Childress v. Colvin, 010417 FED7, 16-1601

Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
Judge Panel:Before Posner, Kanne, and Sykes, Circuit Judges.
Opinion Judge:POSNER, Circuit Judge.
Party Name:Stacy L. Childress, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security Defendant-Appellee.
Case Date:January 04, 2017
Docket Nº:16-1601

Stacy L. Childress, Plaintiff-Appellant,


Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security Defendant-Appellee.

No. 16-1601

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

January 4, 2017

          Argued December 13, 2016

         Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois. No. 2:14-CV-00297-CSB-DGB - Colin S. Bruce, Judge.

          Before Posner, Kanne, and Sykes, Circuit Judges.

          POSNER, Circuit Judge.

         The plaintiff-appellant, Mr. Chil-dress, applied to the Social Security Administration for disability benefits in 2008, when he was 35. Turned down in 2010 after a hearing before an administrative law judge, he appealed to the district court, which initially remanded the case to the Social Security Administration for reevaluation of the medical opinions in the record and reconsideration of the plaintiff's credibility. The upshot was a second hearing, held in 2013, before the same administrative law judge, who again ruled that Childress was not disabled; and this time the district court affirmed, precipitating his appeal to us. He complains that the administrative law judge again failed to give sufficient weight to the opinions of his treating physicians and did not accurately assess his credibility or his capacity to work.

         The administrative law judge ruled in the second round that Childress could perform only limited sedentary work (and nothing more strenuous), because he is capable of standing for only 25 to 30 minutes at a time and of walking 1 to 2 blocks at a time, adding up to a maximum of 2 hours a day of either walking or standing; he is capable of sitting 45 to 60 minutes at a time, for a total of 6 hours a day; and he is capable of carrying out workplace instructions-provided he was given them no more than 30 days earlier. The administrative law judge also ruled that he must avoid strenuous work, dangerous machinery, unprotected heights, and exposure to extreme heat.

         The medical evidence presented by Childress's treating physicians was extensive. A cardiologist who had been treating Childress for years, Dr. Theodore Addai, reported that Childress suffers from congestive heart failure, cardiomyo-pathy (another disease that diminishes cardiac performance), severe asthma, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, actually one or more of a set of distinct diseases, all of which however are debilitating, progressive, and potentially fatal lung diseases), occasional chest pain, obesity (he weighs 350 pounds yet is only 69 inches-five feet nine inches-tall), hypertension, and dyspnea (difficult or un- comfortable breathing, resulting in shortness of breath). He was prescribed a number of medications: Advair, Benazepril, Coreg, Diovan, Lanoxin, Lasix, Norvasc, Proven-til, and Spiriva. We are not told whether any of them have side effects that are harmful or that affect work capacity, either in general or with specific respect to Childress.

         The percentage of blood pumped out of the ventricles with each contraction of the heart (i.e., each heartbeat) is called the "ejection fraction" (EF). The EF number helps a health-care provider determine whether a patient has heart disease. A normal heart has an EF of 50 to 75 percent in the left ventricle. (The right ventricle can have a lower EF without being abnormal, because it pumps blood only to the lungs, whereas...

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