Willie B. Boyd, Jr. Plaintiff- Appellant
Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security Defendant-Appellee
Submitted: March 17, 2016
from United States District Court for the Eastern District of
WOLLMAN, ARNOLD, and SHEPHERD, Circuit Judges.
SHEPHERD, Circuit Judge.
Boyd, Jr. appeals the district court's decision
upholding the Commissioner's denial of supplemental
security income (SSI) and disability insurance benefits
(DIB). Upon de novo review of the district court's
decision upholding the Administrative Law Judge's denial
of benefits, see Anderson v. Astrue, 696 F.3d 790,
793 (8th Cir. 2012), we affirm.
filed his applications for SSI and DIB benefits on October
31, 2011 alleging disability from August 11, 2011 due to
diabetes mellitus, heart problems, fatigue, and chest, back
and leg pain. After his applications were denied initially
and after reconsideration, he received a hearing before an
Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) on May 28, 2013. Boyd was
represented by counsel at the hearing. On July 24, 2013 the
ALJ issued a written decision finding that Boyd was not
disabled and denying his applications for SSI and DIB
benefits. The Appeals counsel denied Boyd's request for
review, thus the ALJ's decision stands as the final
decision of the Commissioner. See Davidson v.
Astrue, 501 F.3d 987, 989 (8th Cir. 2007). Boyd sought
judicial review, and the district court affirmed the
relevant medical record reveals that in April 2007, Boyd
sought medical attention for angina equivalent symptoms. A
history of hypertension, Type II diabetes mellitus, and heart
murmur was noted. A history taken by Norman Pledger, M.D.,
reflected that Boyd had recently stopped smoking but
continued to smoke marijuana "almost on a daily
basis." He noted that Boyd worked as a truck driver. He
was treated with aspirin and prescribed sublingual
nitroglycerin; a stress test and echocardiogram were ordered.
Boyd was encouraged to stop smoking and avoid drug and
alcohol use. He was to return for followup in six weeks. A
cardiac catheritization, performed on April 20, 2007, showed
October 2007, a consultative examination by Joel Cobb, M.D.,
showed diabetes, paresthesia in Boyd's hands and feet,
cardiomyopathy, hypertension, and chest pain. Boyd was found
to have a decreased range of motion in his cervical spine,
lumbar spine, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hands, hips, knees,
and ankles. Paresthesia was present in Boyd's fingertips.
He showed no joint abnormalities, muscle spasms, muscle
weakness, or muscle atrophy, and he exhibited normal deep
tendon reflexes, gait, and coordination. Dr. Cobb assessed
mild limitation with lifting, carrying, and squatting
repeatedly. In March 2010, Dr. Cobb again evaluated Boyd and
diagnosed Type II diabetes mellitus, hypertention, diabetic
peripheral neuropathy, and chronic fatigue. He limited Boyd
to "[m]oderate lifting, carrying which likely would
improve with better management of blood sugars."
December 21, 2010, January 5, 2011, and April 4, 2011, Linda
Cabine, a nurse practitioner, saw Boyd for diabetes, erectile
dysfunction, and hypertension. In December 2010 and January
2011, she noted that Boyd was still smoking. On all three
examinations she recorded that Boyd appeared well and was in
no acute distress. In November 2011, Boyd saw nurse
practitioner Kathy Woods for a medication check-up. It was
noted that Boyd had not visited the clinic in six months and
that he was positive for twice per week chest pain, muscle
cramps, and pain but negative for fatigue and exhibited no
clubbing, cyanosis, or edema. Nurse Kelly assessed diabetes
Johnson, M.D., performed a consultative examination on
January 26, 2012. Dr. Johnson noted that Boyd complained of
diabetes mellitus, chronic pain in his legs and back,
difficulty sleeping, headaches, poor vision, peripheral
vascular disease, an inability to walk more than five to ten
feet, moderate to severe pain in the middle of his back to
his toes, and sharp chest pain that occurred twice a week.
Boyd had decreased range of motion in his left shoulder,
right knee, and both ankles. He showed tenderness to
palpitation of his shoulders, wrists, hips, and ankles. Dr.
Johnson also noted that Boyd had decreased reflexes in his
biceps, triceps, patella, and Achilles tendon. Boyd could
tandem walk slowly, but he was not able to walk on his heels
or toes or squat and arise from a squatting position.
Bilateral dorsalis pedis pulse were absent, and he had trace
edema in the left lower extremity and stasis dermatitis in
both lower extremities. Dr. Johnson diagnosed: heart disease,
leg pain with vascular disease, chest pain, arthralgias,
diabetes mellitus, and hypertension. She noted that Boyd had
severe limitation in his ability to walk, stand, sit, lift,
carry, handle, finger, see, speak, and hear.
agency doctor, Larry Sauer, M.D., completed a review of
Boyd's medical records in February 2012, although he did
not examine Boyd. Dr. Sauer reported that Boyd had no
postural or manipulative limitations and could occasionally
lift and carry ten pounds, frequently lift and carry less
than ten pounds, sit six hours, and stand/walk two hours
during an eight hour workday.
April 2012, Boyd was treated for chest pain in the emergency
room at Baptist Health Medical Center, North Little Rock,
Arkansas. A cardiac catheterization was performed which
revealed non-ischemic cardiomyopathy and minimal coronary
artery disease. He was treated with medication and instructed
that he should not lift, drive, or engage in strenuous
exercise for two days and follow-up in two months.
hearing before an ALJ was conducted on May 28, 2013. Boyd
appeared represented by counsel and testified. Boyd testified
that he was 44 years of age as of the date of the hearing and
has a general equivalency degree. He last worked in May 2011
as a warehouse worker and driver. He was incarcerated for 22
months for possession of cocaine and was released on August
24, 2009. He was subsequently arrested for possession of
marijuana. He was on parole as of the date of the hearing.
Boyd testified that he is prevented from working by diabetes;
high blood pressure; and pain in his arms, left shoulder,
feet, and legs. He stated that he experiences chest pain
twice a day and constant pain in his legs, feet, ankles, and
hands. He further stated that his feet and hands swell and he
can not perform a job that requires him to answer the phone
or use a keyboard due to constant pain. He uses the restroom
two times an hour and urinates on himself at least once per
day because he is unable to make it to the restroom. Boyd
testified that he spends most of each day sitting or lying
down due to pain and swelling in his feet and legs, and he is
unable to drive. He further stated that he has trouble
sleeping three times a week and sometimes oversleeps.
Boyd's wife testified that it is her understanding that
Boyd spends most of his day sitting and lying around,
complaining about pain. She stated that Boyd has difficulty
walking and standing due to swelling in his feet, and he is
unable to do housework.
vocational expert ("VE") testified and noted that
Boyd has relevant past work as a delivery truck driver and
front-end loader operator which is medium, semiskilled work.
The ALJ posed a hypothetical question to the VE which
included the residual functional capacity ("RFC")
of the full range of sedentary work with the ability to
occasionally climb, balance, stoop, bend, crouch, kneel, and
crawl. The VE testified that an individual with Boyd's
age, education, work experience, and specified RFC could not
perform Boyd's past relevant work but could perform other
jobs in the regional and national economy such as unskilled
sedentary assembly and inspecting jobs. According to the VE,
a person with Boyd's age, education, work experience, and
RFC can perform all of the unskilled, sedentary jobs in the
assembly and inspecting larger job categories, for example,