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Successful Pro Bono Social Security Disability Benefits Appeal

August 1, 2012

Associates Lindsay Moilanen and Ari Fontecchio assisted a pro bono client in successfully appealing a denial of Social Security disability benefits before Judge McMahon in the Southern District of New York. With the assistance of Associate John-Paul Ovadia, Lindsay and Ari successfully opposed the government’s motion for judgment on the pleadings when Judge McMahon agreed with our novel argument that monthly earnings should be calculated by dividing annual earnings by twelve months, rather than the number of months actually worked, resulting in the plaintiff falling below the monthly earnings threshold that would have precluded benefits. In addition, the judge also granted our client benefits for the years at issue.

On August 1 2012, with the assistance of Associate Paul Mignano, the Kaye Scholer team successfully opposed the government’s request to amend Judge McMahon’s decision, denying the government’s challenge to our “twelve-month” theory. Following the denial of their motion to amend, the government declined to appeal, rendering the decision final and returning disability benefits to our client, whose case had been open since 2001. The case was referred by The Legal Aid Society and supervised by Associate Larissa Eustice who chairs the Firm’s Social Security Disability Pro Bono Project.

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