United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fayetteville Division
LORAN D. MOORE PLAINTIFF
NANCY A. BERRYHILL,  Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration DEFENDANT
MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
ERIN L. WIEDEMANN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Loran D. Moore, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g), seeking judicial review of a decision of the
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
(Commissioner) denying his claim for a period of disability
and disability insurance benefits (DIB) under the provisions
of Title II of the Social Security Act (Act). In this
judicial review, the Court must determine whether there is
substantial evidence in the administrative record to support
the Commissioner's decision. See 42 U.S.C.
protectively filed his current application for DIB on August
6, 2013, alleging an inability to work since June 27, 2013,
due to Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Obsessive Compulsive
Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, panic attacks,
depression, high blood pressure, and anxiety attacks. (Tr.
71-72, 85-86). For DIB purposes, Plaintiff maintained insured
status through December 31, 2016. (Tr. 71, 85). An
administrative hearing was held on October 7, 2014, at which
Plaintiff appeared with counsel and testified. (Tr. 30-69).
Debra Steele, Vocational Expert (VE), and David Duane
Gosvener, Plaintiff's friend, also testified. (Tr.
written opinion dated September 19, 2015, the ALJ found that
the Plaintiff had the following severe impairments:
depressive disorder, not otherwise specified; anxiety
disorder, not otherwise specified; antisocial personality
disorder; and obsessive compulsive disorder. (Tr. 13-14).
However, after reviewing the evidence in its entirety, the
ALJ determined that the Plaintiff's impairments did not
meet or equal the level of severity of any listed impairments
described in Appendix 1 of the Regulations (20 CFR, Subpart
P, Appendix 1). (Tr. 15-16). The ALJ found Plaintiff retained
the residual functional capacity (RFC) to perform a full
range of work at all exertional levels, with the following
non-exertional limitations: Plaintiff is limited to work
involving simple, routine, repetitive tasks, incidental
interpersonal contact with coworkers and supervisors, no
contact with the general public, and simple, direct and
concrete supervision. (Tr. 16-20). With the help of VE
testimony, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff was unable to
perform his past relevant work as a shipping order clerk and
a shipping and receiving supervisor. (Tr. 20). However, based
on the Plaintiff's age, education, work experience, and
RFC, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff was capable of work as
a poultry hanger, a sweeper cleaner, and a floor worker. The
VE further testified that Plaintiff would be able to perform
the job duties of a gluer, a bottle line attendant, and a
sausage inspector. (Tr. 21). Ultimately, the ALJ concluded
that the Plaintiff had not been under a disability within the
meaning of the Social Security Act from June 27, 2013,
through the date of the decision. (Tr. 22).
on October 24, 2015, Plaintiff requested a review of the
hearing decision by the Appeals Council. (Tr. 7). His request
was denied on September 7, 2016. (Tr. 1-5). Plaintiff filed a
Petition for Judicial Review of the matter on November 10,
2016. (Doc. 1). Both parties have submitted briefs, and this
case is before the undersigned for report and recommendation.
(Docs. 11, 12).
Court has reviewed the transcript in its entirety. The
complete set of facts and arguments are presented in the
parties' briefs and are repeated here only to the extent
hearing before the ALJ on October 7, 2014, Plaintiff
testified that he was born in 1961 and had obtained his GED.
(Tr. 35-36). Plaintiff's past relevant work consists of
work as a shipping order clerk and a shipping and receiving
supervisor. (Tr. 62).
to the relevant time period, Plaintiff underwent a DOT
medical examination, was treated for dehydration at Northwest
Medical Center in Springdale, was treated for a motor vehicle
accident at the Northwest Medical Center Emergency Room, and
was treated for anxiety and hypertension at the Ear, Nose and
Throat Center of the Ozarks. (Tr. 286-288, 290-293, 302-305,
evidence during the relevant time period reflects that on
October 18, 2013, Plaintiff underwent a CT examination of his
head and an x-ray of his chest, both of which yielded normal
results. (Tr. 346-347).
November 22, 2013, Dr. Robert Karas performed a General
Physical Examination, wherein he noted Plaintiff's
complaints of irritable bowel syndrome, obsessive compulsive
disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, depression, and
hypertension. (Tr. 326-327). Dr. Karas also noted
Plaintiff's report of headaches, acid reflux, back and
knee pain, and a history of psychiatric treatment in 2005.
Dr. Karas' physical examination of the Plaintiff yielded
normal results, except for the inability to flex
Plaintiff's middle, left finger and poor balance. (Tr.
