United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fort Smith Division
TYLER S. MORELAND PLAINTIFF
NANCY A. BARRYHILL, Commissioner, Social Security Administration DEFENDANT
MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
HONORABLE MARK E. FORD UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Tyler S. Moreland, 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 claims for
child's insurance benefits and supplemental security
income (SSI) under Title XVI of the Social Security Act
(“the Act”), 42 U.S.C. § 1383(c)(3). In this
judicial review, the Court must determine whether there is
substantial evidence in the administrative record to support
the Commissioner's decision. See U.S.C. §
February 10, 2014, an application for supplemental security
income was filed on behalf of the claimant, who was then a
child under the age of 18. (ECF No. 11, p. 262). The alleged
date of onset (“AOD”) of Plaintiff's
disability was July 1, 2006. (ECF No. 11, p. 262).
Plaintiff's application was denied initially and upon
reconsideration. (ECF No. 11, pp. 131-151). An administrative
hearing was held on February 19, 2015, but no decision was
issued. (ECF No. 11, p. 15). The case was then reassigned,
and a supplemental hearing was scheduled. (ECF No. 11, p.
15). The supplemental hearing was held telephonically on May
6, 2016. (ECF No. 11, p. 58). Plaintiff testified, and a
vocational expert (“VE”), Debra Steele, also
testified. (ECF No. 11, pp. 58-79). New records were obtained
to further develop the record, and these were then proffered
to Plaintiff. Plaintiff subsequently obtained representation
and requested another supplemental hearing, which was held on
September 9, 2016, in Fort Smith, Arkansas. (ECF No. 11, pp.
80-111). Plaintiff appeared with counsel, Michael Hamby, and
testified. (ECF No. 11, pp. 80-111).
written decision dated September 16, 2016, the ALJ found that
before attaining the age of 18 Plaintiff's grand mal
seizures were a severe impairment, but that Plaintiff's
impairments did not meet or medically equal the severity of
any impairment listed in the Listing of Impairments. (ECF No.
11, pp. 20-21). The ALJ found that before reaching the age of
18 Plaintiff had less than marked limitations in the domains
of: acquiring and using information; attending and completing
tasks; moving about and manipulating objects; and, caring for
himself. (ECF No. 11 pp. 24-29). The ALJ found that Plaintiff
had no limitations in the domains of interacting with and
relating with others, and health and physical well-being.
(ECF No. 11, pp. 24-29). The ALJ found that Plaintiff had not
developed any new impairments after attaining the age of 18,
and that Plaintiff's grand mal seizures continued to be a
severe impairment. (ECF. No. 11, p. 29). After discounting
Plaintiff's credibility, the ALJ found that Plaintiff
retained the residual functional capacity (“RFC”)
to perform a full range of work at all exertional levels, but
with the following non-exertional limitations: no exposure to
hazards such as unprotected heights, moving mechanical parts,
or moving machinery, sharp objects or open flames; no
commercial driving; no climbing ladders, ropes or scaffolds;
no exposure to extremes of heat or cold, or loud or very loud
noise environments; and, no work with fast paced production
requirements like production rate pace type work, such as
assembly line work. (ECF No. 11, pp. 29-33). With the
assistance of a vocational expert, the ALJ determined that
jobs exist in significant numbers in the national economy
that Plaintiff has been able to perform. (ECF No. 11, pp.
August 18, 2017, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's
request for review. (ECF No. 11, p. 1). Plaintiff
subsequently filed this action on October 12, 2017. (ECF No.
1). This matter is before the undersigned for report and
recommendation. Both parties have filed appeal briefs (ECF
Nos. 15, 16), and the case is now ready for decision.
undersigned has conducted a thorough review of the entire
record in this case. Because the Plaintiff's appeal
concerns the limitations resulting from his seizure disorder,
the undersigned will recount only the evidence relevant to
March 12, 2013, Plaintiff was examined by Dr. Steve-Felix
Belinga. Plaintiff reported that he had experienced a seizure
the day before his appointment. (ECF No. 11, p. 420).
