Wallace v. Bowen

869 F. 2d 187 (3d Cir. 1989)


Wallace sought to have social security disability benefits, but was denied by the Department of Health. He appealed on the grounds that the administrative law judge relied on medical information obtained after the hearing in violation of the notice requirement and in violation of the right to cross-examine those who present evidence against you. After the hearing, the judge sent Wallace’s medical records to two “consultative” physicians for their medical opinions. The ALJ specifically said he had relied on the medical opinions to reach his decision.


Whether the ALJ’s reliance on medical evidence reviewed after the hearing violates his APA right to cross examination and notice.


It is unmistakably the rule that a secretary cannot rely on evidence obtained or reviewed after the hearing unless the claimant is allowed to cross examine the author of the evidence. “Effective cross-examination could reveal what evidence the physician considered or failed to consider in formulating his or her conclusions, how firmly the physician holds to those conclusions, and whether there are any qualifications to the physicians conclusions…”

However, whether cross-examination of the author of a report is necessary for full disclosure of the facts is left for the ALJ to determine. In this case, the ALJ finds that nothing about a future cross-examination would reveal material facts. Therefore, the case is closed and reopening of the case is denied.

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