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.

DE LA ROSA v. HECKLER

July 10, 1984

EKATERINI DE LA ROSA, Plaintiff,
v.
MARGARET M. HECKLER, SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: POLLACK

MILTON POLLACK, Senior United States District Judge

Plaintiff sues to overturn the denial to her of disability insurance benefits by the defendant, 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). The case has been submitted to the court upon cross-motions for judgment on the pleadings and administrative record. Rule 12(c) Fed. R. Civ. P. The claim was twice heard and denied relief by an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"), twice appealed to the Appeals Council, and the denials were twice affirmed. The denials were essentially on the ground that plaintiff's past relevant work as an assistant fur designer in a mink coat factory, cutting canvasses for mink coats, was considered to be sedentary and that it is clear that plaintiff could return to her past relevant work and is "not disabled" within the meaning of the Social Security Act and Regulations thereunder.

 For the reasons appearing hereafter, judgment will be granted in favor of the defendant, dismissing the complaint, with costs.

 This case comes down to one in which the medical evidence of alleged "disability" to do sedentary work within the meaning of the Statute, 42 U.S.C. §§ 423(d) (2) (A) and 1382c(a) (3), is conflicting and in such case the Secretary may properly credit the opinions of the physicians which contradict plaintiff's claims. The Secretary applied the correct legal principles, weighing all evidence, including medical evidence, and resolved material conflicts in the evidence and the factual findings of the Secretary are supported by substantial evidence. The findings are thus conclusive on this Court. Rivera v. Harris, 623 F.2d 212, 216 (2d Cir. 1980); Bastien v. Califano, 572 F.2d 908, 912 (2d Cir. 1978). Indeed, the record shows that none of plaintiff's medical proof took the position that the plaintiff's physical and psychological complaints disabled her from pursuing her former sedentary occupation.

 Briefly, the background is as follows.

 The plaintiff is 52 years old, is married to a husband who is retired and ill, and has not had any children. In March, 1981 she was struck by an automobile and sustained fractures of the twelfth dorsal vertebra and the left heel (calcaneus).

 This plaintiff was engaged in a relatively sedentary type of occupation. She was employed in a factory that made mink coats as an assistant designer and to cut patterns to customers' sizes before the factory made the coat. She operated a sewing machine and made canvas for new coat styles.

 The doctors who examined the plaintiff on her behalf and on behalf of the Secretary all noted the presence of pain but not disability in the sense that term is used in the Social Security Administration. Pain and employability are not synonomous. Pain to recover negligence damages does not have the same significance on the question whether one with pain should be paid Social Security benefits.

 The medical support for the decision of the Secretary is substantial. The Plaintiff's own physicians did not come out at any point and dispute plaintiff's ability in 1982, or later, to resume her previous sedentary occupation. The medical proof on which the Secretary could rely is that plaintiff was not disabled to perform her previous sedentary art work on mink coats and canvases therefor.

 Plaintiff relies on a statement by Dr. Gellert, her treating physician, made on July 26, 1982, as follows:

 It is my opinion that this lady is disabled from any walking, climbing stairs, bending, stooping, kneeling, crawling, she also had difficulty in carrying or lifting any heavy objects because of her back and had difficulty doing her work as a housekeeper at home.

 In contrast with that statement evidence was adduced of an examination conducted on July 24, 1982 by Dr. Milan Kutanovski, whose report gives the following contrary information:

 Patient walks in the examining room carrying a cane for support and holding it in her right hand. She is able to walk without a cane and one observes obvious limp favoring the left lower extremity.

 Again, on August 5, 1982, the plaintiff was examined by "Mobile Health Care" in Forest Hills, New York, and the ...


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.