Federal 7th Circuit Court
Black Lung Disease
Record contained sufficient evidence to support ALJ’s finding that claimant was totally disabled by pneumoconiosis arising out of his coal mining employment based on his second application for Black Lung Disease benefits, after his first application had been denied by reason of abandonment. Employer conceded that claimant had demonstrated change in his condition of entitlement in that he was now totally disabled, and ALJ could properly find that claimant had labored for at least 15 years in surface mining conditions, which included work in presence of coal and rock dust, that was substantially similar to underground mining conditions, and that employer had failed to rebut resultant 15-year presumption that claimant was totally disabled due to pneumoconiosis. Fact that claimant had extensive history of cigarette smoking, or that record contained medical evidence that was in equipoise on issue regarding presence of totally disabling respiratory impairment did not require different result.