Plaintiff had been weaned off seizure medication as he had
experienced two seizure-free years, and it was believed they
were controlled. (Id.). Plaintiff was then
experiencing seizures two to three times per week; feeling
them come on most often when he was hungry. (Id.).
Plaintiff complained of blurred vision, headaches, falls,
neck and back pain, as well as occasional stuttering and
slurred speech after a seizure. (ECF No. 11, pp. 420, 422).
Dr. Belinga increased Plaintiff's Depakote dosage from
500 mg to 750 mg and scheduled an EEG and MRI. (ECF No. 11,
March 15, 2013, an MRI was done; it was found unremarkable by
Dr. Belinga. (ECF No. 11, pp. 429-430). On March 26, 2013,
Plaintiff had an EEG. Dr. Belinga noted this as an abnormal
awake EEG due to the presence of bursts of generalized
slowing of unclear significance. (ECF No. 11, p. 427).
Plaintiff had a follow up appointment with Dr. Belinga on
March 26, 2013, and he reported no seizures since the last
visit. (ECF No. 11, p. 429). Dr. Belinga continued the
Depakote dosage without change and instructed Plaintiff to
return in three months. (ECF No. 11, p. 430).
September 12, 2013, Plaintiff returned to Dr. Belinga for his
follow up visit, and he reported having a seizure about two
weeks prior to the appointment. Plaintiff also reported he
was tired more often with wrestling practice, homework, and
school taking up most of his time. (ECF No. 11, p. 434). Dr.
Belinga discussed adding the medication Keppra in addition to
Depakote, prior to tapering off Depakote. (ECF No. 11, p.
October 14, 2013, Plaintiff reported no seizures since the
last visit. (ECF No. 11, p. 438). Plaintiff and his father
stated that he was seizure free since August of 2013, and had
no new complaints, but he needed a refill for his Medication.
(ECF No. 11, p. 446).
April 14, 2014, Plaintiff saw Nurse Brosnan and reported that
he had been seizure free since August of 2013 and needed a
medication refill. (ECF No. 11, p. 461).
14, 2014, Plaintiff saw Nurse Brosnan and Dr. Belinga.
Plaintiff reported he had new seizure activity since the last
visit. Nurse Brosnan noted that his most recent seizure was
May 8, 2014, and that it began after Plaintiff slept all day.
(ECF No. 11, p. 450). Plaintiff's father described the
seizure as violent, involving violent jerking in all
extremities, teeth grinding, eyes rolled back in head, and
salivating. The seizure reportedly lasted 7 to 8 minutes,
with another fifteen minutes or more before Plaintiff was
awake and alert again. (ECF No. 11, p. 449). Dr. Belinga
recommended an EEG with a Video EEG in 15 days. (ECF No. 11,
was performed on May 29, 2014, and Dr. Belinga found it to be
unremarkable. (ECF No. 11, p. 464).
August 5, 2014 Plaintiff reported that his mother had passed
away recently, and he had been feeling depressed. (ECF No.
11, p. 457). He reported seizures a month and a half ago, two
weeks ago, and the day before the appointment.
(Id.). Dr. Belinga increased Plaintiff's
Depakote dosage to 1, 000 mg. (ECF No. 11, p. 459).
September 18, 2014 Plaintiff had a follow up appointment with
Dr. Belinga. Treatment notes for this visit were very brief,
stating only that Plaintiff had a six-year history of
seizures, was stable, and to continue current medications.
(ECF No. 11, p. 547).
October 15, 2014, Plaintiff had a follow up appointment. He
reported one seizure since his last visit, and he estimated
it was roughly three weeks ago. (ECF No. 11, p. 453).
Plaintiff was instructed to follow up with the clinic in six
months. (ECF No. 11, p. 455).
January 26, 2015, Plaintiff was admitted to the Sparks
Regional Medical Center Emergency Department. (ECF No. 11, p.
501). Emergency Department personnel noted that Plaintiff
presented with recurrent seizures, and the occurrence was
noted. They noted that Plaintiff informed them his last
seizure had been three or four months ago, and that he had
been advised by his doctor to get his Depakote levels
checked. (Id.). His Valproic Acid level (a measure
of whether his ...