Anderson v. Sullivan, No. 89-3287

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore GEE, WILLIAMS, and DUHE; PER CURIAM
Citation887 F.2d 630
Decision Date07 November 1989
Docket NumberNo. 89-3287
Parties, Unempl.Ins.Rep. CCH 15060A Robert J. ANDERSON Jr., Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Louis W. SULLIVAN, M.D., Secretary of Health and Human Services, Defendant-Appellee.

Page 630

887 F.2d 630
27 Soc.Sec.Rep.Ser. 339, Unempl.Ins.Rep. CCH 15060A
Robert J. ANDERSON Jr., Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Louis W. SULLIVAN, M.D., Secretary of Health and Human
Services, Defendant-Appellee.
No. 89-3287
Summary Calendar.
United States Court of Appeals,
Fifth Circuit.
Nov. 7, 1989.

Page 631

M. Chadwick Pellerin, LaBorde, Pellerin, Villemarette, New Orleans, La., for plaintiff-appellant.

Marguerite Lokey, John M. Gough, Dallas, Tex., for defendant-appellee.

Appeal from the United States District Court For the Eastern District of Louisiana.

Before GEE, WILLIAMS, and DUHE, Circuit Judges.

PER CURIAM:

FACTS

The appellant, Robert J. Anderson Jr., appeals from denial of his April 1986 claim for Social Security disability and supplemental security income payments. He was born on August 25, 1944. He has a high school education and took a trade school course in carpentry. Prior to initially claiming disability benefits, he built structures, supervised 12-13 men, and traveled from place to place bidding on different building jobs.

The appellant was first injured on August 16, 1982. He was treated by Dr. Schumacher who found a 10 percent impairment of the body due to neck and back injuries. The doctor believed, however, that the appellant would be able to return to some sort of gainful employment. Two other physicians concurred.

He injured his ankle in August of 1985 while working on an automobile. The appellant underwent a series of examinations

Page 632

in 1985 and 1986. One examination showed that the motor strength in his left leg was less than in his right. A subsequent examination in 1986 revealed that the plaintiff suffered from lower back problems.

The appellant filed his first claim for disability benefits on January 29, 1985. The Administrative Law Judge denied the claim in January of 1986 because he found that Anderson could do sedentary work; and that the claimant's allegations of pain were not credible. These findings were not appealed.

In connection with the present claim filed on April 22, 1986, the appellant underwent a consultative examination by Dr. Williams who stated that the "physical findings ... were conflicting." The appellant did not "flex or extend his trunk while standing but he was "able to sit fully erect on the examining table with his knees completely extended without any apparent discomfort." Appellant carried crutches but walked without a limp. The ALJ relied heavily on these observations in finding that the appellant's complaints of pain were not credible. He found that the appellant suffered from a severe musculoskeletal impairment which precludes him from doing his past work. The ALJ then determined that the appellants' residual functional capacity, age, education, and past work experience required a finding of not disabled under the Medical Vocational Guidelines.

The appeals council denied review and the appellant sought judicial review. The magistrate agreed with the ALJ but supplemented his findings pointing out that the appellant's daily activities were not consistent with his claim that he is in too much pain to do sedentary work. The appellant testified that he fishes, attends church regularly, shops with his wife, and visits friends and relatives. The magistrate's recommendations were adopted by the district court.

Anderson contends on appeal that the ALJ made three reversible errors: he applied the wrong legal standard, he refused to order a necessary test, and he erred in using the Medical Vocational Guidelines. 1

BURDEN OF PROOF AND STANDARD OF REVIEW

A sequential process is used to determine whether a claimant is disabled and, therefore, entitled to benefits:

First, it is determined whether the claimant is engaged in work that constitutes 'substantial gainful activity.' 20 C.F.R. Sec. 404.1520(b). The claimant's impairment is then evaluated to determine whether it is severe. Id. at Sec. 404.1520(c). If so, the plaintiff's condition is compared with a list of impairments compiled by the Secretary, see 20 C.F.R. Sec. 404, App. I, and if it meets or equals a listed impairment, the claimant is considered automatically disabled. 20 C.F.R. Sec. 404.1520(d). If not, the next stage of the disability evaluation asks whether the claimant's impairment prevents the performance of his previous employment. Id. at Sec. 404.1520(e). If unable to continue in previous employment, the next inquiry is whether he can do any other 'substantial gainful work which exists in the national economy.' 42 U.S.C. Sec. 423(d)(2)(A).... If not, he is disabled within the meaning of the act.

Herron v. Bowen, 788 F.2d 1127 (5th Cir.1986). See also Fields v. Bowen, 805 F.2d 1168, 1170 (5th Cir.1986) (per curiam). The appellant cannot perform his previous work. The sole issue, therefore, is whether the last step was properly carried out.

