United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division
CHRISTINA A. WALKER PLAINTIFF
ANDREW SAUL, Commissioner, Social Security Administration, DEFENDANT
PROPOSED FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDED
VOLPE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
recommended disposition has been submitted to United States
District Judge Susan Webber Wright. The parties may file
specific objections to these findings and recommendations and
must provide the factual or legal basis for each objection.
The objections must be filed with the Clerk no later than
fourteen (14) days from the date of the findings and
recommendations. A copy must be served on the opposing party.
The district judge, even in the absence of objections, may
reject these proposed findings and recommendations in whole
or in part.
Christina Walker, has appealed the final decision of the
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration to deny
her claim for supplemental security income. Both parties have
submitted briefs and the case is ready for a decision.
Walker was previously found to be disabled under the Social
Security Act on June 2, 2009 - the comparison point decision.
(Tr. 12.) The Commissioner determined Plaintiff had the
medically determinable impairments of borderline personality
disorder, Von Willebrand disease, and sacroiliitis.
(Id.) However, upon a disability review, the
Commissioner determined she was no longer disabled as of
September 1, 2015, because she had medically improved and did
not have an impairment or combination of impairments meeting
or equaling an impairment listed in 20 C.F.R. Part 404,
Subpart P, Appendix 1. (Tr. 13-14.)
administrative law judge (ALJ) determined Ms. Walker had the
residual functional capacity to perform a reduced range of
sedentary work. (Tr. 15.) Because she had no past relevant
work, (Tr. 21), the ALJ utilized the services of a vocational
expert to determine if other jobs existed in significant
numbers that Plaintiff could perform despite her impairments.
(Tr. 60-62.) Based in part on the testimony of the vocational
expert, the ALJ determined Ms. Walker could perform the jobs
of small products assembler and document preparer. (Tr. 22.)
Accordingly, he determined Ms. Walker was not disabled.
Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review,
making the ALJ's decision the final decision of the
Commissioner. (Tr. 1-5). Plaintiff initiated the instant
Complaint challenging the decision of the Commissioner. (Doc.
support of the Complaint, Plaintiff argues that the ALJ
improperly relied upon the findings of Don Ott, Psy.D. (Doc.
No. 10 at 7.) Plaintiff says, inter alia,
“[Dr. Ott's] report expressly states that it is
inconclusive and that a psychotic disorder should be ruled
gave great weight to the opinions of Dr. Ott and state
medical consultants Jerry Henderson, Ph.D., and Kevin
Santulli, Ph.D. (Tr. 20.) The ALJ stated:
The undersigned has considered the opinions of Drs. Ott,
Henderson, and Santulli and given them great weight, as they
are consistent with the medical evidence as a whole in that
Dr. Ott's findings appear to have been made with the
caveat that the claimant appeared overmedicated, which may
have affected her performance at the evaluation.
the ALJ also recognized in his opinion, Dr. Ott found that
Plaintiff had adequate verbal skills, but sometimes had
trouble expressing herself; was deficient with her capacity
to cope with the mental demands of work; had difficulty
staying focused; and her pace was slow and halting at times.
(Id.) The ALJ also recognized Dr. Ott “. . .
observed the claimant was overmedicated and recommended that
a definitive diagnosis should be made and her medications
should be reviewed.” (Id.)
of Dr. Ott's last statement, Plaintiff says the ALJ
failed to properly develop the record and his decision is not