United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fayetteville Division
MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
ERIN L. WIEDEMANN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Jeremy Fornoff, 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 supplemental security
income (SSI) benefits under the provisions of Title XVI 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. § 405(g).
protectively filed his current application for SSI on
September 29, 2014, alleging an inability to work due to back
problems, right knee problems, anger issues and high blood
pressure. (Tr. 67). An administrative hearing was held on
February 8, 2016, at which Plaintiff appeared with counsel
and testified. (Tr. 27-65).
written decision dated June 17, 2016, the ALJ found that
during the relevant time period, Plaintiff had an impairment
or combination of impairments that were severe. (Tr. 12).
Specifically, the ALJ found Plaintiff had the following
severe impairments: degenerative disc disease of the lumbar
and cervical spine. However, after reviewing all of the
evidence presented, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff's
impairments did not meet or equal the level of severity of
any impairment listed in the Listing of Impairments found in
Appendix I, Subpart P, Regulation No. 4. (Tr. 14). The ALJ
found Plaintiff retained the residual functional capacity
perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 416.967(b) except
that he can occasionally climb, balance, crawl, kneel, stoop,
crouch and reach overhead bilaterally.
(Tr. 14). With the help of a vocational expert, the ALJ
determined Plaintiff could perform work as a marking clerk, a
furniture rental clerk and a toll collector. (Tr. 20).
then requested a review of the hearing decision by the
Appeals Council, which denied that request on May 24, 2017.
(Tr. 1-6). Subsequently, Plaintiff filed this action. (Doc.
1). Both parties have filed appeal briefs, and the case is
before the undersigned for report and recommendation. (Docs.
Court has reviewed the entire transcript. The complete set of
facts and arguments are presented in the parties' briefs,
and are repeated here only to the extent necessary.
administrative hearing held before the ALJ on February 8,
2016, Plaintiff, who was forty-one years of age, testified
that he obtained an eleventh grade education. (Tr. 31).
Plaintiff's past relevant work consists of a composite
job as a fork lift operator and a laborer. (Tr. 60-61). Prior
to the relevant time period, Plaintiff sought treatment for
various impairments to include, but not limited to chronic
back pain, neck pain, right knee pain, high blood pressure,
and right wrist pain.
medical evidence pertinent to the relevant time period
reflects the following. On October 15, 2014, Plaintiff was
seen by Dr. William Piechal of the Healing Arts Medical
Center. (Tr. 340-344). Plaintiff complained of low back,
right knee and right wrist pain. Plaintiff reported gathering
fire wood aggravated his problems. Dr. Piechal noted
Plaintiff's gait was steady and he ambulated without
assistance. After examining Plaintiff, Dr. Piechal assessed
Plaintiff with chronic pain syndrome. Trigger point
injections were administered.
November 12, 2014, Plaintiff was seen by Dr. Piechal for a
follow-up appointment. (Tr. 431-435). Plaintiff reported an
increase in pain due to the cold weather. Plaintiff received
trigger point injections.
December 11, 2014, Plaintiff was seen by Dr. Piechal for a
follow-up appointment. (Tr. 426-430). Plaintiff complained of
low back pain. Plaintiff also complained of bilateral hip and
knee pain and right shoulder pain. Plaintiff also complained
of a head cold. Plaintiff received trigger point injections.
January 9, 2015, Plaintiff was seen by Dr. Piechal for a
follow-up appointment. (Tr. 420-425). Plaintiff complained of
neck pain, back pain, bilateral hip pain and right knee pain.
A musculoskeletal exam was normal with the exception of an