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Mulvenna v. Sullivan
United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
796 F. Supp. 325 (1992)
John Mulvenna (plaintiff) applied for disability benefits due to heart problems and a heightened vulnerability to stress. In 1988, Mulvenna suffered an acute cardiac infarction and was hospitalized for 10 days, following which he started a cardiac-treatment program. An administrative-law judge (ALJ) concluded that Mulvenna was not disabled after finding that although Mulvenna did not have the residual functional capacity (RFC) to return to his job of 33 years as a retail manager, he had the RFC to perform low-stress sedentary work existing in significant numbers in Mulvenna’s region. Mulvenna agreed that his skills would transfer to those jobs; however, Mulvenna maintained that his vulnerability to stress prevented him from doing any work in the national economy. This assertion was supported by two of Mulvenna’s treating physicians, who opined that Mulvenna’s personality would lead to stress from any job, which could lead to another acute cardiac infarction; one physician concluded that such an event could be fatal and the other that the combination of Mulvenna’s impairments was totally disabling. However, the ALJ’s denial became the final decision of the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Louis Sullivan (defendant), without articulating why the evidence of Mulvenna’s stress-related impairment was rejected. Mulvenna appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Shadur, J.)
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