Wednesday, June 24, 2009

disability - attorney fees - "substantially justified"

Cruz v. Astrue - ED Pa. - June 22, 2009

http://www.paed.uscourts.gov/documents/opinions/09D0725P.pdf

Despite the plaintiff having prevailed, the court held that the position of SSA was substantially justified, because

- treating physician - there were inconsistencies in the Medical Source Statement, records, and objective tests

- credibility - "Given the conflict between subjective complaints and the other evidence, the ALJ’s finding that plaintiff was not totally credible was reasonable, and the Commissioner’s defense of the same was substantially justified."

- witness testimony - testimony of plaintiff's daughter was "not particularly probative," not in conflict with ALJ findings, and "not unbiased"

- RFC assessment - state agency opinions, on which the ALJ relied, were "most consistent with the medical evidence"

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