Prince v. Sullivan, No. 90-2689

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore COFFEY, EASTERBROOK and KANNE; COFFEY
Citation933 F.2d 598
Parties, Unempl.Ins.Rep. CCH 16125A Charles PRINCE, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Louis W. SULLIVAN, M.D., Secretary of Health and Human Services, Defendant-Appellee.
Docket NumberNo. 90-2689
Decision Date03 June 1991

Page 598

933 F.2d 598
33 Soc.Sec.Rep.Ser. 415, Unempl.Ins.Rep. CCH 16125A
Charles PRINCE, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Louis W. SULLIVAN, M.D., Secretary of Health and Human
Services, Defendant-Appellee.
No. 90-2689.
United States Court of Appeals,
Seventh Circuit.
Argued April 24, 1991.
Decided June 3, 1991.

Page 599

Larry D. Gibson, Mt. Vernon, Ill., for plaintiff-appellant.

Laura J. Jones, Asst. U.S. Atty., Office of the U.S. Atty., Benton, Ill., Denise McDuffie Martin, Dept. of Health and Human Services, Region V, Office of the Gen. Counsel, Chicago, Ill., for defendant-appellee.

Before COFFEY, EASTERBROOK and KANNE, Circuit Judges.

COFFEY, Circuit Judge.

Plaintiff Charles Prince appeals from a summary judgment for defendant, the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The Secretary denied Prince's request for disability insurance benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 401, et seq., and for disability benefits under the Supplemental Security Income program in Title XVI of the Act, 42 U.S.C. Secs. 1381, 1382c. On appeal, Prince contends that there was not substantial evidence in the record to support the decision of the administrative law judge (ALJ) that he could perform his past relevant work as a heavy equipment operator. He also argues that the decision was contrary to several of the Secretary's rulings. For the reasons stated below, we reverse and remand.

I. FACTS

Prince was born on March 29, 1934 and has an eighth grade education. For two and one half weeks in the 1970's, he drove a grain dump truck during harvest time. From 1968 to 1985, he worked as a heavy equipment operator and mechanic, running earth moving machines called a road scraper and a road grader. For the heavy equipment job, he had to climb up onto the machinery to get inside and had to use hand and foot controls to operate the machines. These machines vibrate a great deal.

As a mechanic on this equipment, Prince had to lift up to 105 pounds. He also had to bend, stoop and crawl under the machinery and use hand tools. He had to leave the heavy equipment job in December 1985 because of rheumatoid arthritis which caused swelling in his neck, wrists, shoulders, hips, knees and feet. He also had soreness in his back and problems with gout.

He tried working again from time to time. In 1986, he worked one day running a road scraper, but he could not get his hands up high enough on the controls to dump the dirt. Also the floor boards of the machine were six feet off the ground, making it difficult to get on and off. When his gout flared up, he could not continue working. In 1987, he drove a road grader for one month. He worked just three or four days a week, sometimes for only four or five hours. Again he quit after his arthritis became so aggravated that he could not get back on the machine.

At a hearing before the ALJ on July 8, 1988, Prince testified that he has trouble walking due to stiffness in his ankles and knees from the arthritis and gout. The swelling causes him to walk like a "big penguin", and he has to walk up stairs

Page 600

sideways because of stiffness in his ankles. He can stand in one location for five to ten minutes before his lower back starts hurting.

He also has problems gripping with his hands. For example, he cannot go to the bathroom alone because he cannot pull his shorts down without assistance. His house does not have a shower and he cannot sit down in the bathtub, so his wife has to wash him while he stands. He also testified that he dropped a two-liter bottle of soda the day before the hearing because he could not hold onto it. Although he tries to walk, he ends up spending approximately half of the day in bed or laying on the couch. The rest of the time is spent sitting with his feet up. Until the hearing, he had not worn a pair of shoes for almost a year. His wife testified and corroborated his testimony.

The medical evidence showed that Prince had experienced numerous dislocations of his right shoulder starting in 1951. In October 1987, he underwent arthroscopy and surgical repair of the joint with staples. The medical report from the orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. James Chow, states that Prince was able to move his right elbow and wrist joint quite freely and moved his fingers well. A follow-up x-ray showed that the staple had maintained its proper position. Chow noted that Prince should avoid raising his arms above his head.

Dr. Robert Parks examined Prince in January 1988. Prince complained to Parks of gout and rheumatoid arthritis affecting primarily his ankles, fingers and wrists. Prince told Parks that he has flare-ups every one to four weeks. On good days--about two a week--he can walk extensively, while on bad days he is confined to using a walker or cane. Parks diagnosed gout and arthritis, both in remission. He noted that Prince could ambulate on his tiptoes and on his heels without problem and could heel-to-toe walk without problem. Except for the right shoulder, Prince had a full active and passive range of motion. Parks found no hot, red or tender joints or spindle shaped swelling of the hands, but he did note that Prince had very little grip in his hands.

