United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Little Rock Division
PATRICIA S. HARRIS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
following Recommended Disposition
(“Recommendation”) has been sent to United States
District Judge Susan Webber Wright. You may file written
objections to all or part of this Recommendation. If you do
so, those objections must: (1) specifically explain the
factual and/or legal basis for your objection; and (2) be
received by the Clerk of this Court within fourteen (14) days
of this Recommendation. By not objecting, you may waive the
right to appeal questions of fact.
FOR RECOMMENDED DISPOSITION
Shelton applied for social security disability benefits with
an alleged disability onset date of March 15, 1995. (R. at
60). After a hearing, the administrative law judge (ALJ)
denied his application. (R. at 20). The Appeals Council
denied Shelton's request for review. (R. at 1). The
ALJ's decision now stands as the Commissioner's final
decision, and Shelton has requested judicial review.
reasons stated below, the magistrate judge recommends
affirming the Commissioner's decision.
The Commissioner's Decision
found that Shelton had the severe impairments of degenerative
disk disease of the lumbar spine, osteoarthritis, and
adjustment disorder with mixed depression and anxiety. (R. at
11). As a result of the impairments, the ALJ determined that
Shelton had the residual functional capacity (RFC) to perform
light work, with the additional limitations that he could not
climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds; could only occasionally
climb ramps or stairs, kneel, crawl, crouch, stoop, or
balance; could not have exposure to unprotected heights or
control or operate foot controls with his left lower
extremity; could only perform work that allows for the use of
a cane as needed to access the workstation; would be limited
to unskilled duties where interpersonal contact is incidental
to the work performed; could perform work where the
complexity of one to two step tasks would be learned and
performed with few variables and little judgment by rote;
required supervision that is simple, direct, and concrete;
and would be limited to SVP 1 or 2 jobs that can be learned
within 30 days. (R. at 13-14). Shelton had no past relevant
work. (R. at 17). The ALJ took testimony from a vocational
expert (VE) and determined that Shelton could perform jobs
such as furniture rental consultant or photocopy machine
operator. (R. at 19-20). The ALJ therefore held that Shelton
was not disabled. (R. at 20).
Summary of Medical Evidence
was diagnosed with minimal osteoarthritis in the right hip
via radiography on February 3, 2012. (R. at 299). An MRI in
March 2013 showed degenerative disk disease of the lumbar
spine with herniated nucleus pulposus and neural foraminal
stenosis. (R. at 24). He received a lumbar interlaminar
epidural injection for radiculopathy and back pain. (R. at
examiner Garry Stewart, M.D. found normal range of motion,
normal reflexes, negative bilateral straight leg raise test,
normal grip strength, normal gait, and normal limb function.
(R. at 303-04). Dr. Stewart found no limitations. (R. at
November 2013 MRI found minimal disk bulge at ¶ 2-L3 and
L3-L4; mild disk osteophyte bulge at ¶ 4-L5; and grade 1
anterolisthesis of L5 on S1 with left foraminal disk
protrusion/extrusion abutting the left S1 nerve root,
moderate left and mild right facet hypertrophy, and moderate
left neural foraminal narrowing. (R. at 318-19). An EMG in
December 2013 showed positive sharp waves at multiple levels
in the left lumbar paraspinal musculature, consistent with
left lower lumber radiculopathy. (R. at 327).
did not seek treatment for 15 months, but did establish care
with a new provider in March 2015. (R. at 385). He complained
of a cyst, back pain, and intermittent bloody diarrhea. (R.
at 385). He stated that injections for his back pain had not
been completely effective. (R. at 385). He had tenderness on
palpation in the lumbosacral spine, but a straight leg
raising test was negative. (R. at 387).
presented in April 2015 for back pain radiating to the left
foot that was aggravated by bending and repetitive lifting
and also complained of fatigue, arthralgias, and myalgias.
(R. at 366). He displayed slow gait, decreased range of
motion in the lumbar spine, and pain with range of motion in
the lumbar spine. (R. at 367). In May 2015, he reported pain
in both hips, shooting pain in the right leg, and had begun
using a cane to ambulate. (R. at 360). He continued to show
slow gait, decreased range of motion in the lumbar spine, and
pain with range of motion in the ...