Thursday, March 16, 2006

disability - depression/alcoholism - prescribed treatment

Bodner v. Barnhart - ED Pa. - March 14, 2006

Alcohol/depression case. Case remanded where

a) There was no evidence in the record that claimant could work when sober and compliant with medications. There was no support in the medical record for this finding, since claimant had not been directed to take psychotropic drugs. A claimant needn't take palliative drugs unless prescribed. The ALJ impropely ignored the treating physician's opinions in this regard.

b) The ALJ did not follow the procedure in SSR 82-59 concerning failure to follow prescribed treatment.

Some key facts -
- Claimant (CL) testified that he had been sober since April 2002
- Treating psych. said CL couldn't complete normal work day/week
- VE testified that CL couldn't do any work if unable to complete normal work day/week
- No psychotropic meds prescribed because of CL's liver disease and other health problems

consumer - predatory lending - statute of limitations - equit. tolling - discovery rule

Wise v. Mortgage Lenders Network USA - ED Pa. - March 13, 2006

Lender and mortgage broker moved to dismiss various consumer claims under Rule 12(b)(6) based on statute of limitations grounds. Motion denied.

equitable tolling
Dismissal of federal statutory claims was denied under equitable tolling doctrine, because the complaint alleged that the defendants had actively misled the plaintiffs about their claims. The "doctrine of 'equitable tolling' operates to stop the statute of limitations from running whete the claim's actual accrual date has alreayd passed...It thus allows a court 'to extend a statute of limitations on a case-by-case basis to prevent inequity." Fraudulent concealment was alleged, and plaintiffs showed that they had exercised reasonable diligence in investigating and bringing the claims. Plaintiffs' complaint alleged "facts that suggest an active intentionally defraud them by exploiting their financial need and concealing material terms of the loan.

discovery rule
Dismissal of state fraud and breach of fiduciary claim was similarly rejected by application of the "'discovery rule' exception to the statute of limitations which delays the running of the statute until the plaintiff knew, or through the exercise of reasoanble diligence should have known, of the injury and its cause....[W]hen the underlying events being sued upon sound inherently in fraud or deceit...that, without more, will toll the statute of limitations until such time as the fraud has been revealed, or should have been revealed by the exercise of due diligence by the plaintiff.'"