The burden of proof is initially on the claimant. If the claimant proves that he is unable to do his previous work, the burden shifts to the Secretary to show that there is other substantial work which the claimant can perform. If the Secretary meets this burden, the burden shifts back to the claimant to show that he cannot perform this

Page 633

alternative work. See Fraga v. Bowen, 810 F.2d 1296, 1301-02 (5th Cir.1987).

This Court, moreover, is limited in the scope of review which it may undertake:

In reviewing disability determinations by the Secretary, this Court's role is limited to determining whether substantial evidence exists in the record, considered as a whole, to support the Secretary's factual findings and whether any errors of law were made.... To be substantial, evidence must be relevant and sufficient for a reasonable mind to accept as adequate to support a...

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475 practice notes
  • Brown v. Comm'r, Soc. Sec. Admin., CIVIL ACTION NO. 6:12CV804
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Court of Eastern District Texas
    • March 24, 2014
    ...but shifts to the Commissioner at Step Five if the claimant shows that he cannot perform his past relevant work. Anderson v. Sullivan, 887 F.2d 630, 632-33 (5th Cir. 1989) (per curiam). Because Plaintiff proceeded pro se at the administrative hearing, the ALJ had a heightened duty to "scrup......
  • Pope v. Shalala, No. 92-1084
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • August 30, 1993
    ...Green v. Schweiker, 749 F.2d 1066, 1070-71 (3d Cir.1984); Walker v. Bowen, 889 F.2d 47, 49 (4th Cir.1989); Anderson v. Sullivan, 887 F.2d 630, 633 (5th Cir.1989); Blankenship v. Bowen, 874 F.2d 1116, 1123 (6th Cir.1989); Penn v. Sullivan, 896 F.2d 313, 315 (8th Cir.1990); Bunnell, 947 F.2d ......
  • Doddy v. Comm'r, Soc. Sec. Admin., CIVIL ACTION NO. 2:12CV384
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Court of Eastern District Texas
    • March 27, 2014
    ...but shifts to the Commissioner at Step Five if the claimant shows that he cannot perform his past relevant work. Anderson v. Sullivan, 887 F.2d 630, 632-33 (5th Cir. 1989) (per curiam). In this case, Plaintiff did show that she cannot perform her past work. Section 12.05 of the Social Secur......
  • Miles v. Comm'r, Soc. Sec. Admin., CIVIL ACTION NO. 6:12CV113
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Texas
    • September 4, 2013
    ...but shifts to the Commissioner at Step Five if the claimant shows that he cannot perform his past relevant work. Anderson v. Sullivan, 887 F.2d 630, 632-33 (5th Cir. 1989) (per curiam). The procedure for evaluating a mental impairment is set forth in 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520a and 416.920a (the......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
480 cases
  • Brown v. Comm'r, Soc. Sec. Admin., CIVIL ACTION NO. 6:12CV804
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Court of Eastern District Texas
    • March 24, 2014
    ...but shifts to the Commissioner at Step Five if the claimant shows that he cannot perform his past relevant work. Anderson v. Sullivan, 887 F.2d 630, 632-33 (5th Cir. 1989) (per curiam). Because Plaintiff proceeded pro se at the administrative hearing, the ALJ had a heightened duty to "scrup......
  • Pope v. Shalala, No. 92-1084
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • August 30, 1993
    ...Green v. Schweiker, 749 F.2d 1066, 1070-71 (3d Cir.1984); Walker v. Bowen, 889 F.2d 47, 49 (4th Cir.1989); Anderson v. Sullivan, 887 F.2d 630, 633 (5th Cir.1989); Blankenship v. Bowen, 874 F.2d 1116, 1123 (6th Cir.1989); Penn v. Sullivan, 896 F.2d 313, 315 (8th Cir.1990); Bunnell, 947 F.2d ......
  • Doddy v. Comm'r, Soc. Sec. Admin., CIVIL ACTION NO. 2:12CV384
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Court of Eastern District Texas
    • March 27, 2014
    ...but shifts to the Commissioner at Step Five if the claimant shows that he cannot perform his past relevant work. Anderson v. Sullivan, 887 F.2d 630, 632-33 (5th Cir. 1989) (per curiam). In this case, Plaintiff did show that she cannot perform her past work. Section 12.05 of the Social Secur......
  • Miles v. Comm'r, Soc. Sec. Admin., CIVIL ACTION NO. 6:12CV113
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Texas
    • September 4, 2013
    ...but shifts to the Commissioner at Step Five if the claimant shows that he cannot perform his past relevant work. Anderson v. Sullivan, 887 F.2d 630, 632-33 (5th Cir. 1989) (per curiam). The procedure for evaluating a mental impairment is set forth in 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520a and 416.920a (the......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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