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Public Health — disability

United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit


Public Health — disability

Where a woman has adhesive capsulitis in both shoulders, resulting in range-of-motion problems, and degenerative rotator cuff disease in both, and can lift or carry up to 10 pounds, but only occasionally, and can not tolerate exposure to pulmonary irritants, her disability benefits were improperly denied.

“The administrative law judge decided that the applicant was capable of performing her past job as a hotel clerk and that therefore she was not disabled. The judge’s reasoning is hard to fathom. He ignored the finding by Dr. Elmes—whom, remember, he had appointed to examine the applicant, and with whom the applicant had no prior relationship—that she could lift or carry a 10-pound weight occasionally. In fact he disregarded Elmes’s entire report, on the unexplained ground that it was ‘not consistent with the medical evidence of record’ and ‘seem[ed] to be based solely on the [applicant’s] subjective complaints.’ The judge did not indicate what “medical evidence of record” he had in mind and he ignored the fact that Elmes had conducted a 90-minute examination of the applicant. He also ignored Elmes’s finding that the applicant has degenerative rotator cuff disease.”

Reversed and Remanded.

12-1873 Hughes v. Astrue

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Keys, Mag. J., Posner, J.

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