Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Martin v. Social Security Administration

United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division

April 28, 2017

ROGER DUANE MARTIN, Plaintiff,
v.
SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          THOMAS A. WISEMAN, JR. SENIOR DISTRICT JUDGE

         Pending before the Court is Plaintiff Roger Duane Martin's Motion for Judgment on the Administrative Record (Doc. No. 14), to which Defendant Social Security Administration (SSA) has responded (Doc. No 15). Plaintiff filed a reply to the SSA's response. (Doc. No. 16.) Upon consideration of the parties' briefs and the transcript of the administrative record (Doc. No. 10), [1]and for the reasons set forth below, Plaintiffs Motion for Judgment will be DENIED and the decision of the SSA will be AFFIRMED.

         I. Magistrate Judge Referral

         In order to ensure the prompt resolution of this matter, the Court will VACATE the referral to the Magistrate Judge.

         II. Introduction

         Plaintiff filed an application for disability insurance benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act on May 2, 2007, alleging disability onset as of January 1, 2003. (Tr. 109.) Plaintiff subsequently amended his disability onset date to March 2, 2006. (Tr. 1010.) Plaintiff claimed that the following conditions limited his ability to work: Hypertensive Cardiovascular Disease/Hypertension; Multiple joint arthritis, Brittle Diabetes Impairment and Hyperthyroidism, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Pancreatitis, Asthma, GERD, Hyperlipidemia. (Tr. 112.) His claim to benefits was denied at the initial and reconsideration stages of state agency review. Plaintiff subsequently requested de novo review of his case by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The ALJ heard the case on January 9, 2009, when Plaintiff appeared with counsel and gave testimony. (Tr. 10-41.) Testimony was also received from an impartial vocational expert. (Id.) At the conclusion of the hearing, the matter was taken under advisement until February 27, 2009, when the ALJ issued a written decision finding Plaintiff not disabled. (Tr. 45-52.) Plaintiff appealed the ALJ's decision to this Court in Roger Duane Martin v. Social Security Administration, Case No. 3:10-cv-0917 (M.D. Term. Oct. 1, 2010) (Nixon, J.) ("Martin I.") Plaintiff filed his Motion for Judgment on the Administrative Record on February 3, 2011. (Martin I, Doc. No. 12.) After obtaining several extensions of time, on June 17, 2011, Defendant filed a Motion to Remand to the Social Security Administration "for further administrative proceedings and development." (Martin I, Doc. No. 19.) On June 20, 2011, the Court granted Defendant's Motion and remanded the case to the Social Security Administration. (Martin I, Doc. 21.) On July 15, 2011, the Appeals Council issued an order remanding Plaintiffs case to an ALJ for further consideration. (Tr. 957-61.) Specifically, the Appeals Council directed the ALJ to:

1. Further evaluate the evidence relating to the claimant's impairments, including his black out spells, diabetes mellitus, pancreatitis, pancreatic pseudocyst, and hypothyroidism, and assess any limitations therefrom.
2. Give consideration to the nontreating source opinions pursuant to the provisions of 20 CFR 404.1527 and Social Security Ruling 96-6p, and explain the weight given to such opinion evidence.
3. Give further consideration to the claimant's maximum residual functional capacity and provide appropriate rationale with specific references to evidence of record in support of the assessed limitations (20 CFR 404.1545 and Social Security Ruling 96-8p.
4. Further evaluate the claimant's subjective complaints and provide rationale in accordance with the disability regulations pertaining to evaluation of symptoms (20 CFR 404.1529 and Social Security Ruling 96-7p.)
5. Clarify whether Dr. Nutter was a licensed physician at the time that he performed his examination of the claimant.

(Tr. 960-61.)

