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District Court Remands for Consideration of CE Opinion

Empire Justice Center January 31, 2020

Andrew Spink of the Geneva office of LawNY convinced U.S. District Judge Siragusa to remand his client’s case because the ALJ failed to consider the opinion of a consultative examiner (CE).  Andrew, who had represented the client at the ALJ hearing, had argued that the client’s prior claim should be reopened.  The ALJ had reopened the earlier application but then went on to deny both claims.

 

Undeterred, Andrew appealed, arguing among other things, that the ALJ erred in ignoring the opinion of a CE from the earlier, re-opened claim.  The CE had opined that the claimant had moderately to marked limitations in maintaining a regular schedule, and had cognitive problems that might significantly interfere with his ability to function on a daily basis.  Andrew argued that the ALJ’s failure to discuss this report was erroneous because it was consistent with the opinion of the claimant’s primary care physician.  The court agreed.  It held the ALJ is required to evaluate every medical opinion of record.  It found the opinion was relevant to Andrew’s argument that the claimant met Listing 12.02 for neurocognitive disorders, as the report indicated marked limitations in at least two of the “B” criteria of the listing.

 

Judge Siragusa remanded the claim for consideration of the CE’s opinion, and for the ALJ to reweigh the evidence as appropriate.  Gorton v. Commissioner of Social Security, 2019 WL 6768780 (W.D.N.Y. Dec. 12, 2019).  Compliments to Andrew for his creative advocacy.