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Case Summaries

OBL on FIRE: Three MORE federal court reversals with outright award of benefits!

A few months back my office had a run where we had obtained three federal court decisions which not only overturned a terrible ALJ decision, but also took the rare step of finding the ALJ’s errors so egregious that it ordered Social Security to begin paying our client benefits. Because by far the most typical outcome in a federal court appeal is a remand to Social Security for further proceedings, I remember saying at the time that I might not see another decision like it for a long time. I’m happy to report that I was wrong; my team has managed...

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OBL on Fire: Allstate Overturns Its Denial of Benefits Under A Dismemberment Accident Policy and Awards Osterhout Berger’s client $100,000

Our client lost vision in one of her eyes and filed for benefits under her employer-provided Dismemberment/Accident Policy back in 2016.  After being denied numerous times she hired Attorney Berger and within weeks Allstate reversed its decision and awarded our client the maximum amount allowable under her policy - $100,000! If you need help filing a claim for benefits under an Accident Policy or have been denied benefits Osterhout Berger will review your case free of charge. Call us today: 866.438.8773...

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Following an appeal by Osterhout Berger Disability Law The Hartford overturns its denial of Own Occupation benefits to a highly-skilled Project Director.

Our client, a professional in the construction field, was awarded benefits in 2016 due to severe and constant back pain. Despite very little change in his condition The Hartford terminated his benefits in April 2018 after determining that he could return to his own occupation. The claimant retained Osterhout Berger and we agreed to represent him on a contingent basis, accepting a fee only if we were successful in having his benefits reinstated. We immediately ordered the claim file and obtained an Independent Medical Examination from a well-qualified physician. We also updated medical opinion evidence from our client’s treating physician. Our...

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Arizona District Court Reverses ALJ

April 11, 2017.  The ALJ denied benefits to a claimant with arthritis, among other impairments, finding she could perform “light” work, yet neglecting to include her need for a cane in his RFC finding or hypothetical question to the vocational expert at the hearing.  The district court reversed, finding that we “convincingly” argued that the definition of light work assumes the ability to use both hands and would be significantly diminished for an individual who required the use of a cane, which the ALJ omitted from his analysis....

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Georgia District Court Remands

March 31, 2017.  After the ALJ denied benefits, the claimant submitted additional evidence to the Appeals Council regarding his gastrointestinal impairment and diabetes (including a medical source statement from the claimant’s treating provider), however, the Appeals Council found that this evidence was not reasonably likely to change the ALJ’s decision and declined to vacate the ALJ’s decision.  The district court found that this was error; the evidence submitted to the Appeals Council was new, material, and chronologically relevant and the Appeals Council erred by simply acknowledging it but making no further mention of it in is review.  The case was...

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Minnesota District Court reverses ALJ

March 29, 2017.  The ALJ denied benefits on the basis that the claimant could perform other work in the national economy, relying on vocational expert testimony that there were jobs available that accommodated for the claimant’s limitation to “simple, routine, 1-2 step tasks”.  We successfully argued that the jobs provided by the vocational expert were inconsistent with the descriptions in the DOT, as the jobs required a higher reasoning level than the ALJ’s RFC provided.  The district court reversed, finding that there was a conflict in the vocational expert’s testimony that was not resolved and therefore, the ALJ’s step 5...

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Indiana District Court Remands

March 27, 2017.  In this case, the claimant objected to vocational expert testimony, but the ALJ failed to address these objections at all, one of which dealt with the fact that the vocational expert’s testimony was not consistent with more up-to-date information.  The district court found that thiss was error, holding that the ALJ has an obligation to address all objections, and remanded for further proceedings....

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Arizona District Court reverses ALJ

March 24, 2017.  Here, the claimant complained of extreme pain that prevented her from working, yet the objective medical evidence did not show pain to this extent.  The ALJ, discrediting the claimant’s subjective complaints of pain, denied benefits.  We successfully argued that there was no evidence to suggest the claimant was malingering, and that an ALJ cannot reject subjective complaints of pain solely on the basis of objective medical evidence.  The district court held that the ALJ’s credibility finding was not based on substantial evidence, and remanded for further proceedings....

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Texas District Court reverses ALJ

March 24, 2017.  A claimant with diabetes and complications from diabetes was denied benefits when the ALJ found that he could perform other work, after dismissing the opinion of the claimant’s treating physician that he could only perform part-time work at best as the opinion was inconsistent with treatment records.  The district court held that the ALJ improperly analyzed this opinion as required by the regulations, finding that the purported inconsistency did not excuse the ALJ from “bypassing the detailed analysis” required in the regulations, and remanded for further proceedings....

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