In February 1988, Dr. G. White reviewed the medical records and made a residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment. He found that Prince could lift a maximum of fifty pounds and carry 25 pounds. He found Prince limited to occasional overhead reaching. He stated tht Prince could stand and walk a total of six hours in an eight hour work day and that he should avoid cold damp settings. Dr. Trilo Pardo, a state agency physician, agreed with White's functional capacity assessment. A third reviewing physician, Dr. John Holman, found that Prince was not disabled. A fourth reviewing physician, Dr. D. Widicus, came to the same conclusion as Dr. Holman.

In April 1988, Prince's treating physician, Dr. Anderson, reported that Prince had rheumatoid arthritis, gout and a chronic dislocated shoulder. He found swelling in the joints of Prince's hands, wrists and heels, and noted that Prince experienced pain in these areas. The swelling caused deformity in the hands, but not enough to impair Prince's ability to work as a heavy equipment operator. Anderson found no evidence that Prince's range of motion in his joints was limited. He stated that Prince limped on occasion from pain but was not required to use walking aids.

At the hearing, Dr. Brockman Schumacher, a vocational expert with a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, classified Prince's past work as semi-skilled and ranging from medium to heavy in its exertional level. He rated the work as a heavy equipment operator and mechanic as heavy....

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233 practice notes
  • Pope v. Shalala, No. 92-1084
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • August 30, 1993
    ...by her own regulations and rulings until she changes them, even when the action under review is discretionary. See Prince v. Sullivan, 933 F.2d 598, 602 (7th Cir.1991); NLRB v. Kemmerer Village, Inc., 907 F.2d 661, 663 (7th Cir.1990); Cardoza v. Commodity Futures Trading Comm'n, 768 F.2d 15......
  • Carradine v. Barnhart, No. 02-4318.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • March 12, 2004
    ...is not allowed to "reweigh the evidence nor does it reconsider credibility determinations made by the ALJ." Prince v. Sullivan, 933 F.2d 598, 601-02 (7th Cir.1991) (emphasis added); see also Sierra Res., Inc. v. Herman, 213 F.3d 989, 993 (7th Cir.2000) ("[Claimant] is asking ......
  • Ngarurih v. Ashcroft, No. 03-1144.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • June 10, 2004
    ...to keep aliens from prosecuting appeals from final orders of deportation. See Umanzor-Alvarado, 896 F.2d at 16. Accord Kaczmarczyk, 933 F.2d at 598. This concern reflected the fact that under pre-IIRIRA immigration law, a court of appeals lost jurisdiction of a petition for review once the ......
  • Rucker v. Shalala, No. IP94-1085-C-T/G.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court (Southern District of Indiana)
    • July 6, 1995
    ...1075 (7th Cir.1992); Farrell, 878 F.2d at 990. Neither may the court reconsider credibility determinations by the ALJ. Prince v. Sullivan, 933 F.2d 598, 601-02 (7th Cir.1991). Hence, a plaintiff's proof must show that no reasonable person, based 894 F. Supp. 1214 upon the record as a whole,......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
233 cases
  • Pope v. Shalala, No. 92-1084
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • August 30, 1993
    ...by her own regulations and rulings until she changes them, even when the action under review is discretionary. See Prince v. Sullivan, 933 F.2d 598, 602 (7th Cir.1991); NLRB v. Kemmerer Village, Inc., 907 F.2d 661, 663 (7th Cir.1990); Cardoza v. Commodity Futures Trading Comm'n, 768 F.2d 15......
  • Carradine v. Barnhart, No. 02-4318.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • March 12, 2004
    ...is not allowed to "reweigh the evidence nor does it reconsider credibility determinations made by the ALJ." Prince v. Sullivan, 933 F.2d 598, 601-02 (7th Cir.1991) (emphasis added); see also Sierra Res., Inc. v. Herman, 213 F.3d 989, 993 (7th Cir.2000) ("[Claimant] is asking ......
  • Ngarurih v. Ashcroft, No. 03-1144.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • June 10, 2004
    ...to keep aliens from prosecuting appeals from final orders of deportation. See Umanzor-Alvarado, 896 F.2d at 16. Accord Kaczmarczyk, 933 F.2d at 598. This concern reflected the fact that under pre-IIRIRA immigration law, a court of appeals lost jurisdiction of a petition for review once the ......
  • Rucker v. Shalala, No. IP94-1085-C-T/G.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court (Southern District of Indiana)
    • July 6, 1995
    ...1075 (7th Cir.1992); Farrell, 878 F.2d at 990. Neither may the court reconsider credibility determinations by the ALJ. Prince v. Sullivan, 933 F.2d 598, 601-02 (7th Cir.1991). Hence, a plaintiff's proof must show that no reasonable person, based 894 F. Supp. 1214 upon the record as a whole,......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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