Young v. Secretary of Health and Human Services, No. 91-1399

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtCUDAHY
Citation957 F.2d 386
Parties, Unempl.Ins.Rep. (CCH) P 16471A, 2 NDLR P 257 John S. YOUNG, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, Defendant-Appellee.
Decision Date28 February 1992
Docket NumberNo. 91-1399

Page 386

957 F.2d 386
36 Soc.Sec.Rep.Ser. 390, Unempl.Ins.Rep. (CCH) P 16471A,
2 NDLR P 257
John S. YOUNG, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, Defendant-Appellee.
No. 91-1399.
United States Court of Appeals,
Seventh Circuit.
Argued Nov. 12, 1991.
Decided Feb. 28, 1992.

Page 387

Kenneth F. Laritz (argued), Warren, Mich. and Gerald Benjamin, Southfield, Mich., for plaintiff-appellant.

Clifford D. Johnson, Asst. U.S. Atty., Office of the U.S. Atty., South Bend, Ind., and Denise McDuffie Martin (argued), Dept. of Health and Human Services, Region V, Office of the Gen. Counsel, Chicago, Ill., for defendant-appellee.

Before CUMMINGS, WOOD, Jr. * and CUDAHY, Circuit Judges.

Page 388

CUDAHY, Circuit Judge.

John S. Young applied for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (benefits) from the Secretary of Health and Human Services (Secretary). An administrative law judge (ALJ) denied benefits, finding that Mr. Young did not have a severe impairment. Mr. Young appealed that decision to the Appeals Council (Council), which also denied benefits but based its decision on different grounds. The Council found that Mr. Young did have a severe impairment, but that this impairment did not fulfill the criteria for a finding of disability. In the same connection, the Council found that Mr. Young had the residual functional capacity to perform his past relevant work. Mr. Young appealed the Council decision to the district court which affirmed the Secretary, finding that the decision was supported by substantial evidence. Mr. Young now appeals and we vacate and remand.

I.

John Young is a graduate of Indiana University with a bachelor's degree in Liberal Arts. He was fifty-five years old at the time of his 1988 hearing. He suffers from epilepsy and complications relating to the treatment of that disease. He developed epilepsy in 1955 when he was involved in an automobile accident, in which he suffered a head injury and lapsed into a coma. He recovered from the coma and the resulting amnestic condition, but developed a history of grand mal and petit mal seizures. He has undergone two brain surgeries to attempt to correct the problem, one of which was a lobotomy. He takes several prescription drugs to control his seizures, including Dilantin, Tegretol and Phenobarbital.

During the time relevant to this application, Mr. Young's seizures were successfully controlled by this medication. However, he asserts that the medication, as well as the surgeries, have caused him to undergo personality changes. These changes have affected his personal relationships. At home, he has become difficult to live with, exhibiting antisocial behavior, poor personal hygiene and poor communication skills. Mr. Young's antisocial behavior is manifested in his vocabulary as well as in public displays of vulgarity such as painting obscene words on the garage door of his home. He has exhibited pornographic photographs to a (then) minor son and the son's friends. This behavior resulted in a divorce and in alienation of his family. Mr. Young states that people seemed to find him repulsive although he did have a few friends.

Mr. Young also asserts that his ability to work quickly, or even properly, was affected by medication and surgeries. At General Motors, Mr. Young was asked by his supervisors to take sick leave in 1979 because he could not adequately perform his job. Notably, Mr. Young did not perceive his work performance in the same light as his supervisors. He felt, apparently erroneously, that his work performance was satisfactory. After a year of sick leave, he was put on disability retirement and has not been employed since 1980. The relevant time period encompassed by his current application is from June 4, 1981, to September 30, 1985, the final date of his eligibility. 1

II.

The Seventh Circuit decides disability cases, as does the district court, by reviewing the final decision of the Secretary to ensure that it is supported by substantial evidence. Key v. Sullivan, 925 F.2d 1056, 1061 (7th Cir.1991). The Secretary has delegated authority to make the final decision to the Council. Arbogast v. Bowen, 860 F.2d 1400, 1402 (7th Cir.1988). Thus, we review the factual findings of the Council, not those of the ALJ. Pitts v. Sullivan, 923 F.2d 561, 564 (7th Cir.1991). When reviewing those findings, we do not determine if the claimant is disabled, nor do we reweigh the evidence. Stuckey v. Sullivan, 881 F.2d 506, 508 (7th Cir.1989). However, when evaluating whether substantial

Page 389

evidence exists to support the decision, we consider the relevant evidence that a reasonable person might accept as adequate to support a conclusion, taking into account anything in the record that fairly detracts from its weight. Arbogast, 860 F.2d at 1403. Substantial evidence may be something less than the greater weight or preponderance of the evidence. Delgado v. Bowen, 782 F.2d 79, 83 (7th Cir.1986).

