HILBERT v. COLVIN
REMAND ORDER - After oral argument before the Court on 7/16/2014, REMAND of this case is ordered because the ALJ did not properly apply the treating physician rule in her opinion. Signed by Magistrate Judge William G. Hussmann, Jr on 7/25/2014.(JLM)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
NEW ALBANY DIVISION
JESSICA ANN HILBERT, Social
Security No. XXX-XX-1633,
CAROLYN W. COLVIN,
Acting Commissioner of Social
After oral argument before the Court on July 16, 2014, I ORDER
REMAND of this case because the ALJ did not properly apply the treating
physician rule in her opinion at page 27of the Record.
Campbell v. Astrue, 627 F.3d 299, 306-08 (7th Cir. 2010), discusses the
“treating physician’s” rule applied in many social security cases. Under that
rule, a treating physician’s opinion is entitled to controlling weight if it is wellsupported by medically acceptable clinical and laboratory diagnostic
techniques and is not inconsistent with other substantial evidence.1
Furthermore, the ALJ must give good reasons for discounting the treating
physician’s opinion.2 Lastly, the ALJ must state these reasons in a manner
Id. at 306.
Id.; Roddy v. Astrue, 705 F.3d 631, 636-37 (7th Cir. 2013); Punzio v. Astrue, 630
F.3d 704, 710 (7th Cir. 2011).
that is not conclusory3, and she may not selectively discuss only those parts of
the opinion that support a finding of non-disability while ignoring other
portions that suggest disability4.
Here, Dr. Kalovidouris’s opinion arises out of the only clinical
examination and testing in the record. Consulting physician Dr. Saddoris and
medical expert Dr. Miller both agree that the Plaintiff was properly diagnosed
with fibromyalgia. There is no medical opinion on the record that the Plaintiff
does not meet the criteria for that diagnosis.
The entirety of the ALJ’s discussion of Dr. Kalovidouris’s opinion is found
at page 27 of the Record as follows:
I give little weight to Dr. Kalovidouris’ opinion as is it
consistent with the opinions of the State agency medical
consultant and the medical expert at the hearing, as well not
supported the treating notes and objective medical evidence
as a whole. For example, Dr. Kalovidouris opined that the
claimant has limitations with fine and gross manipulations;
however, there are no objective findings in his treatment
notes regarding abnormalities with the claimant’s hands.
In addition to the sentences being grammatically difficult to understand and
perhaps ambiguous, I find the explanation above to be too conclusory and
based on a very selective reading of Dr. Kalovidouris’s notes. The ALJ has only
mentioned one instance of inconsistency and ignored other portions of Dr.
Kalovidouris’s notes and opinions suggesting disability. Furthermore, I do not
find any attempt by the ALJ to discuss other aspects of the regulations which
Roddy, 705 F.3d at 636; Punzio, 630 F.3d at 710.
Campbell, supra; Myles v. Astrue, 582 F.3d 672, 678 (7th Cir. 2009).
address the evaluation of a treating physician’s opinion found at 20 C.F.R. §
While remand is appropriate, I do not find reversal warranted here
because the ALJ does articulate that the medical consultant’s opinion was
considered in revoking her decision, and Dr. Miller’s opinion has some bearing
on the ultimate issue of whether Plaintiff is disabled.
I believe the best course therefore is to remand this case to the
Commissioner to reconsider the treating physician’s findings and opinion, as
well as the other evidence of record from Dr. Saddoris, Dr. Miller, and the State
agency physician. Whether benefits should be awarded or not will remain
within the sound discretion of the Commissioner.
SO ORDERED this 25th day of July, 2014.
William G. Hussmann, Jr.
United States Magistrate Judge
Southern District of Indiana
Served electronically on all ECF-registered counsel of record.
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?