December 02nd, 2017
US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit Opinions
Garcia v. Berryhill
Opinion Date: November 30, 2017
Judge: Jerry E. Smith
Areas of Law: Public Benefits
The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of social security disability benefits to plaintiff. The court held that the ALJ's decision not to follow the VA's 100% disability rating determination was supported by substantial evidence where the court considered, but ultimately rejected the VA's findings, in part because the VA relied heavily on a one-time evaluation by a doctor who had not formed a treating relationship with plaintiff. The court explained that reports by two state-agency consultants cut against the VA's determination, and it was emphatically the ALJ's province to weigh the evidence and decide among these competing accounts. The court rejected plaintiff's remaining claims.
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