Saturday, August 26, 2017

When to Cross-Examine Vocational Experts

I spend a lot of time pointing to the fallacy of most vocational expert testimony.  But that doesn't mean that the able representative should cross-examine the vocational expert in every instance about everything that is said.  The representative has to know when to bring out the long knives and when to bring out the scalpel.

Assume a younger individual limited to light exertion, standing and walking four hours in a day, simple work, and capable of occasional postural activities; limited education; and an unskilled work background.  The claimant cannot perform past relevant work.  The vocational expert identifies garbage numbers of assembly jobs that don't exist in significant numbers, and cashiers that require more complex reasoning.  If the intrepid representative knocks out all those occupations -- and clearly could -- where does that leave the claimant?  There might be light work with limited standing/walking and also SRT.  So what?  The claimant has a large swath of sedentary work available and that limited range of light work.  There is work and the statistics won't allow the claimant to get to no work by attacking the job numbers methodology.

The representative needs additional tools.  We can knock out the cashiering jobs as requiring reasoning level 3 (DOT for 211.462-010 CASHIER II) and the assembly positions as requiring a high school education and typically semi-skilled today (OOH for SOC 51-9199).  But the Commissioner assumes the presence of a significant number of jobs in the sedentary range and the hypothetical person grids as "not disabled" (Appendix 2, Rule 201.18).  Knocking out light work may be fun and good in the sport of discrediting the vocational expert, but it doesn't win the case.

The task at hand requires a different question of the vocational expert.  Has the ALJ omitted a mental limitation; a manipulative limitation; a side-effect of medication; or something else that erodes the occupational base?  Here is my list of DOT codes where the OOH classifies the work group as having no educational requirement and short-term training:
DOT
DOT TITLE
 RML
SOC
DOT CODES
OOH JOBS


 529.665-014
 WASHROOM OPERATOR                        (sugar & confection)
211
 51-9192
43
419,200
 692.685-254
 WINDOW-SHADE-RING SEWER     
 (furniture)
211
 51-6031
128
153,900
 713.687-034
 POLISHER, IMPLANT                             (optical goods)
211
 51-9022
66
15,800
 739.684-162
 UMBRELLA TIPPER, HAND                   (fabrication, nec)
211
 51-6051
21
12,000
 754.684-018
 BIT SHAVER                                         (fabrication, nec)
211
 51-9022
66
29,900
 775.687-022
 GOLD BURNISHER                                 (pottery & porcelain)
211
 51-9022
66
29,900
 782.687-046
 SACK REPAIRER                                           (any industry)
211
 51-6031
128
153,900
 521687-010
 ALMOND BLANCHER, HAND              
(canning & preserving)
111
 51-9198
553
419,200
 529.687-138
 LEAF TIER                                               (tobacco)
111
 53-7062
48
2,441,300
 559.687-014
 AMPOULE SEALER                      (pharmaceuticals)
211
 53-7064
59
695,400
 683.687-018
 HANDER-IN                       
(narrow fabrics)
211
 51-9198
553
419,200
 685.687-014
 CUFF FOLDER                                      (knitting)
111
 51-9198
553
419,200
 690.686-046
 PLASTIC-DESIGN APPLIER                       (boot & shoe)
111
 53-7063
291
104,200
 690.686-066
 TOGGLE-PRESS FOLDER-AND-FEEDER   (boot & shoe)
111
 53-7063
291
695,400
 694.686-010
 CLIP-LOADING-MACHINE FEEDER (ordnance)
111
 53-7063
291
695,400
 712.687-034
 SUTURE WINDER, HAND                      (protective devices)
211
 51-9198
553
236,200
 715.687-090
 MOTOR POLARIZER                                  (clock & watch)
111
 51-9198
553
419,200
 734.687-086
 SPLITTER, HAND                                    
 (button & notion)
111
 51-9031
98
15,800
 737.587-010
 BANDOLEER STRAIGHTENER-STAMPER (ordnance)
111
 51-9198
553
419,200
 770.687-026
 JEWEL STRINGER                                       (clock & watch)
211
 51-9198
553
419,200
 779.687-038
 WAXER                                                           (glass products)
111
 51-9198
553
419,200
 782.687-030
 PULLER-THROUGH                                     (glove & mitten)
111
 51-9198
553
419,200
 784.687-026
 ENDBAND CUTTER, HAND 
 (hat & cap)
211
 51-9031
98
15,800
 788.687-022
 BUCKLER AND LACER                                
(boot & shoe)
111
 51-9198
553
419,200
 788.687-114
 SHANK TAPER                                             (boot & shoe)
111
 51-9198
553
419,200
 789.687-174
 THREAD SEPARATOR                                
(textiles, other)
111
 51-9198
553
419,200
 920.687-030
 BANDER, HAND                                               
(tobacco)
211
 53-7064
59
695,400
 976.684-018
 MOUNTER, HAND                                 
(photofinishing)
211
 51-9031
98
63,600

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