Puckett v. Chater, No. 95-2238

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore PORFILIO, LOGAN, and LUCERO; LOGAN
Citation100 F.3d 730
PartiesR. CHRIS PUCKETT, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. SHIRLEY S. CHATER, Commissioner, Social Security Administration, * Defendant-Appellee
Docket NumberNo. 95-2238
Decision Date12 November 1996

Page 730

100 F.3d 730
R. CHRIS PUCKETT, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
SHIRLEY S. CHATER, Commissioner, Social Security Administration,* Defendant-Appellee.
No. 95-2238
United States Court of Appeals,
Tenth Circuit
November 12, 1996

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico, (D.C. No. CIV-94-1314-JC)

Page 731

James A. Burke, Santa Fe, New Mexico, for Plaintiff-Appellant.

John J. Kelly, United States Attorney, Joseph B. Liken, Acting Chief Counsel, Region VI, Linda H. Green, Assistant Regional Counsel, Office of the General Counsel, U.S. Social Security Administration, Dallas, Texas, for Defendant-Appellee.

Before PORFILIO, LOGAN, and LUCERO, Circuit Judges.

LOGAN, Circuit Judge.

Plaintiff R. Chris Puckett appeals the district court's judgment affirming the Secretary's decision denying plaintiff's application for social security disability benefits. The principal issue on appeal is whether plaintiff's difficulty in repairing or replacing a prosthesis for his leg qualifies as a stump complication or its equivalent under 20 C.F.R. pt. 404, subpt. P, app. 1, Section(s) 1.10C.3.

We review to determine whether the Secretary applied the correct legal standards and whether substantial evidence in the administrative record viewed as a whole supports the factual findings. Castellano v. Secretary of Health & Human Servs., 26 F.3d 1027, 1028 (10th Cir. 1994). We affirm.1

Plaintiff's left leg was amputated above the knee in 1969, after he was injured in a motorcycle accident. He received a prosthesis about a year and a half later, following three surgeries to shape his bone and stump. During the following twenty years, he successfully used the prosthesis and worked as a counselor, assistant director and community outreach worker at a drug rehabilitation center, a purchasing agent, and a graphic artist. Most recently, in 1989, he worked for Color Tile in sales and loading and unloading trucks. In August 1989 while unloading a ninety pound box of marble, plaintiff's prosthesis broke. Plaintiff stopped working for Color Tile in December 1989 because his prosthesis had deteriorated badly and was damaging his stump. From December 1989 until April 1992, he had a prosthesis but had considerable difficulties getting it to fit properly. The records of his physician, John Allen, M.D., noted continuing problems with the fit during this period. In April 1992, after switching prosthetic technicians, plaintiff obtained a new prosthesis with a satisfactory fit.

Plaintiff's application for disability benefits alleged disability beginning in December 1989, due to the amputation of his left leg, back pain with degenerated discs, and arthritis. The administrative law judge (ALJ) determined that although plaintiff "has severe limitations secondary to status post amputation of the left leg," he did not have an impairment or combination of impairments meeting or medically equal to the listings and his subjective complaints lacked credibility. Appellant's Supp. App. of Admin. Rec. (Supp. App.) 22. The ALJ further determined that plaintiff could perform his past relevant work as a counselor, assistant director/community

Page 732

outreach worker, and graphic artist. Accordingly, the ALJ concluded at step four of the controlling sequential analysis, see generally Williams v. Bowen, 844 F.2d 748, 750-52 (10th Cir. 1988) (discussing five-step analysis set out in 20 C.F.R. Section(s) 404.1520), that plaintiff was not disabled. The Appeals Council denied review. The district court upheld the Secretary's decision, and plaintiff appealed.

I.

Plaintiff first argues that he is entitled to a finding of disability at step three of the sequential analysis because he met Listing Section(s) 1.10C.3. See 20 C.F.R. pt. 404, subpt. P, app. 1, Section(s) 1.10C.3. Listing Section(s) 1.10C.3 describes an impairment which by itself is of such severity that it prevents a claimant from performing any gainful activity. See Kemp v. Bowen, 816 F.2d 1469, 1473 (10th Cir. 1987) (citing 20 C.F.R. Section(s) 404.1525(a)). In relevant part, it provides for a determination of disability for claimants with an amputation of a lower extremity who have an "[i]nability to use a prosthesis effectively, without obligatory assistive devices, due to one of the following: . . . 3. Stump too short or stump complications persistent, or are expected to persist, for at least 12 months from onset." 20 C.F.R. pt. 404, subpt. P, app. 1, Section(s) 1.10C.3.

