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MONTAN v. HECKLER

November 19, 1984

JOSEPH MONTAN, Plaintiff, against MARGARET M. HECKLER, SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, Defendant.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: MOTLEY

MOTLEY, Ch. J.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

 Plaintiff commences this action seeking judicial review, pursuant to section 205(g) of the Social Security Act, as amended (the "Act"), 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), of a final determination of the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (the "Secretary"), which denied plaintiff's application for federal disability insurance benefits. The case if before this court upon defendant's motion for summary judgment on the pleadings dismissing the complaint, pursuant to Rule 12(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. For the reasons set forth below, defendant's motion is denied and this matter is remanded to the Secretary for further proceedings in accordance with this opinion.

 FACTS

 Plaintiff is a fifty-two year old male college graduate with a masters degree in special education. After serving in the armed forces during the Korean conflict, plaintiff worked as medical x-ray technician until 1966. He taught emotionally disturbed children from 1966 until 1978 when he was terminated due to his inability to handle such children. Plaintiff then taught at another school until he quit in 1980. From 1980 through November, 1982, when his teaching license expired, plaintiff taught children at his home. Plaintiff has not worked since November, 1982.

 Plaintiff has no access to a car, travels by public transportation, and is usually accompanied by a friend when he travels. He receives disability compensation from the Veterans Administration.

 Plaintiff filed an application for disability insurance benefits on December 24, 1981, seeking benefits as of February, 1980, due to a back injury and a nervous condition. The application was denied initially and on reconsideration. A hearing was held at plaintiff's request on September 28, 1982. The Administrative Law Judge (the "ALJ"), Robert Schwartz, before whom plaintiff and his attorney appeared, determined that plaintiff was not diabled and was capable of returning to his prior work within the field of education. The determination of the ALJ became the final decision of the Secretary when it was approved by the Appeals Council on August 5, 1983.

 The medical evidence submitted to the ALJ may be summarized as follows:

 Dr. Mario Mancheno examined plaintiff in February, 1982, concerning plaintiff's back injury. Plaintiff told Dr. Mancheno that he had sustained a back injury in 1950, and subsequently reinjured himself in 1978 and 1979. Dr. Mancheno's examination of plaintiff's back failed to reveal any significant limitation of motion or neurological abnormalities. The diagnosis was low back syndrome and Dr. Mancheno opined that plaintiff could walk ten to twelve blocks at a time, sit for six hours at a time, and stand for four hours at a time.

 In May, 1982, plaintiff was examined by Dr. Caleb Medley. Dr. Medley found no basis to substantiate plaintiff's claim of a decrease in physical activities and submitted a residual function capacity evaluation similar to that of Dr. Mancheno.

 With respect to plaintiff's nervous condition, plaintiff's treating physician, Dr. Antonio Parras, submitted two reports. One report, dated May, 1981, stated that plaintiff had been seeing another physician from 1951 until 1971. Plaintiff, however, denied this statement at his hearing. Dr. Parras found plaintiff to have a blunted affect and to suffer from depression, partially due to his inability to work. The diagnosis of Dr. Parras was that plaintiff suffered from chronic schizophrenia, paranoid type, with depression. Dr. Parras concluded his report by stating that plaintiff was psychiatrically disabled and unemployable. Dr. Parras' second report, dated July, 1982, indicated no improvement in plaintiff's condition.

 In February, 1982, plaintiff was examined by Dr. Juan Fiks. Dr. Fiks diagnosed plaintiff as suffering form adjustment reaction to adult life, with depression. Dr. Fiks found plaintiff's affect to be appropriate and was of the opinion that plaintiff was capable of taking care of his personal needs and doing household chores. He thought plaintiff's claims were exaggerated.

 Dr. Richard King examined plaintiff and issued a report in May 1982. His diagnosis was chronic undifferentiated schizophrenia. Dr. King found plaintiff to have a flat affect and suffer from hallucination. He asserted that plaintiff's claim was consistent with his own findings.

 Subsequent to the hearing, but before the decision of the Appeals Council, plaintiff submitted two more physicians' opinions concerning his nervous condition. Dr. Robert Goldstein diagnosed plaintiff as suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and stated that plaintiff was occupationally incapacitated. Dr. Marvin Stone diagnosed plaintiff as suffering from chronic ...


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