329-330). Dr. Karas' mental examination showed that
Plaintiff was alert and oriented with no evidence of
psychosis, but showed evidence of obsessive compulsive
disorder and anxiety. (Tr. 332). Dr. Karas listed diagnoses
of irritable bowel syndrome, generalized anxiety disorder,
panic attacks, depression, and hypertension, and opined that
no limitations were placed on Plaintiff based upon the
findings in the examination. (Tr. 332).
November 26, 2013, a Mental Diagnostic Examination was
performed by examining physician, Dr. Mary J. Sonntag, Psy.D.
Dr. Sonntag's records revealed Plaintiff's complaints
of panic attacks, anxiety, depression, and an inability to
sleep more than three to four hours per night. (Tr. 335).
Plaintiff reported that he participated in counseling in the
Psychology Department at the University of Arkansas, where he
was given techniques to battle anxiety and depression. (Tr.
335). Plaintiff shared that he saw improvement after his
counseling at the University. (Tr. 335). Plaintiff also
reported that finances were an obstacle to treatment.
Plaintiff shared that he did not need assistance with
activities of daily living, that he served a three-year jail
sentence for a theft of property conviction, that he did not
have trouble getting along with others and that he quit his
last job due to anxiety attacks, which occurred several times
a day. (Tr. 336). During Plaintiff's mental examination,
Plaintiff was noted to have average hygiene, no trouble
walking, a good and cooperative attitude, anxious behavior,
logical speech, and no evidence of delusions or bizarre
obsessions. (Tr. 337). Plaintiff admitted suicidal thoughts,
but denied any suicide attempts. (Tr. 337). Based on her
observations, Dr. Sonntag diagnosed Plaintiff with anxiety
disorder, depressive disorder, antisocial personality
disorder, and a GAF score of 58-60. (Tr. 338). Dr. Sonntag
also noted that Plaintiff could drive familiar and unfamiliar
routes, could handle his finances, was capable of performing
activities of daily living independently, and could
participate in social events such as church. (Tr. 338). Dr.
Sonntag also opined that Plaintiff communicated and
interacted within normal limits, spoke intelligibly and
effectively, attended and sustained concentration, persisted
on tasks of evaluation, had no problems with testing, was
cooperative, gave great effort, and showed no symptoms of
exaggeration or malingering. (Tr. 339).
November 29, 2013, Dr. Martha Lancaster completed a Case
Analysis, where she determined that the medical records would
support a rating of non-severe. (Tr. 76-77).
December 12, 2013, Plaintiff presented at the Ear, Nose and
Throat Center of the Ozarks where he was examined by Carolyn
Nutter, a physician assistant-certified. (Tr. 343). At that
visit, Plaintiff complained of anxiety and high blood
pressure. Ms. Nutter's notes indicated that
Plaintiff's symptoms for both anxiety and high blood
pressure were mild. (Tr. 343). Plaintiff was instructed to
continue with the prescribed diet, exercise and medication
for his high blood pressure and to continue with the
prescribed medication for his depression. (Tr. 345).
January 7, 2014, Dr. Jay Rankin performed a Psychiatric
Review Technique, where he opined that Plaintiff had mild
restriction of his activities of daily living; Plaintiff had
moderate difficulty in maintaining social function; Plaintiff
had mild difficulty in maintaining concentration,
persistence, or pace; and Plaintiff had no episodes of
decompensation. (Tr. 78). In Dr. Rankin's Mental RFC, he
concluded that, based on Plaintiff's medical record, he
had the capacity for work where interpersonal contact is
routine but superficial, e.g., grocery checker; complexity of
task is learned by experience, several variables, judgment
within limits; and supervision is little for routine but
detailed for non-routine. (Tr. 80).
February 13, 2014, Dr. Abesie Kelly, Ph.D. performed a
Psychiatric Review Technique, where she opined that Plaintiff
had mild restriction of his activities of daily living;
Plaintiff had moderate difficulty in maintaining social
function; Plaintiff had mild difficulty in maintaining
concentration, persistence, or pace; and Plaintiff had no
episodes of decompensation. (Tr. 92). Dr. Abesie also
performed a Mental RFC, where she concluded that, based on
Plaintiff's medical record, he had the capacity for work
where interpersonal contact is routine but superficial, e.g.,
grocery checker; complexity of task is learned by experience,
several variables, judgment within limits; and supervision is
little for routine but detailed for non-routine. (Tr. 95).
February 14, 2014, Dr. Lucy Sauer reviewed the information in
Plaintiff's file and determined that the decision of Dr.
Martha Lancaster should be affirmed. (Tr. 91-92).
March 25, 2014, Plaintiff was seen by Ms. Nutter for
medication refills and complaints of arthritis and
hypertension. (Tr. 380). Plaintiff's physical examination
was normal, and he was given refills and instructed to
continue his ...