Monday, April 9, 2012

David Nisnewitz Found Unfit To Be ALJ Again

I have previously described how federal court judges are constantly rejecting the decisions of Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) David Nisnewitz for repeatedly failing to comply with the laws regarding Social Security Disability (“SSD”) benefits.  ALJ Nisnewitz continues to make the identical errors of law year after year.  Therefore, I contended that his preference for denying disability claims inhibits his impartial judgment, which The American Heritage Dictionary defines as “bias."

Some of my prior blog entries also described a class action lawsuit that was filed last year, which accused ALJ Nisnewtz and ALJs Michael D. Cofresi, Seymour Fier, Marilyn P. Hoppenfeld and Hazel C. Strauss (the “Queens Five”) of bias against claimants.  The class action is pending before federal district court judge Carol Bagley Amon.

Lazo-Espinoza v. Astrue, 2012 WL 1031417 (E.D.N.Y. Mar. 27, 2012) is the latest federal court decision involving a Nisnewitz decision.  It seems that federal district court judges are becoming just as fed up with Nisnewitz’s disdain for the law and rights of Social Security claimant’s as are the claimants and their representatives:

The administrative record here demonstrates that ALJ Nisnewitz, not only initially disregarded Plaintiff's need for a Spanish language interpreter, but he was dismissive, rude, and intolerant.  His failure to subpoena any of Plaintiff's treating physicians, including a specialist, to amplify the record shows a blatant disregard, not only of the legal standards, but of his obligations as a judicial officer and the basic rights and humanity of a vulnerable segment of our society, the disabled.  This court previously noted such intolerable conduct by ALJ Nisnewitz.  See Bailey v. Astrue, 815 F.Supp.2d 590 (E.D.N.Y.2011); Ginsberg v. Astrue, 2008 WL 3876067 (E.D.N.Y. Aug.18, 2008).

I represented the claimant in the Bailey case, which was reassigned to another ALJ because of Nisnewitz’s “contentiousness.”  Because of the “rudeness, dismissiveness and intolerance on the part of ALJ Nisnewitz that was not appropriate,” the court had to reassign Lazo-Espinoza's claim to a different ALJ on remand once again.

It seems clear to at least one federal district court judge that ALJ Nisnewitz is unfit to hear Social Security cases.  Hopefully, Judge Amon will agree that ALJ Nisnewitz should not hear any cases in the future.

The Social Security Administration may think that transferring ALJ Nisnewitz to another hearing office is the solution.  Such a transfer would not resolve any of the bias issues raised in the class action.  Rather, it would be akin to what the Catholic Church did with pedophile priests; i.e., they transferred the offenders and naively hoped the problem would go away.

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