Pre-hearing brief in Crohn’s & Colitis case study #2:
Hon. John Jones
Administrative Law Judge
Office of Disability and Review
National Hearing Center
5107 Leesburg Pike
Falls Church, VA 22041
Re: Jane Smith
Dear Judge Jones:
As your files will reflect, I represent Jane Smith with regard to her claim for Title II benefits. A video hearing in this case is scheduled for May 5, 2009 at 10:00 AM. Please allow this letter to serve as my pre-hearing brief and summary of the evidence in this case.
Please note that the claimant is requesting a CLOSED PERIOD of disability beginning on December 1, 2003 and concluding on October 1, 2006 when the claimant returned to work. Ms. Smith is and has been working as a sales associate and assistant store manager for ABC Shoes in an Atlanta suburb.
The claimant is a 34 year old female with a high school education and 3 years of college. She stands 5’1″ and weighs approximately 100 lbs. Prior to stopping work in December, 2003, the claimant’s past work included:
telemarketing sales for Arnold’s Tours (3/2003-11/2003)
flight attendant for Delta Air Lines (2/2001-9/2001)
shift leader for Olive Garden restaurant (7/1998-1/2001)
waitress for O’Charley’s (5/1995-5/1998)
The claimant did work part time for an employment service called Thompson Associates from August, 2005 through January, 2006. The claimant will testify that these jobs were comprised of 2 day to 1 week administrative and secretarial assignments, and that she worked no more than 3 days per week because of limitations arising from her medical condition. As noted above, the claimant did return to full time work in October, 2006.
The claimant applied for benefits on May 31, 2006. She is fully insured for Title II benefits through September 30, 2012.
Summary of Medical Record:
The claimant alleges disability based on Crohn’s Disease, depression and migraines. The claimant was first diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in 1987. In 1993, she underwent a resection of the colon with an ileostomy and removal of the rectum. In 1995 the claimant was hospitalized for a small bowel obstruction, followed by the removal of an additional section of her colon.
In 2002, the claimant experienced a flare-up of Crohn’s Disease and was started on Remicade. In September, 2003, approximately 2 months before stopping work the claimant was treated at Memorial Hospital in South City, Florida for nausea and vomiting (1F). By the end of November, 2003, the claimant resigned her telemarketing position with Arnold’s Tours because of frequent episodes of nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.
In May, 2004 the claimant was again hospitalized with recurrent disease of the distal 10 cm of the new terminal ileum proximal to the site of the ileostomy. The ileostomy was revised.
In September, 2004 the claimant was hospitalized for more surgery on her colon and additional reconstruction of her ileostomy.
In August, 2005 the claimant was admitted to Kennestone Hospital because of gastroenteritis. She was thereafter seen by Dr. Graham Morton of Digestive Care Associates (7F) who notes the presence of an eating disorder, along with complaints of nausea, fatigue, malaise and occasional vomiting..
The medical record in 2006 reflects on-going complaints of nausea and abdominal pain as well as treatment for depression. In June, 2006, the claimant was hospitalized briefly at Ridgeview Institute because of depression and an eating disorder and she subsequently undertook a course of psychotherapy on an outpatient basis.
There is a psychological consultative evaluation in the file at 13F, but it is dated October 23, 2006, shortly after the claimant returned to work.
The claimant contends that during the requested closed period of disability she was unable to perform full time work because of complications from her Crohn’s Disease as well as depression, anxiety and migraines, along with physical, arthritis like pain in her hands and legs.. She asserts that her work environment at Arnold’s Tours in November, 2003 caused her a great deal of stress and anxiety and led to exacerbations of her bowel dysfunction that required surgery. In addition to nausea and fatigue the claimant’s status as an ileostomy patient required frequent restroom breaks – as many as ten unscheduled episodes per day – to empty her ostomy bag and to clean herself.
During this closed period the claimant also experienced symptoms of depression and anxiety that necessitated counseling and even a brief inpatient hospitalization due to anorexia and associated blood chemistry irregularities.
Because the claimant experienced both physical, mental health and emotional symptoms during the asserted closed period (12/1/2003 – 10/1/2006) she would not have been a reliable worker at even a simple, unskilled job.
VERY TRULY YOURS,
GINSBERG LAW OFFICES, P.C.
BY Jonathan C. Ginsberg