When considering whether a claimant is eligible for benefits, the Secretary uses a five-step inquiry: 1) is the claimant presently unemployed; 2) is the claimant's impairment or combination of impairments severe; 3) does the impairment meet or exceed any of the list of specific impairments (the grid) that the Secretary acknowledges to be so severe as to preclude substantial gainful activity; 4) if the impairment has not been listed by the Secretary as conclusively disabling, is the claimant unable to perform his or her former occupation; and 5) if the claimant cannot perform the past occupation, is the claimant unable to perform other work in the national economy in light of his or her age, education and work experience. A negative conclusion at any step (except for step three) precludes a finding of disability. An affirmative answer at steps one, two or four leads to the next step. An affirmative answer at steps three or five results in a finding of disability. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520 (1991); Bowen v. Yuckert, 482 U.S. 137, 140-42, 107 S.Ct. 2287, 2290-92, 96 L.Ed.2d 119 (1987); Arbogast, 860 F.2d at 1403 n. 1. The claimant bears the burden of proof in steps one through four. If that burden is met, the burden shifts to the Secretary to prove that the claimant cannot perform other work in the economy. Ray v. Bowen, 843 F.2d 998 (7th Cir.1988).

The Council reviewed the medical evidence to make its findings. In those findings, the Council briefly stated that Mr. Young was not disabled under each step of the inquiry. The Council also concluded that during the period of claimed disability Mr. Young could perform work as a shipping and receiving clerk, as a scheduler or as a checker. Mr. Young raises several arguments to refute these conclusions. 2

A. Organic Mental Disorder.

Mr. Young claims to suffer from an organic mental disorder as defined in the regulations. 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1, 12.02 (1991). The Council disagreed. To reach its conclusion, the Council performed a multi-level analysis. First, it determined that Mr. Young suffers from a severe mental impairment. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520a(c)(1) (1991). Next, the Council examined the mental impairments that, if shown, the Secretary presumes disabling. 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1, 12.02-12.08 (1991). 3 The Council determined that Mr. Young suffered from none of these listed impairments.

One of the listed disabilities describes "organic mental disorders." 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1, 12.02. To qualify for benefits pursuant to this regulation, the claimant must fulfill the criteria in both section A and section B of the statute. The Council found that Mr. Young fulfills the section A criteria. 4 The

Page 390

Council found, however, that Mr. Young does not fulfill the criteria under section B. Section B lists four functional limitations related to "organic mental disorders." Two of the four must be present to fulfill the requirements of section B. These limitations are: 1) marked restriction of activities of daily living; 2) marked difficulties in maintaining social functioning; 3) deficiencies of concentration, persistence or pace resulting in frequent failure to complete tasks in a timely manner (in work settings or elsewhere); or 4) repeated episodes of deterioration or decompensation in work or work-like settings which cause the individual to withdraw from a particular situation or to experience exacerbation of signs and symptoms (which may include deterioration of adaptive behaviors). 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1, 12.02(B)(1)-(4). These are superficially the same four criteria by which the Council determined that Mr. Young had a "severe mental impairment." However, the criteria for finding a "severe mental impairment" do not demand as great a degree of limitation as do the criteria for an "organic mental disorder."

First, the Council decided that Mr. Young does not suffer a marked restriction in his daily living. Mr. Young lived both alone and with his mother at the relevant times and stated that he performed household chores and grocery shopping and carried on a hobby (Mr. Young collects stamps).

Second, the Council decided that the appellant has a moderate degree of impairment of social skills. The Council considered physicians' reports and affidavits submitted by some of Mr. Young's relatives, as well as statements made by Mr. Young and a casual social acquaintance. These statements and affidavits detailed his social problems and discussed his ability to interact with others.

