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LACORTE v. BOWEN

January 27, 1988

Pasquale A. Lacorte, Plaintiff
v.
Otis R. Bowen, etc., Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: THOMPSON

 Plaintiff, Pasquale A. LaCorte, seeks review under § 205(g) of the Social Security Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), to review a final determination of the Secretary of Health and Human Services ["Secretary"] which denied plaintiff's application for a period of disability and disability insurance benefits.

 PRIOR PROCEEDINGS

 Plaintiff initially filed an application for disability insurance benefits on March 21, 1983. Plaintiff was alleging disability dating from October 1, 1982, due to a heart condition and coronary artery disease. The application was denied initially and then again upon reconsideration. On June 19, 1984 a hearing was held before an Administrative Law Judge ["ALJ"] to review plaintiff's application. The ALJ's decision of September 25, 1984 found the plaintiff to be "not disabled". This decision became the final decision of the Secretary when the Appeals Council denied plaintiff's request for review on January 9, 1985.

 Subsequently, plaintiff filed a complaint in this court appealing the Secretary's decision. The District Court remanded the case to the Secretary pursuant to Section 5 of the Disability Benefits Reform Act of 1984. The Appeals Council remanded the case to an ALJ pursuant to the District Court's Order. At the second administrative hearing on August 11, 1986, the ALJ again denied plaintiff disability benefits. On November 18, 1986, the decision of the Secretary became final. Plaintiff filed another complaint in this court.

 EVIDENCE PRESENTED

 Plaintiff was born on December 30, 1937 and was 48 years old at the time of the second administrative hearing. In September 1981 plaintiff underwent coronary bypass graft surgery. Because of continual chest pain in the following months, the plaintiff underwent re-cardiac catheterization on November 30, 1982.

 Plaintiff completed the sixth grade in school. Plaintiff testified that he believes that he has taken the high school equivalency examination but that he did not pass it. Plaintiff had indicated on a social security form that he completed the 12th grade, but when questioned about that by the ALJ plaintiff stated that the information concerning his education was not accurate.

 Plaintiff stated that he worked as a truck driver for a soft drink company from November 1962 to December 1966. From October 1966 to December 1969, plaintiff drove a tractor-trailer for a freight hauling company. Plaintiff was an armed security guard at a scrap metal company from November 1973 through October 1978. The most recent job held by the plaintiff was as a security officer for a casino from October 1979 to October 1982.

 After his operation in September 1981, plaintiff experienced some tachyarrhythmias and rapid atrial fibrillations. Medication was given to plaintiff to stabilize his heart rate. An electrocardiogram performed on April 12, 1981, did not produce chest pain, and plaintiff achieved a workload of 8.7 METS, a functional capacity equal to New York Heart Association Class 1.

 In November 1982 a left heart catheterization, ventriculography left and selective cine coronary arteriography were performed. Only one of the vessels involved in the operation was not working well, and according to the cardiologist, Dr. Duca, the obstruction in the vessel was "not a highly critically obstructed lesion."

 In January 1984 plaintiff underwent another exercise electrocardiogram. There were no significant atrial or ventricular arrhythmias detected. The test was stopped for progressive fatigue rather than for chest pressure. The cardiologist, Dr. Blacher, noted that "it is highly possible that his chest pressure and fatigue are secondary to his ischemic heart disease . . . however . . . there [were] no ischemic ST-segment changes to support this notion." Dr. Blacher stated that the plaintiff's work capability seemed to be around 8 to 9 METS, but "he can probably perform more comfortably at a work level of 6 to 7 METS."

 Dr. Duca of Graduate Hospital thought a Thallium study would be helpful in determining the cause of plaintiff's chest pain since he was not sure that the nitrate therapy would control plaintiff's symptoms. The reason for this, Dr. Duca states, is ...


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