky Stern Giordano recently had a big win in the Eastern District Court of Pennsylvania. In a rare occurrence, District Court Judge Mark A. Kearney vacated the ALJ’s denial and remanded the case for further administrative proceedings on the basis of our objections to the Magistrate Judge’s Report and Recommendation affirming the ALJ’s decision.

The Plaintiff in this case worked his entire life before suffering an injury, which left him needing multiple major surgeries. After that, he could not support himself or his family. The ALJ discounted our client’s testimony that he could lift no more than 5 lbs. without suffering from significant pain. Under the regulations, had the ALJ adopted that limitation in lifting, he would have had to have found that client was disabled. Instead, he found that client could lift and carry up to 25 lbs. during the course of an eight hour workday. Pond Lehocky argued that the record supported our client’s testimony and heavily stressed his need for multiple surgeries. Furthermore, we stressed that under case law, he should have been granted greater credibility for his testimony due to his long and consistent work history.

The Magistrate Judge affirmed the ALJ’s denial and found that the ALJ’s determination that the Plaintiff could lift 25-pounds post surgeries was reasonable. Additionally, although the Magistrate Judge agreed that the ALJ erred by failing to consider our client’s long work history, he found that such an error was harmless and not a reason to reverse and remand.

Attorney Nicholas Feden objected to the Magistrate’s Report and Recommendation and the District Court Judge agreed that on the ALJ’s denial should vacated and the matter remanded for further consideration of those issues. As a result, the client will receive a new hearing for proper consideration of the amount he can lift and carry with appropriate deference given to his long and hard work history.

This man hasn’t been able to work since 2012 and has been fighting for his benefits since 2013. In fact, the District Judge noted how long this process has taken and required the Social Security Administration to expedite his new hearing and report back to the Judge with status updates to ensure the Administration’s compliance.  We didn’t give up or fail him when the ALJ denied him, or even when the Magistrate Judge affirmed the ALJ. We are one step closer to getting him the benefits he deserves and desperately needs which include approximately $200,000.00 in back benefits and thousands of dollars in continuing monthly benefits along with health care. These benefits are life saving and life changing.

At Pond Lehocky, Mr. Feden is the Chair and founding member of the Social Security Disability Administrative and Federal Appellate Division. His practice focuses on handling complex disability claims that cannot be resolved at the administrative level and require an appeal to the Federal Courts. Contact our team to represent you and fight for the benefits you are owed.




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