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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 1 today (and 5 NFP)

For publication opinions today (1):

In Indiana Family and Social Services Administration v. Robert T. Pickett, a 22-page opinion, Judge Crone writes:

The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (“IFSSA”) appeals a trial court order that reversed an administrative decision sustaining the denial of Robert Pickett’s Medicaid disability application. We affirm.

This case presents two intertwined issues concerning the decision of the administrative law judge (“ALJ”). We will address the following restated issues together: I. Whether the ALJ’s findings of fact and conclusions were supported by substantial evidence and, if so, whether the findings and conclusions support the ultimate conclusion that Pickett is not disabled; and II. Whether the ALJ erred by failing to address relevant medical records regarding Pickett. * * *

In sum, the only evidence that actually addresses Pickett’s capacity for sustained activity on a regular basis, his intellectual or sensory functions as they relate to his vocational capacity, and/or his ability to perform necessary reasoning and direction- following, paints the same picture of substantial functional limitation. See 405 IAC 2-2- 3(a)(2)(A). Moreover, these substantial functional limitations, combined with Pickett’s limited education and vocationally irrelevant sporadic employment history clearly show that Pickett’s multiple mental impairments substantially impair his ability to perform labor or services or to engage in a useful occupation. 405 IAC 2-2-3(a)(2). That showing, plus the undisputed, continuous, verifiable nature of Pickett’s bi-polar disorder, borderline personality disorder, polysubstance abuse, and alcoholism, plus the fact that Pickett receives SSI, leads to the inescapable conclusion that he is eligible for Medicaid disability. Ind. Code § 12-14-15-1. Accordingly, the ALJ’s decision to the contrary was unsupported by substantial evidence. The administrative decision did not demonstrate a rational connection between the facts found and the applicable law. As set out supra, the findings neither supported nor contradicted the conclusion that Pickett’s mental illnesses and substance abuse problems do not substantially impair his ability to perform labor or services or engage in a useful occupation. The only evidence that touched on this central question refuted the conclusion reached by the ALJ. Therefore, we affirm the trial court’s reinstatement of Pickett’s Medicaid disability benefits.

NFP civil opinions today (1):

In the Matter of T.L. and J.L., T.P. v. Marion Co. Dept. of Child Svcs. (NFP) - "Appellant-respondent T.P. (“Mother”) appeals the trial court’s order declaring her minor children, T.L. and J.L., to be Children in Need of Services (CHINS). Mother argues that there is insufficient evidence supporting the trial court’s CHINS determination. Finding no error, we affirm. "

NFP criminal opinions today (4):

Russell Allender v. State of Indiana (NFP)

James R. Lancaster v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Sandy Dawson v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Servan Allen v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 26, 2009 12:50 PM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions