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                                   BRB No. 92-1719

AUGUSTO ZORILLA                         )
                                        )
          Claimant-Petitioner           )
                                        )
     v.                                 )
                                        )
NEW YORK SHIPYARD                       )    DATE ISSUED:   05/30/1995
CORPORATION                             )    
                                        )
     and                                )
                                        )
STATE INSURANCE FUND                    )
                                        )
          Employer/Carrier-             )
          Respondents                   )    DECISION and ORDER

     Appeal of the Decision and Order Granting Additional Temporary Total
     Disability Benefits; Denying Permanent Total Disability Benefits of
     Julius A. Johnson, Administrative Law Judge, United States Department of
     Labor.

     Philip J. Rooney (Israel, Adler, Ronca & Gucciardo), New York, New York,
     for claimant.

     Leonard J. Linden (Linden & Gallagher), New York, New York, for
     employer/carrier.

     Before:  SMITH, DOLDER and McGRANERY, Administrative Appeals Judges.

     PER CURIAM:

     Claimant appeals the Decision and Order Granting Additional Temporary Total
Disability Benefits; Denying Permanent Total Disability Benefits (91-LHC-1499) of
Administrative Law Judge Julius A. Johnson rendered on a claim filed pursuant to
the provisions of the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, as amended,
33 U.S.C. §901 et seq. (the Act).  We must affirm the findings of fact
and conclusions of law of the administrative law judge which are rational,
supported by substantial evidence, and in accordance with law. O'Keeffe v.
Smith, Hinchman & Grylls Associates, Inc., 380 U.S. 359 (1965); 33 U.S.C.
§921(b)(3).



     Claimant was working for employer as a welder when, on January 30, 1989, he
fell off a scaffold and, according to claimant, was knocked unconscious.  In
addition, claimant alleges that he sustained injuries to his head, back and arm,
and that the fall caused bleeding from his right ear.  Claimant was treated at Long
Island College Hospital and was later diagnosed by his attending physicians, Drs.
Parisi and Patel, as suffering from cerebral concussion by history, post-concussion
syndrome, contusions of the right ear and rib cage, and cervical and lumbar sprain. 
Employer voluntarily paid temporary total disability compensation to claimant from
January 30, 1989 until July 4, 1989.  33 U.S.C. §908(b).  Claimant filed a
claim for permanent total disability benefits under the Act, alleging that he has
suffered physical and psychological injuries due to the January 1989 work-accident. 

     The administrative law judge accepted the parties' stipulation that an
accident occurred at work on January 30, 1989, and thereafter found that claimant
was entitled to continuing temporary total disability benefits until August 29,
1989.  The administrative law judge subsequently concluded, however, that claimant
failed to establish that he suffers from either a physical or psychological
disability subsequent to August 29, 1989, as a result of the January 30, 1989,
accident.  

     On appeal, claimant challenges the administrative law judge's denial of his
claim for permanent total disability benefits subsequent to August 29, 1989. 
Employer responds, urging affirmance of the administrative law judge's decision.

     It is well-established that claimant bears the burden of establishing the
nature and extent of any disability sustained as a result of a work-related injury.
See Anderson v. Todd Shipyards, Inc., 22 BRBS 20 (1989); Trask v.
Lockheed Shipbuilding & Construction Co., 17 BRBS 56 (1985).[1]   In the instant case, the administrative law
judge initially found, based upon the opinion of Dr. Patel, claimant's treating
physician, that claimant was not able to return to his usual employment until
August 29, 1989.  Thereafter, in determining that claimant was able to return to
his usual employment on August 29, 1989, and not September 20, 1989, as opined by
Dr. Patel, the administrative law judge relied on the opinion of Dr. Koval, a
board-certified orthopedist.  Dr. Koval stated in his August 29, 1989, report that
there were no objective findings of the musculo-skeletal system and opined that
claimant could return to work as a welder.  See Emp. Ex. 10; Emp. Ex. 16 at
7.  The administrative law judge further relied on the opinion of Dr. Block, a
board-certified neurologist, in concluding that claimant did not sustain a
permanent total disability, from a physical standpoint, as a result of his work-related injury.  Dr. Block stated that he discovered no signs of organic
neurological disease and, based on the examination he administered, opined that
claimant's described sensory loss was factitious.  Emp. Ex. 9; Emp. Ex. 14 at 9-12,
59.  In crediting Drs. Koval and Block, the administrative law judge specifically
noted these physicians' greater expertise.  Next, the administrative law judge,
citing claimant's consistent lack of cooperation with medical examiners and the
discrepancies between his complaints and the objective findings of the physicians,
determined that claimant's subjective complaints were not credible.  He thus
accorded less weight to the opinion of Dr. Patel, who did not doubt the veracity
of claimant's complaints.[2]   Decision and Order
at 11.  

     Lastly, the administrative law judge found that claimant did not suffer from
any psychological disability as a result of the January 30, 1989, work accident,
crediting the opinion of Dr. Aldin over the contrary opinion of Dr. Mannucci.  In
his July 8, 1991 report, Dr. Mannucci stated that claimant "presents clear signs
of a severe depressive syndrome resulting from post-traumatic stress disorder,"
confirming his previous diagnosis of August 31, 1990.  Cl. Ex. 4.  However, when
Dr. Aldin first examined claimant on November 15, 1990, claimant was non-responsive
to basic questions posed to him, despite the fact that in reports of other
physicians, claimant was able to speak clearly about himself.  It was Dr. Aldin's
impression that claimant acted "in a manner in which he believes insane people
act."  Emp. Ex. 11.  Thereafter, in his April 15, 1991, report, Dr. Aldin concluded
that while claimant is angry, he suffers from no psychiatric disability.  Emp. Ex.
12.  At his deposition, Dr. Aldin specifically disagreed with Dr. Mannucci's
opinion that claimant suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of
his work accident, stating claimant's accident is not the kind that would produce
such a disorder.  Emp. Ex. 15 at 11-12, 17.  The administrative law judge credited
Dr. Aldin's opinion as comporting better with the facts of this case.  He found Dr.
Mannucci's conclusions unsupported, and rejected Dr. Mannucci's diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder, as the possibility that claimant was fabricating his
symptoms was not accounted for.  Decision and Order at 12.  

     We hold that the administrative law judge committed no error in crediting and
relying upon the testimony of Drs. Koval, Block and Aldin in concluding that
claimant sustained no physical or psychological impairment subsequent to August 29,
1989.  In adjudicating a claim, it is well-established that an administrative law
judge is entitled to evaluate the credibility of all witnesses, including doctors,
and is not bound to accept the opinion or theory of any particular medical
examiner; rather, the administrative law judge may draw his own inferences and
conclusions from the evidence.  See Calbeck v. Strachan Shipping Co., 306
F.2d 693 (5th Cir. 1962), cert. denied, 372 U.S. 954 (1963); Todd
Shipyards Corp. v. Donovan, 300 F.2d 741 (5th Cir. 1962); John W. McGrath
Corp. v. Hughes, 289 F.2d 403 (2d Cir. 1961).  In the instant case, the
administrative law judge's decision to credit the opinions of Drs. Koval, Block and
Aldin, over the opinions of Drs. Parisi, Patel and Mannucci, is rational and within his authority as factfinder.[3]   See generally Wheeler v. Interocean
Stevedoring Co., 21 BRBS 33 (1988). Furthermore, as these credited opinions
constitute substantial evidence to support the administrative law judge's finding
that claimant had no physical or psychological impairment subsequent to August 29,
1989, we affirm the administrative law judge's determination that claimant was not
disabled as a result of his January 30, 1989, work accident subsequent to August
29, 1989. See Cordero v. Triple A Machine Shop, 580 F.2d 1331, 8 BRBS 744
(9th Cir. 1978), cert. denied, 440 U.S. 911 (1979).  Therefore, the
administrative law judge's denial of compensation subsequent to August 29, 1989,
is affirmed.

     Accordingly, the administrative law judge's Decision and Order Granting
Additional Temporary Total Disability Benefits; Denying Permanent Total Disability
Benefits is affirmed.

     SO ORDERED.


                                                                        

                         ROY P. SMITH
                         Administrative Appeals Judge



                                                                        

                         NANCY S. DOLDER
                         Administrative Appeals Judge



                                                                        

                         REGINA C. McGRANERY
                         Administrative Appeals Judge


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Footnotes.


1)We note that, in determining the nature and extent of claimant's disability, the administrative law judge improperly applied the Section 20(a), 33 U.S.C. §920(a), presumption of causation. This error, however, is harmless, in view of the administrative law judge's weighing of the evidence. Back to Text
2)At her deposition, Dr. Patel opined that claimant was permanently totally disabled due to the combination of his physical and psychological injuries. Cl. Ex. 6, Patel Dep. at 19. Back to Text
3)Although claimant contends that the Act must be liberally construed and doubtful questions of law and fact must be resolved in his favor, the United States Supreme Court recently held that the "true doubt rule" does not apply to cases under the Longshore Act because it violates Section 7(c) of the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §556(d), which requires that the party seeking the award bears the burden of persuasion. Director, OWCP v. Greenwich Collieries, U.S. , 114 S.Ct. 2251, 28 BRBS 43 (CRT)(1994). Back to Text

NOTE: This is an UNPUBLISHED LHCA Document.

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