The opinion of the court was delivered by: Herbert J. Hutton, J.
The Plaintiff, Karen McCann, was born on April 21, 1958. (R.113).
During 1976, she graduated from high school and worked as a secretary for
New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Company. (R. 308). She remained at New
Jersey Manufacturers until her involvement in a serious automobile
accident on March 30, 1978. (R. 308). Since that time, the Plaintiff has
not engaged in substantial gainful activity. (R. 308).
As a result of her accident, the Plaintiff suffered severe injuries.
(R. 334). She was unconscious when admitted to the hospital and
nonresponsive to painful stimulation. (R. 334). The diagnosis of the
Plaintiff's injuries included a cerebral contusion, a fracture of the
shaft of the left humerus, a fracture of the left humeral neck and right
clavicle, and a bilateral subdural hygroma left greater than the right.
(R. 334). As part of her treatment while hospitalized from the accident,
the Plaintiff underwent an evacuation of the subdural hygroma via a
bitemporal craniectomy. (R. 334). Upon her release from the hospital, the
Plaintiff entered Moss Rehabilitation Hospital for continuation of more
intensive physical therapy and speech therapy, as well as a psychological
evaluation. (R. 334).
Beginning in July of 1979, the Plaintiff visited several medical
professionals for evaluation of her ability to engage in substantial
gainful activity. (R. 24-27). From 1979 through 1980, the Plaintiff
received treatment from Drs. Frignito, Rosenfeld, Long, Norton,
Courtney, and Christine. (R. 24-27). Pursuant to her more recent
application for disability benefits, the Plaintiff has also been evaluated
by Drs. Robinson and Logue. (R. 27-28).
On June 5, 1978, the Plaintiff applied for disability insurance
benefits based upon injuries sustained in her March 30, 1978 accident.
(R. 113-116). The Commissioner granted the Plaintiff's request on July
18, 1978. (R. 85). On September 26, 1979, a determination was made that
the Plaintiff's disability had ended in August of 1979. (R. 86).
Following the disability guidelines in place, the Plaintiff received
benefits until October of 1979. (R. 87). On reconsideration, the
termination of the Plaintiff's disability benefits was affirmed. (R.
On September 13, 1995, the Plaintiff filed the current application for
disability insurance benefits. (R. 121). The Plaintiff's application for
benefits was denied on March 28, 1996 and that denial was upheld on
reconsideration. (R. 90-92). On August 7, 1996, the Plaintiff made a
timely request for a hearing. (R. 106). On June 15, 1998, a hearing was
held before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). (R. 39).
After considering the evidence and arguments presented at the hearing,
the ALJ concluded that while the Plaintiff was not able to return to her
previous employment, she was able to perform other work which exists in
significant numbers in the national economy. (R. 19, 33). For that
reason, the ALJ determined that the Plaintiff was not disabled as that
term is defined in the Social Security Act and regulations. (R. 33). The
ALJ's decision became the final decision of the Commissioner when the
Appeals Council denied the Plaintiff's request for review on May 9, 2000.
Having exhausted her administrative remedies, the Plaintiff filed her
Complaint with this Court pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) seeking
judicial review of the Commissioner's final decision denying her claim to
benefits. The Commissioner answered the Complaint. On November 15, 2000,
the Plaintiff filed her motion for summary ...