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ALJ Erred in Assigning “Some” Weight

Empire Justice Center January 28, 2019

In another recent decision, WDNY Judge Larimer remanded for the ALJ to reassess the evidence of record, and contact medical sources for clarification if appropriate.  He also ordered the ALJ to render a new decision identifying the weight given to each medical opinion of record and explaining the reasons therefor. The ALJ had rejected every part of every medical opinion that included a greater than moderate limitation because it conflicted with his threshold finding of moderate limitations.

 

The court expressed its frustration with the ALJ’s failure to explain why he gave “some weight” to each medical opinion of record.  “The ALJ did not identify those portions of the opinions he rejected, or cite to any evidence of record which contradicted those opinions or otherwise explained why they were not worthy of greater weight.”  Montanez v. Berryhill, 334 F. Supp. 3d 562, 565 (W.D.N.Y. 2018).  Moreover, he failed to explain his decision not to credit opinion evidence demonstrating greater than moderate limitations.  The court also faulted the ALJ for improperly “cherry-picking” the evidence.

 

Mr. Montanez was represented by Jennifer Karr and Kate Callery of the Empire Justice Center.