Our firm was recently successful in getting the Federal District Courtin Oxford, Mississippito Remand a case back for a new hearing because of problems with the hearing recording. See Powers v. Colvin, N. District of Mississippi (2013). Click here to read the Memorandum Opinion.
Magistrate Judge Alexander noted a recurring problem for the Administration in providing a complete administrative record for review. In our practice, I have seen something of an uptick in cases where the hearing recording is largely inaudible. For some cases the error is “harmless” and the Administration overlooks the problem. In other cases, like this one, the testimony supposedly relied upon by the ALJ to deny the claimant was completely absent from the record.
I am not entirely sure how to account for it, but my guess is that this is largely the result of video hearings. When you have the claimant and the Judge in two different locations, technical problems are more likely to occur. It has gotten to the point that I have seen cases where the ALJ was in one city, the attorney in another, and the vocational expert was testifying via telephone from yet a third location. Though I understand why the Administration is making this technological push, it really needs to step back and verify that they are not sacrificing due process in favor of faster process.