         The ALJ heard the case on July 16, 2012. (Tr. 890-919.) Plaintiff appeared with counsel and gave testimony. (Id.) Testimony was also received from an impartial vocational expert. (Id.) At the conclusion of the hearing, the matter was taken under advisement until October 9, 2012, when the ALJ issued a written decision finding Plaintiff not disabled. (Tr. 873-882.) That decision contains the following enumerated findings:

1. The claimant last met the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act on June 30, 2008.
2. The claimant did not engage in substantial gainful activity during the period from his alleged onset date of January 1, 2003[2] through his date last insured of June 20, 2008 (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq.).
3. Through the date last insured, the claimant had the following severe impairments: COPD, degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine, black out spells, diabetes mellitus, pancreatitis, pancreatic pseudocyst, multi-joint arthralgias, and hypothyroidism (20 CFR 404.1520(c)).
4. Through the date last insured, the claimant did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that met or medically equaled the severity of one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR 404.1520(d), 404.1525 and 404.1526).
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that, through the date last insured, the claimant had the residual functional capacity to lift and/or carry 20 pounds occasionally and ten pounds frequently; stand and/or walk for six hours in an eight hour workday; sit for six hours in an eight hour workday; can occasionally balance, stoop, kneel and climb ramps or stairs; never climb ladders, ropes or scaffolds; never crouch and crawl; and should avoid exposure to temperature extremes, vibration, dust, fumes, and other pulmonary irritants.
6. Through the date last insured, the claimant was capable of performing past relevant work as a cashier. This work did not require the performance of work-related activities precluded by the claimant's residual functional capacity (20 CFR 404.1565).
7. The claimant was not under a "disability" as defined in the Social Security Act at any time from January 1, 2003, the alleged onset date, through June 30, 2008, the date last insured (20 CFR 404.1520(f)).

(Tr. 875-76, 881.)

         On December 13, 2013, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiffs request for review of the ALJ's decision (Tr. 862-65), thereby rendering that decision the final decision of the SSA. This civil action was thereafter timely filed, and the court has jurisdiction. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). If the ALJ's findings are supported by substantial evidence based on the record as a whole, then those findings are conclusive. Id.

         III. Review of the Record

         The following summary of the medical record is taken from the ALJ's decision:

The claimant testified that he was prescribed two forms of insulin between 2006 and 2008 for his diabetes. He testified that although he took his medications as prescribed, his blood sugars continued to range anywhere from 24 to 420. He said that between 2006 and 2008 he had to use a nebulizer four times a day. The claimant testified that doctors were not sure what caused his blackouts, but said that he felt they were related to his blood sugar. He testified that his blackout episodes lasted for about 15 minutes and afterwards made him feel drained and weak. The claimant said that between 2006 and 2008 he had pain in his lower left stomach that traveled up to his pancreas. He said that he was admitted to the hospital several times, during this time, for pancreatitis. The claimant testified that his pain between 2006 and 2008, on a scale of zero to ten, was an eight in severity. Interestingly, the claimant said that he was able to tolerate this pain and only took aspirin for the pain. The claimant testified that the VA prescribed him a cane in 2000. He testified that he had neuropathy in his feet back in 2006, and was able to feel the top of his foot, but not the bottom. He testified that back in 2006, he had to lie down four to five times a day for one to one and a half hours each time.
After careful consideration of the evidence, the undersigned finds that the claimant's medically determinable impairments could reasonably be expected to cause the alleged symptoms; however, the claimant's statements concerning the intensity, persistence and limiting effects of these symptoms are not credible to the extent they are inconsistent with the above residual functional capacity assessment.
On August 29, 2007, the claimant underwent a consultative examination with Dr. Stephen B. Nutter (Ex. 9F). The Appeals Council order indicates that there was a question as to the validity of Dr. Nutter's credentials at the time of the examination. However, a "licensee detail" from the West Virginia Board of Medicine indicates that Dr. Nutter's medical license was active at the time of the examination (Ex. 35F).
The claimant's medical history is remarkable for COPD, degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine, black out spells, diabetes mellitus, pancreatitis, pancreatic pseudocyst and hypothyroidism. However, the objective evidence fails to support the level of limitation alleged during the period in question. The undersigned has considered the record as a ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.