Our firm represents clients all the way up to the federal court where we have had a great deal of success- not just helping countless individuals in winning their disability benefits, but also fighting hard to establish a history of decisions that continues to help those appealing their disability denials. The firm has hundreds of federal court appellate wins and following are a selection of noteworthy results.
Lambert v. Berryhill, 896 F.3d 768 (7th Cir. 2018)
In denying our client’s disability, an ALJ concluded that he suffered from degenerative disc disease that is severely impairing but not disabling, giving little weight to the most recent opinions of his treating neurosurgeon and discrediting our client’s own testimony about the severity of his pain and extent of his limitations. The Seventh Circuit reversed because the ALJ failed to explain why the treating neurosurgeon’s opinions were entitled to less weight than those of the agency physicians opinions which were provided prior to key evidence. The ALJ also improperly relied on our client’s application for unemployment compensation to discount his credibility in seeking disability benefits, observing: “A person who is not certain whether he will qualify for Social Security disability surely has, and should have, a strong incentive to keep looking for work and to pursue unemployment compensation as an interim source of income. An ALJ should not discount a claimant’s credibility based on an application for unemployment compensation without taking these incentives and pressures into account”.
Cardew v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 896 F.3d 742 (6th Cir. 2018)
This case involved a disabled adult child claim where our client had perforemd a brief three month internship in the past, resulting in the ALJ finding that this constituted substantial gainful activitiy and therefore disqualified him from benefits. The Sixth Circuit held that the ALJ erred in applying a “bright line” threshold for disability based upon these earnings. The Court observed that while income is an overarching consideration and a guide, it is only used to decide whether the work performed illustrates the ability to perform substantial gainful activitiy. The language in the regulations does not provide a bright line test for thus the ALJ’s conclusions were not based upon a proper application of the regulations.
Beardsley v. Astrue, No.: 07-cv-776 (E.D. Wisc. Aug. 15, 2011)
Frederick Daley along with Thomas Bush represented Beardsley in Court, resulting in a June 30, 2010 decision in which the Court held that the ALJ: improperly attributed weight to the Medical Expert that is ordinarily assigned to a treating physician, failing to adequately address the treating physician’s opinion; erroneously rejected Bearsley’s testimony without adequately discussing her symptoms and by ignoring evidence that did support credibility; disregarded the testimony of Beardsley’s husband; and failed to consider evidence of fluctuating blood glucose level and to properly consider obesity in combination with her other ailments. Significantly, the Court, in overturning the ALJ’s decision, noted numerous times that the ALJ had failed to trace a path from the evidence to his conclusions.
O’Neill v. Astrue, No. 09-cv-3042 (D. Minn., Feb. 1, 2011)
Our client, age 54, applied for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits due to Crohn’s Disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, depression and sciatica. He was denied benefits before the Social Security Administration. Attorney Frederick Daley took his case to court and was successful in convincing the District Court of Minnesota to overturn the denial of benefits and remand the case for a calculation and award of benefits. In overturning the decision and awarding benefits, the Court held that the ALJ improperly evaluated the treating physician’s findings, erroneously dismissed our client’s credibility, particularly his need to take frequent bathroom breaks and three or more absences from work a month, and wrongly found our client capable of his past work. Specifically, the Court found the treating physician’s limitations well-reasoned and based on objective evidence entitling them to controlling weight. In light of this improper dismissal of the treating opinion, the ALJ’s resulting hypotheticals were incomplete and our client’s past work was ruled out. With his past work eliminated, our client was entitled to an outright reversal of the ALJ’s decision and remand for an award of benefits based upon the Grid Rules. Significantly, the Court found that a claimant with Crohn’s Disease, who had frequent flare ups and some periods of reprieve, is not capable of working on a regular basis.
Herron v. Astrue, No. 09-16872 (9th Cir. Dec. 22, 2010)
In an unpublished opinion, the Ninth Circuit recently reversed and remanded to the district court based on an appeal brief drafted by Fredrick J. Daley and Kimberly Jones. Attorneys Frederick J. Daley and Kimberly Jones represented the client at the Ninth Circuit. In reaching this decision, the Court found that the ALJ failed to consider the actual physical demands of the client’s past work and compare the demands to the client’s current physical capacity. The ALJ also relied solely on the testimony of the vocational expert, whose conclusions were based on an overly generalized occupational description. The Court determined that the ALJ further committed error by erroneously discounting a nurse practitioner’s residual functional capacity evaluation, giving “great weight” to a State consultant who failed to review a substantial portion of the relevant medical evidence and discounting the VA disabling rating determination. The case was remanded back to the district court with instructions that it send the case back to the Commissioner for a determination of whether the client had the capacity to perform his past relevant work as actually/generally performed in the national economy, and if not, whether the client could perform other substantial gainful work in the national economy.
McClesky v. Astrue, No. 09-2723 (7th Cir. 2010)
A client with fibromyalgia was denied Social Security Disability benefits by an Administrative Law Judge and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Attorneys Marcie E. Goldbloom and Sandra Dye, with assistance from Suzanne Blaz, were successful in convincing the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit to remand the case to the agency for further proceedings in light of the inadequate analysis of credibility by the administrative law judge and her erroneous assumption that a job as a telemarketer would be consistent with our client’s limitations.
Young v. Barnhart, No. 03-1545 (7th Cir. 2004)
Our client, a fifty-five year old veteran, applied for Social Security Disability insurance benefits claiming that he was no longer able to work due to progressively declining cognitive abilities and increasing personality problems. The Social Security Administration denied benefits, and the U.S. District Court refused to change that decision. Attorney Frederick J. Daley, Jr. convinced the U.S. Court of Appeals that the Administrative Law Judge’s residual functional capacity assessment was flawed, as it failed to account for evidence regarding our client’s problems accepting instruction, responding appropriately to criticism from supervisors, thinking independently, and setting realistic goals. Therefore, we succeeded in getting a new hearing to correctly consider all of our client’s evidence. Mr. Daley was assisted by Steve Jackson and Suzanne Blaz.
McKinnie v. Astrue, 368 F.3d 907 (7th Cir. 2004)
Attorney Frederick J. Daley represented this client before the Seventh Circuit, who found that Social Security failed to make an inquiry into the reliability of the vocational expert’s conclusions, improperly insisting that the claimant pay to substantiate expert testimony relied upon by the Commissioner. This case is particularly helpful in showing what needs to be done in order to challenge VE testimony.