Third, the Council decided that Mr. Young seldom suffered from "deficiencies of concentration, persistence or pace resulting in frequent failure to complete tasks in a timely manner." This conclusion was supported by the report of Dr. Uematsu, the surgeon who performed the appellant's lobotomy. Dr. Uematsu stated that Mr. Young "appeared to be confident mentally" but that he needed to be evaluated further by cortical function 5 and...

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678 practice notes
  • Gregory B. v. Saul, CIVIL NO. 2:19cv184
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Indiana
    • March 2, 2020
    ...Commissioner and ALJ provide, does notPage 25 substitute for meaningful analysis of evidence. Young v. Sec'y of Health and Human Servs., 957 F.2d 386, 393 (7th Cir. 1992). SSR 96-8p required the ALJ to "include a narrative discussion describing how the evidence supports each conclusion, cit......
  • Marnell v. Barnhart, No. C02-4020-PAZ.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • March 31, 2003
    ...Circuits have held an ALJ's credibility determinations are entitled to considerable weight. See, e.g., Young v. Secretary of H.H.S., 957 F.2d 386, 392 (7th Cir.1992) (citing Cheshier v. Bowen, 831 F.2d 687, 690 (7th Cir.1987)); Gooch v. Secretary of H.H.S., 833 F.2d 589, 592 (6th Cir.1987),......
  • Keehn v. Halter, No. C00-3064-MWB (N.D. Iowa 3/23/2002), No. C00-3064-MWB.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • March 23, 2002
    ...Circuits have held an ALJ's credibility determinations are entitled to considerable weight. See, e.g., Young v. Secretary of H.H.S., 957 F.2d 386, 392 (7th Cir. 1992) (citing Cheshier v. Bowen, 831 F.2d 687, 690 (7th Cir. 1987)); Gooch v. Secretary of H.H.S., 833 F.2d 589, 592 (6th Cir. 198......
  • Deakins v. Barnhart, No. C02-4054-MWB (N.D. Iowa 5/29/2003), No. C02-4054-MWB.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • May 29, 2003
    ...Circuits have held an ALJ's credibility determinations are entitled to considerable weight. See, e.g., Young v. Secretary of H.H.S., 957 F.2d 386, 392 (7th Cir. 1992) (citing Cheshier v. Bowen, 831 F.2d 687, 690 (7th Cir. 1987)); Gooch v. Secretary of H.H.S., 833 F.2d 589, 592 (6th Cir. 198......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
681 cases
  • Gregory B. v. Saul, CIVIL NO. 2:19cv184
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Indiana
    • March 2, 2020
    ...Commissioner and ALJ provide, does notPage 25 substitute for meaningful analysis of evidence. Young v. Sec'y of Health and Human Servs., 957 F.2d 386, 393 (7th Cir. 1992). SSR 96-8p required the ALJ to "include a narrative discussion describing how the evidence supports each conclusion, cit......
  • Marnell v. Barnhart, No. C02-4020-PAZ.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • March 31, 2003
    ...Circuits have held an ALJ's credibility determinations are entitled to considerable weight. See, e.g., Young v. Secretary of H.H.S., 957 F.2d 386, 392 (7th Cir.1992) (citing Cheshier v. Bowen, 831 F.2d 687, 690 (7th Cir.1987)); Gooch v. Secretary of H.H.S., 833 F.2d 589, 592 (6th Cir.1987),......
  • Keehn v. Halter, No. C00-3064-MWB (N.D. Iowa 3/23/2002), No. C00-3064-MWB.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • March 23, 2002
    ...Circuits have held an ALJ's credibility determinations are entitled to considerable weight. See, e.g., Young v. Secretary of H.H.S., 957 F.2d 386, 392 (7th Cir. 1992) (citing Cheshier v. Bowen, 831 F.2d 687, 690 (7th Cir. 1987)); Gooch v. Secretary of H.H.S., 833 F.2d 589, 592 (6th Cir. 198......
  • Deakins v. Barnhart, No. C02-4054-MWB (N.D. Iowa 5/29/2003), No. C02-4054-MWB.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • May 29, 2003
    ...Circuits have held an ALJ's credibility determinations are entitled to considerable weight. See, e.g., Young v. Secretary of H.H.S., 957 F.2d 386, 392 (7th Cir. 1992) (citing Cheshier v. Bowen, 831 F.2d 687, 690 (7th Cir. 1987)); Gooch v. Secretary of H.H.S., 833 F.2d 589, 592 (6th Cir. 198......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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