Walsh v Astrue, Case No. 11-cv-108-SM, Op. No. 2012 DNH 034 (D.N.H., March 20, 2012)

Steven J. McAuliffe, US District Judge
Client with bipolar and other MIs.
DRB reviewed and upheld ALJ (Merrill).
Ct. relates adequate assessment of the evidence to the condition - bipolar - The particular features of the disease should guide the evaluation of the evidence.
ALJ has not adequately fulfilled the duty to resolve conflicts in the evidence where he adopts one view of the evidence without addressing the underlying conflict - making meaningful review by the court impossible..
Bipolar is episodic - so that any single notation that a patient is feeling better or has had a good day does not imply that the condition has been treated. Likewise, a treating source opinion that a claimant with bipolar disorder is stable must be reviewed in context. Also, stable in the office is not the same as an observation of stability in the ongoing disorder.
The difficulty of treating bipolar and the fact that substance abuse and noncompliance with treatment may be symptoms of the disease - and not presumptive proof that the disorder is not disabling.
The ALJ also committed error by failing to mention testimony by claimant's wife, who reported functional limitations consistent with the observations of the treating sources.
Attachment Size
Walsh S Order Remanding Case 3-20-12 .pdf (52.7 KB) 52.7 KB