Administrative Law Judge (the “ALJ”) Marilyn Hoppenfeld is an ALJ who dislikes Social Security Disability (“SSD”) applications that are based on fibromyalgia. On August 5, 2008, I appealed ALJ Hoppenfeld’s denial of my client’s SSD application. The Appeals Council, In a tacit indictment of ALJ Hoppenfeld’s grossly defective decision, rejected it in less than two months. Two years is a typical wait time for a decision from the Appeals Council.
The reason for the rapid reversal is two fold. I did not wait to receive copies of the hearing exhibits or a tape of the hearing, which usually takes months or even a year. Second, knowing ALJ Hoppenfeld’s propensity for denying fibromyagia claims, which is detailed in reported case law reversing her adverse fibromyalgia decisions, I made sure to create a well documented medical record. I submitted medical reports from the claimant’s rheumatologists, internist, physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists, and podiatrist. Not surprisingly, ALJ Hoppenfeld failed to state the basis for rejecting the opinions of the claimant’s treating physicians.
ALJ Hoppenfeld had a vocational expert (“VE”) appear at the hearing. On cross examination, I got the VE to testify that, in accordance with the reports of the treating doctors, there were few, if any, occupations that the claimant could perform on a sustained basis. Incredibly, while Hoppendfeld conceded that fact, she denied the case anyway. The Hoppenfeld decision was so obviously defective that the Appeals Council apparently saw the need to reject it with all due haste.