Thursday, March 29, 2007

disability - all evidence - forest/trees - treating physician

Martinez-Ortiz v. Astrue - ED Pa. - March 27, 2007

This disability case was remanded because

- treating physician - The ALJ did not give proper weight to the treating physician's opinion, which is "normally entitled to significant weight, and...cannot be disregarded 'for no reason or for the wrong reason.'"

- expression of opinion about disability - The ALJ improperly rejected the opinion of a treating physician whom he said was trying to qualify the claimant for benefits. The court responded by saying the "a treating doctor's opinion cannot be rejected because it discusses whether the plaintiff is disabled."

- all of the evidence - The ALJ failed to evaluate the claimant's overall condition and "instead relied upon certain discrete findings of physicians...and used those findings to reject" the treating physician's opinion. "In doing so, the ALJ unacceptably focused on the trees to the exclusion of the forest."