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MCCONNELL v. RICHARDSON

January 30, 1971

Donald T. McCONNELL, Administrator of the Estate of Anna F. McConnell, deceased, Plaintiff,
v.
Elliott L. RICHARDSON, Secretary, Health, Education and Welfare, Defendant


Gourley, Senior District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: GOURLEY

This is an action filed pursuant to Section 205(g) of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C.A. § 405(g), wherein plaintiff seeks judicial review of the decision of the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare denying the application filed by plaintiff's decedent, Mrs. Anna F. McConnell, on May 19, 1969 for a period of disability and disability insurance benefits under Sections 216(i) and 223 of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C.A. §§ 416(i) and 423.

 Mrs. McConnell filed a timely Complaint in this Court. Defendant filed an Answer, a certified copy of the administrative transcript, and, thereafter, a Motion for Summary Judgment. The Court conducted a hearing on October 14, 1970. While disposition of the Motion was under advisement, defendant filed a Statement of the Fact of Death of the original plaintiff pursuant to Rule 25(a)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Subsequently, the decedent's husband filed a Petition for Substitution as Administrator of her estate. The Petition was granted.

 Pertaining to the scope of judicial review, § 205(g), supra, provides as follows:

 
"The court shall have power to enter, upon the pleadings and transcript of the record, a judgment affirming, modifying, or reversing the decision of the Secretary, with or without remanding the cause for a hearing. The findings of the Secretary as to any fact, if supported by substantial evidence, shall be conclusive * * *."

 Under this Section and Section 10(e) of the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C.A. § 706, the Court is limited to "ascertaining whether on the record as a whole there is substantial evidence to support the Secretary's findings of fact." Goldman v. Folsom, 246 F.2d 776, 778 (3d Cir. 1957). In this determination, the Federal District Court is not to decide questions of credibility, and if the record as a whole will support equivocal but reasonable determinations, the District Court may not make a re-determination in accordance with its own views of the case. Moon v. Celebrezze, 340 F.2d 926, 930 (7th Cir. 1965); Lechelt v. Cohen, 428 F.2d 214 (7th Cir. 1970).

 The term "disability", as applicable to claims for benefits under both §§ 216(i) and 223, supra, is defined in Subsection 223(d), which provides in pertinent part:

 
"(d)(1) The term 'disability' means --
 
"(A) inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months;
 
"* * *
 
"(2) For purposes of paragraph (1)(A) --
 
"(A) an individual * * * shall be determined to be under a disability only if his physical or mental impairment or impairments are of such severity that he is not only unable to do his previous work but cannot, considering his age, education, and work experience, engage in any other kind of substantial gainful work which exists in the national economy, regardless of whether such work exists in the immediate area in which he lives, or whether a specific job vacancy exists for him, or whether he would be hired if he applied for work. For purposes of the preceding sentence (with respect to any individual), 'work which exists ...

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