Morrison v. TN Consol. Coal Co., No. 10-3008 (6th Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
Petitioner worked as an underground surveyor for a coal company for more than 22 years. He filed an unsuccessful claim for black lung benefits (30 U.S.C. 901) about a year after being laid off. He filed a second claim 10 years later, accompanied by medical opinions and x-ray interpretations. The DOL provided a pulmonary examination for each claim. The first diagnosed shortness of breath of unknown etiology but opined that petitioner suffered no impairment. The second resulted in diagnosis of restrictive lung disease, right mid lung density, bilateral hilar adenopathy and concluded that there was no impairment. An ALJ rejected the second claim. The Benefits Review Board affirmed. The Sixth Circuit vacated for consideration under an amendment to the Act, under which a miner who worked underground for at least 15 years and who demonstrates that he suffers from a total respiratory disability is presumed to be totally disabled due to pneumoconiosis (30 U.S.C. 921(c)(4)). Rebuttal requires an affirmative showing; it is not enough to show that medical evidence does not include a well documented opinion of pneumoconiosis. The ALJ failed to consider all evidence relevant to the issue of disability.