the fact that the disease, from which she admits the claimant suffers, is depression.
Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged, 1971, at page 606, defines the disease of depression of a human being as: "(4) a mental disorder of psychoneurotic or psychotic proportions characterized by sadness, retardation of motor and certain vegetative processes, feelings of inadequacy and self-depreciation and often by suicidal attempts ".
Because the claimant's doctors asserted under oath that his condition was of such a character as to prevent him from performing gainful employment, the claimant's complaint should be more thoroughly researched in order to determine the kind and character of depression from which the claimant suffers and what there is that would prevent him from performing any kind of gainful employment.
While conflicting medical evidence and credibility of the experts rests with the Secretary, Gober v. Matthews, 574 F.2d 772, C.A.3, 1978, this of necessity in large measure must be resolved by subjective evidence, Baerga v. Richardson, 500 F.2d 309, C.A.3, 1974.
In The Merck Manual, Fourteenth Edition (1982), at page 1448, Chapter 146, Affective Disorders, there is a long and thorough discussion of psychiatric conditions "in which a disturbance of affect or mood is either a primary determinant of the psychopathologic state or constitutes its core manifestations".
This is not a matter in which a layman can have understanding or make instantaneous conclusions from the testimony of an expert in this field. As for instance, when a person takes alcohol and sedatives in a sufficient amount, it may debilitate that person and make that person incapable of performing any kind of employment. Likewise, it may be that this mental disease of depression may be of such a character as to incapacitate a person not only in varying degrees but totally, and that is a matter which should be set to rest by experts, and from the testimony of the one afflicted by the disease.
It is therefore, for this reason that I accept the determination of the Magistrate to remand the matter to the Secretary for further inquiry, evaluation and consideration.
MAGISTRATE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
January 8, 1985
ROBERT C. MITCHELL, United States Magistrate.
It is respectfully recommended that the defendant's motion for summary judgment be denied, without prejudice, and that the matter be remanded to the Secretary of Health and Human Services for further evaluation and consideration.
Presently before the Court for disposition is the defendant's motion for summary judgment.
On June 3, 1983, Lawrence Dragun, by his counsel, filed a complaint pursuant to Section 205(g) of the Social Security Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) for review of the Secretary's final determination disallowing his claim for a period of disability or for disability insurance benefits under Sections 216(i) and 223 of the Social Security Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 416(i) and 423.
On April 13, 1982, the plaintiff filed an application for disability benefits alleging that he had been disabled since May 2, 1980, as a result of head, back and neck injuries, blackouts and nervousness (R. 92-95), and benefits were denied on June 3, 1982 (R. 98-99). On July 21, 1982, the plaintiff requested reconsideration of this decision (R. 100) and upon reconsideration and in a decision dated September 15, 1982, benefits were again denied (R. 103-104). On October 21, 1982, the plaintiff requested a hearing (R. 105), and pursuant to that request a hearing was held on November 30, 1982 (R. 24-91). In a decision rendered on January 21, 1983, an Administrative Law Judge denied benefits (R. 9-18). On January 31, 1983 the plaintiff requested reconsideration of this determination (R. 8) and on April 27, 1983 the Appeals Council affirmed the prior determination (R. 4-5). The instant complaint was filed on June 3, 1983.
In reviewing an administrative determination of the Secretary, the question before any court is whether there is substantial evidence in the agency record to support the findings of the Secretary that the plaintiff failed to sustain his burden of demonstrating that he was disabled within the meaning of the Social Security Act. Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 91 S. Ct. 1420, 28 L. Ed. 2d 842 (1971); Torres v. Schweiker, 682 F.2d 109 (3d Cir. 1982).
It is provided in 42 U.S.C. Section 405(g) that:
"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 rehearing. The findings of the Secretary as to any fact, if supported by substantial evidence, shall be conclusive . . . ."
Substantial evidence is "'more than a mere scintilla. It means such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. ' Consolidated Edison Co. v. NLRB, 305 U.S. 197, 229 [59 S. Ct. 206, 217, 83 L. Ed. 126] (1938)," Richardson v. Perales, supra, 402 U.S., at page 401, 91 S. Ct. at 1427; Daring v. Heckler, 727 F.2d 64 (3d Cir. 1984).
At the hearing held on November 30, 1982 (R. 24-91), the plaintiff appeared with counsel (R. 26) and testified that he was born on November 5, 1923 (R. 34); that he graduated from high school and has a technical background (R. 34); that he did electrical maintenance work and crane repair work (R. 35, 59-63); that he was injured at work on May 2, 1980, when he was struck by a beam (R. 37-38) and that he is receiving Workmen's compensation benefits (R. 39).
In addition, the plaintiff testified that he experiences pain in the back of his head where he was struck and becomes light-headed about four times a week (R. 40-41, 80); that he does not care about anything and is unable to concentrate (R. 42); that he does not want to associate with anybody (R. 43); that he has some memory problems (R. 83-84) and that he takes medication (R. 41-42).
The plaintiff's wife testified that since the accident, the plaintiff is unable to perform household repairs (R. 85); that he has become short tempered (R. 85) and that sometimes he stays in his room when visitors come (R. 86).
The issue before the Court for immediate resolution is a determination of whether or not there is substantial evidence to support the findings of the Secretary that the plaintiff is not disabled within the meaning of the Act.
The term "disability" is defined in 42 U.S.C. Section 423(d)(1)(A) as:
"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."