Published April, 2016

Williams v. Colvin, 24 F. Supp. 3d 901 (N.D. Cal. 2014).

The U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California remanded for benefits the Administrative Law Judge’s (ALJ) decision that Williams was ineligible for disability benefits and supplemental security income under the Social Security Act. The Court held the ALJ had wrongly given “little weight” to testimony from Williams’ treating physicians; the ALJ must defer to a treating physician’s opinion unless the ALJ gives specific, legitimate reasons for rejecting it that are based on substantial evidence on the record.

Giving proper weight to the treating physicians’ testimony, the Court determined Williams’ symptoms made him eligible for benefits. Williams’ HIV symptoms included treatment-resistant full body rashes; chronic staph infections; chronic ulcerating dermatitis, eczema, and abscesses; chronic recurring herpes simplex virus infections; and chronic lower back pain, lower extremity swelling, and joint pain resulting in decreased endurance.