Plaintiff contends that the evidence shows he was unable for two years to obtain a satisfactory prosthetic fit, resulting in pain and irritation to his stump, groin, and back. The Secretary does not dispute the allegation of an ill-fitting prosthesis. Rather, she argues that plaintiff's problems are not stump problems, as is required by the listing, but instead are problems with the prosthetic socket. Plaintiff counters that no distinction should be made between stump and socket problems under the listing, because the stump redness and irritation rendered the prosthesis ineffective.

The issue before us concerns the proper interpretation of Listing Section(s) 1.10C.3. Only two circuits have discussed that listing. In Gagnon v. Secretary of Health & Human Services, 666 F.2d 662, 664 (1st Cir. 1981), the evidence showed the claimant had worn a prosthesis daily for many years. Although he asserted his amputated leg was infected and he found it difficult to use his prosthesis, he could stand for at least two hours per day and walk one-half mile. The court held that the claimant could use his prosthesis satisfactorily even though a new type of prosthesis might be better, and that he did not meet Listing Section(s) 1.10C.3. Gagnon did not directly address whether prosthesis fit problems are within the scope of the listing.

In Gamble v. Chater, 68 F.3d 319, 322 (9th Cir. 1995), the court held "that a person whose leg was amputated at or above the...

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15 practice notes
  • Salazar v. Colvin, Case No. CIV-13-878-F
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. Western District of Oklahoma
    • September 9, 2014
    ...or indication that Plaintiff was denied the opportunity to develop a full and adequate record in this case. See Puckett v. Chater, 100 F.3d 730, 734 (10th Cir. 1996) (rejecting a claimant's assertion of bias when claimant received a full opportunity to develop the record). To the contrary, ......
  • Cooper v. Colvin, No. C15-2026-CJW
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • June 17, 2016
    ...equivalent" to a Listing if the medical findings are at least equal in severity and duration to the listed findings. Puckett v. Chater, 100 F.3d 730, 733 (10th Cir. 1996). The medical equivalence determination is based solely on medical findings. Id. (citing 20 C.F.R. § 404.1526). To satisf......
  • Bayliss v. Barnhart, No. 04-35634.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • November 2, 2005
    ...did not establish bias because the ALJ's conclusion denying disability benefits was supported by substantial evidence); Puckett v. Chater, 100 F.3d 730, 734 (10th Cir.1996) (holding that the ALJ's refusal to provide the claimant's counsel with records and a doctor's notes before counsel cro......
  • Applications, hearings, determinations, etc.: Cropper, Rosalind A., M.D.,
    • United States
    • Federal Register August 06, 2001
    • August 6, 2001
    ...5 U.S.C. 556(d) (2000). Anderson v. United States, 799 F. Supp. 1198, 1202 (Ct. Int'l Trade 1992). See, e.g., Puckett v. Chater, 100 F.3d 730, 734 (10th Cir. 1996); Director of the Office of Thrift Supervision v. Lopez, 960 F.2d 958, 964, n.11 (11th Cir. 1992). The sections governing these ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
14 cases
  • Salazar v. Colvin, Case No. CIV-13-878-F
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. Western District of Oklahoma
    • September 9, 2014
    ...or indication that Plaintiff was denied the opportunity to develop a full and adequate record in this case. See Puckett v. Chater, 100 F.3d 730, 734 (10th Cir. 1996) (rejecting a claimant's assertion of bias when claimant received a full opportunity to develop the record). To the contrary, ......
  • Cooper v. Colvin, No. C15-2026-CJW
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • June 17, 2016
    ...equivalent" to a Listing if the medical findings are at least equal in severity and duration to the listed findings. Puckett v. Chater, 100 F.3d 730, 733 (10th Cir. 1996). The medical equivalence determination is based solely on medical findings. Id. (citing 20 C.F.R. § 404.1526). To satisf......
  • Bayliss v. Barnhart, No. 04-35634.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • November 2, 2005
    ...did not establish bias because the ALJ's conclusion denying disability benefits was supported by substantial evidence); Puckett v. Chater, 100 F.3d 730, 734 (10th Cir.1996) (holding that the ALJ's refusal to provide the claimant's counsel with records and a doctor's notes before counsel cro......
  • Cobb v. Colvin, Civil Action No. 13-cv-03031-PAB
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Court of Colorado
    • March 30, 2016
    ...the record and to present evidence.” Qualls v. Astrue , 428 Fed.Appx. 841, 849 (10th Cir.2011) (unpublished) (quoting Puckett v. Chater , 100 F.3d 730, 734 (10th Cir.1996) ). Here, plaintiff has not demonstrated that the ALJ's comment is evidence of bias. First, the ALJ allowed plaintiff th......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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