As a featured speaker at the American Association for Justice 2019 Annual Convention, Lebau & Neuworth partner attorney Richard Neuworth addressed thousands of attendees on decisions made by the Supreme Court in 2018 and 2019 that affect Social Security disability cases. The Association, which promotes a fair and effective justice system and supports attorneys in their efforts to obtain justice for any person who is injured by the misconduct or negligence of others, held its yearly summit July 27 through 30 at the San Diego Convention Center.
Richard spoke on the Supreme Court's decision on fees in the case Culbertson v. Berryhill. Among his conclusions, he pointed out the Court ruled that fee agreement(s) permits separate fees for representation before the Social Security Administration, including ALJ hearings and Appeals Council, regardless of the fee amount received at the administrative level.
Next, Richard the Court's decision on federal court appeals following adverse decisions in the case Smith v. Berryhill. He specifically noted that the Court permitted federal court review provided that there was an adverse or partially adverse decision by an Administrative Law Judge, which was final.
Citing the case Biestak v. Berryhill, Richard addressed Vocational Expert Testimony. He spoke on the decision by the Court to grant certiorari to consider the issue of whether or not a vocational expert had to provide supporting data concerning job numbers at a Social Security disability hearing if requested at the hearing -- expanding on the Court's suggestion on what can and should be asked during cross-examination of a vocational expert, among other related topics.
Next, Richard took on Kisor v. Wilkie, a Veterans Administration disability benefits case (which can easily apply to Social Security disability cases), in which the Supreme Court decided that in order for a regulation to be ambiguous, courts must use all tools before deciding that the regulation is ambiguous. The Court also ruled that courts should not provide Auer deference if a regulation is genuinely ambiguous.
Richard concluded his presentation with a look at the Supreme Court's decision in Lucia v. SEC that Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) are officers -- and not employees -- and had to be appointed by heads of their departments. But as he pointed out, the same argument has been made regarding the Social Security disability judges with mixed results.
The American Association for Justice membership consists of trial attorneys who are "committed to promoting safety and corporate accountability, advocating for a balanced civil justice system, improving our communities and educating lawyers to provide excellent advocacy for their clients."
Lebau & Neuworth keeps apprised of the latest Supreme Court decisions and their impact on employment law so that they are prepared to provide their clients with the best representation. If you are in need of an attorney because you believe your rights in the workplace may have been violated, contact Lebau & Neuworth at 888-456-2529 or lebauneuworth.com/contact-us.