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Brown v. Berryhill

United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Helena Division

November 8, 2018

RUTH ANN BROWN PLAINTIFF
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Deputy Commissioner for Operations, performing the duties and functions not reserved to the Commissioner of Social Security DEFENDANT

          RECOMMENDED DISPOSITION

          PATRICIA S. HARRIS, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         INSTRUCTIONS

         The following Recommended Disposition (“Recommendation”) has been sent to United States District Judge Billy Roy Wilson. 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.

         REASONING FOR RECOMMENDED DISPOSITION

         Ruth Brown applied for social security disability benefits with an alleged disability onset date of July 23, 2012. (R. at 96). After a hearing, the administrative law judge (ALJ) denied her application. (R. at 131). The Appeals Council remanded for further proceedings. (R. at 138-39). After a second hearing, the ALJ again denied Brown's application. (R. at 28). The Appeals Council denied Brown's request for review. (R. at 1). The second ALJ's decision now stands as the Commissioner's final decision, and Brown has requested judicial review.

         For the reasons stated below, the magistrate judge recommends affirming the Commissioner's decision.

         I. The Commissioner's Decision

         The ALJ found that Brown had the severe impairments of diabetes mellitus, migraine headaches, degenerative disk disease, obesity, and gout. (R. at 23). As a result of the impairments, the ALJ determined that Brown had the residual functional capacity (RFC) to perform sedentary work except that she could only occasionally stoop, crouch, bend, kneel, crawl, and balance; could understand, remember and carry out complex instructions; and respond to changes in the workplace. (R. at 23). The ALJ took testimony from a vocational expert (VE) and determined that Brown could not perform her past relevant work. (R. at 26). The VE testified, however, that Brown had acquired transferable skills from her work as assistant manager and department store manager. (R. at 27). The VE testified that a person with Brown's RFC and transferable skills could perform jobs such as personnel clerk and order clerk. (R. at 27). The ALJ therefore held that Brown was not disabled. (R. at 28).

         II. Summary of Medical Evidence

         Brown was admitted to White County Medical Center with foot pain on July 23, 2012. (R. at 402). She was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis and discharged home with a Norco prescription and instructions to be off work for one week and have no weight-bearing for one week. (R. at 404). Her foot was also splinted. (R. at 406).

         Brown was seen at Westside Family Medical Clinic for ER follow-up on July 27, 2012. (R. at 420). She was seen again on August 10, 2012 to get paperwork for medical leave. (R. at 419). On August 30, 2012, she was seen for a check-up and continued to have issues with gout and heel pain. (R. at 418).

         Dr. Bruce Berkheimer treated Brown on September 10, 2012 for right heel pain. (R. at 431). Dr. Berkheimer noted that Brown had a mild, pronated foot type and treated her with a plantar fascia injection. (R. at 431). She visited Dr. Berkheimer for a left heel injection on September 27, 2012. (R. at 475).

         On October 16, 2012, Brown visited White County Medical Center for foot pain. (R. at 514). She was diagnosed with a heel spur and discharged. (R. at 516-17).

         On October 18, 2012, Dr. Berkheimer noted severe plantar fasciitis/heel spur syndrome, for which he gave her injections and recommended shoes ...


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