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Schisler v. Sullivan

3 F.3d 563 (1993)

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Schisler v. Sullivan

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

3 F.3d 563 (1993)

Facts

Robert Schisler and Jonathan Aldrich separately represented classes of disability benefits claimants (plaintiffs) who sued the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Louis Sullivan (defendant), in United States district courts. The class members alleged that the secretary’s regulations modified circuit precedent by only giving treating physicians’ opinions controlling weight when they were supported by medically acceptable laboratory findings and diagnostic techniques and were not inconsistent with other substantial evidence of record. Second Circuit precedent gave the opinions controlling weight even when they were not supported by other evidence of record. Because the administration never acquiesced to the circuit rule before implementing the regulations, different rules had been applied when disabilities were determined by administrative adjudication versus following judicial review. The district courts decided, in each of the cases, that the regulations applied to administrative proceedings while circuit precedent still governed judicial review, leading to the courts’ affirmation of administrative rulings applying the new regulations while remanding those that were being considered upon judicial review for further proceedings consistent with circuit precedent. The classes were consolidated to settle the law, and a stay was granted pending appeal.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Winter, J.)

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