The opinion of the court was delivered by: NEWCOMER
We have before us cross-motions for summary judgment on an appeal from the decision of the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare denying claimant disability insurance benefits under §§ 216(i) and 223 of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 416(i) and 423, as amended, after April 11, 1973.
For the reasons set forth below, we hereby grant the motion of plaintiff and deny the motion of defendant.
Claimant initially filed for disability benefits on September 20, 1972, claiming that injuries sustained to her pelvis, back, and legs in an automobile accident on March 14, 1972, had rendered her permanently disabled from the date of the accident. The Secretary denied her claim on December 7, 1972. On March 8, 1973, claimant filed a request for reconsideration, which the Secretary denied on May 21, 1973.
Claimant thereafter requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge, which hearing she received on October 10, 1973, before Administrative Law Judge Frank P. Sabatini. In a decision of December 10, 1973, Judge Sabatini ruled claimant's injuries had disabled her from the date of the accident until April 11, 1973, at which point claimant's disability ceased.
On December 21, 1973, claimant appealed this decision to the Appeals Council, which on April 25, 1974, affirmed the Administrative Law Judge's decision. This decision thus became the final decision of the Secretary, which now comes before us on claimant's appeal.
The task that we or any district court face in a case of this type is carefully delineated under the law. Judge Luongo of this District recently summarized this law when he wrote:
"In reviewing the Secretary's decision, the Court's role is narrowly circumscribed. The Secretary's decision must stand if it is supported by 'substantial evidence'. 42 U.S.C. § 405 (g). 'Substantial evidence' has been defined as 'such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.' Consolo v. Federal Maritime Commission, 383 U.S. 607, 620, 16 L. Ed. 2d 131, 86 S. Ct. 1018 . . . (1966). In deciding whether the Secretary's decision is supported by substantial evidence, the Court must look at the record as a whole. Vitek v. Finch, 438 F.2d 1157 (14th Cir. 1971); Blanks v. Richardson, 439 F.2d 1158 (5th Cir. 1971).
"The test for disability is two-pronged: (1) a determination of the extent of the physical or mental impairment and (2) a determination whether that impairment results in an inability to engage in substantial gainful activity. Stancavage v. Celebrezze, 323 F.2d 373 (3rd Cir. 1963); Janek v. Celebrezze, 336 F.2d 828 (3rd Cir. 1964). There are four elements of proof to be considered in making a finding as to claimant's ability or inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity: (1) medical data and findings, (2) expert medical opinions, (3) subjective complaints and (4) claimant's age, educational background and work history. Dillon v. Celebrezze, 345 F.2d 753, 755 (4th Cir. 1965)."
With these standards in mind, we turn to the record before us.
The record indicates claimant was born on August 4, 1949 (Tr. 77) graduated high school (Tr. 32), pursued a course in beauty culture for a year and a half and became a licensed beautician. After holding several jobs as a beautician for several years, including a period of selfemployment for one and a half years, claimant then became a sewing machine operator, at which job she worked for approximately six months, until her automobile accident on March 14, 1972.
The medical evidence introduced at claimant's hearing (Exh. 11) indicates that as a result of this accident, claimant sustained a comminuted fracture of the pelvis, injury to the sacroiliac joint, fracture and dislocation of the left hip, ruptured bladder, and rib injuries. Claimant was treated in the intensive care unit of Hershey Hospital, received one unit of blood, and underwent an operation in which two Steinman pins were inserted to connect her femur and left hip. Claimant subsequently remained in traction for six weeks.
As to whether these injuries left claimant disabled from any gainful employment after April 11, 1973, the relevant evidence at claimant's hearing consisted of subjective testimony by claimant and opinion testimony by a vocational expert, letters from two doctors, and testimony of the Secretary's Medical Advisor. We shall consider each of the above in turn.
The Administrative Law Judge amply summarized claimant's testimony beginning at page 4 of his decision, where he wrote:
"Presenting symptomatology is described as pain in left hip and the back area. She says she is unable to sit nor (sic) stand for any period of time. She describes that she can walk about 100 feet then has to sit down. She is unable to stand for any reasonable period of time. She is not able to bend very far and is unable to move her left leg out too far. She has trouble in ascending stairs, can neither squat nor flex. If she sits for any period of time, her hip becomes stiff and sore. She states that she does not derive much relief from various medications which she takes. She states that the pain also interferes with rest at night. In this regard she also states that she takes about three naps during the day. Although she does not use a bed board, she says she sleeps on a hard mattress. She feels that damp weather aggravates her symptomatology, particularly the pain in the leg, hip and back. She feels that she is more comfortable when she lies in a supine position.
Examination of the claimant by counsel develops matter partly reiterative and somewhat amplificatory of matter adduced by the undersigned. She repeats that she can only walk about 100 feet, afterwards she has a lot of pain in the back and leg and hip, necessitating rest periods for three or four minutes before she is able to proceed again for another short distance. Then it becomes necessary for her to lie down for about half an hour. Counsel pointed to the fact that the claimant arose on several occasions during the hearing. She states that she can sit about eight to ten minutes in one stretch and then has to get up and stretch her legs and walk around because her hip becomes sore. She is unable to climb steps by herself and requires assistance from her husband. She says her husband takes care of a lot of household duties, such as, washing, laundering, cleaning and cooking. Because she experiences ...