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Davis v. Colvin

United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas

April 10, 2015

Doris Ann Davis, Plaintiff,
v.
Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration, Defendant.

RECOMMENDED DISPOSITION

JEROME T. KEARNEY, Magistrate Judge.

Instructions

The following recommended disposition was prepared for U.S. District Judge James M. Moody, Jr. A party to this dispute may file written objections to this recommendation. An objection must be specific and state the factual and/or legal basis for the objection. An objection to a factual finding must identify the finding and the evidence supporting the objection. Objections must be filed with the clerk of the court no later than 14 days from the date of this recommendation.[1] The objecting party must serve the opposing party with a copy of an objection. Failing to object within 14 days waives the right to appeal questions of fact.[2] If no objections are filed, Judge Moody may adopt the recommended disposition without independently reviewing all of the record evidence.

Reasoning for Recommended Disposition

Doris Ann Davis seeks judicial review of the denial of her application for social security disability benefits.[3] In the past, Davis worked as a personal care aide.[4] She last worked in February 2011.[5] She says she stopped working because of back pain.[6] After she stopped working, she applied for disability benefits and based disability on blackouts, high blood pressure, and back problems.[7] Although initially alleging disability in June 2010, Davis amended her onset date to coincide with the time she stopped working.[8]

The Commissioner's decision. After considering the application, the Commissioner's ALJ determined Davis has severe impairments - lumbar spine degenerative disc disease with disc herniation, hypertension, history of seizure disorder, and obesity[9] - but she can do some light work.[10] Because a vocational expert identified light work meeting the ALJ's parameters, [11] the ALJ determined Davis is not disabled and denied the application.[12]

After the Appeals Council denied review, [13] the ALJ's decision became the Commissioner's final decision for the purpose of judicial review.[14] Davis filed this case to challenge the decision.[15] In reviewing the decision, the court must determine whether substantial evidence supports the decision and whether the ALJ made a legal error.[16] This recommendation explains why substantial evidence supports the decision and why the ALJ made no legal error.

Davis's allegations. Davis challenges the determination that she can do some light work. She contends the ALJ should have identified depression, disorder of the right shoulder, degenerative disc disease of the neck, and cardiomegaly, as severe impairments. She maintains her primary care physician's (PCP) opinion is entitled to controlling weight. She complains because the ALJ attributed a PCP opinion to a rehabilitation counselor. She complains about the evaluation of her credibility. For these reasons, she argues, substantial evidence does not support the ALJ's decision.[17]

Applicable legal principles. For substantial evidence to support the decision, a reasonable mind must accept the evidence as adequate to show Davis can do some light work.[18] "Light work involves lifting no more than 20 pounds at a time with frequent lifting or carrying of objects weighing up to 10 pounds."[19] The ALJ placed the following limitations on light work:

(1) occasional balancing, stooping, kneeling, crouching, crawling, and stair/ramp climbing;
(2) no climbing ladders/ropes/scaffolds;
(3) no hazards like unprotected heights or dangerous machinery;
(4) work permitting a cane for prolonged walking; and
(5) work permitting a person to change positions and elevate the legs below the ...

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