United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Northeastern Division
WILLIAM L. CAMPBELL, JR. U.S. District Judge
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
WHALEN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
David Earl Carr (“Plaintiff”) brings this action
under 42 U.S.C. §405(g), challenging a final decision of
Defendant Commissioner denying his application for Disability
Insurance Benefits and Supplemental Security Income under the
Social Security Act. On April 24, 2017, Plaintiff filed a
Motion for Judgment [Docket #17]. On January 30, 2018, the
case was assigned to the undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 636 for a Report and Recommendation. For the reasons
set forth below, I recommend that Plaintiff's Motion
[Docket #17] be DENIED.
filed applications for Disability Insurance Benefits
(“DIB”) and Supplemental Security Income
(“SSI”) on October 30, 2012, alleging disability
as of June 30, 2010 (Tr. 186, 190). After the initial denial
of the claim, Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing,
held on April 27, 2015 (Tr. 35). Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) Jim Beeby presided. Plaintiff,
represented by non-attorney representative Agnes Foss,
testified by teleconference (Tr. 17, 39-55). Vocational
Expert (“VE”) J.D. Flynn also testified (Tr.
56-59). On May 7, 2015, ALJ Beeby found that Plaintiff was
capable of returning to his past relevant work as a plant
manager (Tr. 17-30). On July 21, 2016, the Appeals Council
denied review (Tr. 1-4). Plaintiff filed for judicial review
of the final decision on September 19, 2016.
born April 6, 1960, was 55 when ALJ Beeby issued his decision
(Tr. 30, 186). He completed high school and took a course in
computer design (Tr. 228). He worked previously as an
assembler, department lead, die repairman, foreman,
inspector, machinist, parts inspector, plant manager, and
press operator (Tr. 229). His application for benefits
alleges disability resulting from leg pain, arthritis,
chronic fatigue, and hip and breathing problems (Tr. 227).
offered the following testimony:
divorced, lived in a single family home with his mother (Tr.
39-40). He held a driver's license (Tr. 40). At the time
of hearing, he was not working and did not have any income
(Tr. 41). His former work as a plant manager entailed
overseeing personnel activity, scheduling, other
administrative duties, and “hiring and firing”
smoked around a half pack of cigarettes and a day and drank
three to four beers every afternoon (Tr. 46). He denied the
use of street drugs (Tr. 46). He experienced nighttime sleep
disturbances due to body pain (Tr. 46). Upon arising on a
typical day, he would first make coffee, listen to the radio,
feed the cat, stretch, and stand or walk (Tr. 47). He would
then watch television until 9:30 a.m. when he took coffee to
his elderly uncle (Tr. 47). After that, he watched “The
Price is Right” with his mother, then took a nap (Tr.
47). He drove his mother to doctors' appointments every
few weeks (Tr. 47-48). He spent the rest of the day watching
television or listening to the radio, then eating dinner
before retiring at 9:00 or 9:30 p.m. (Tr. 48). He was able to
care for his personal needs, but was unable to perform
household chores (Tr. 48-49).
was unable to walk or stand for more than 20 minutes (Tr.
49). He was unable to sit for more than 15 minutes at a time
or carry more than 15 pounds on an occasional basis (Tr. 49).
He was unable to work due to leg pain and pain in the bottom
of his feet (Tr. 50). He experienced arthritis since a
motorcycle accident in 1982 and underwent a hip replacement
in 2005 (Tr. 50). He had treated in the past with a
rheumatologist (Tr. 51). He also experienced fatigue and
hypertension (Tr. 51-52). He was unable to undergo
neurological testing due to the lack of health insurance (Tr.
response to questioning by his representative, Plaintiff
reported that he used over-the-counter pain medication
exclusively for body pain (Tr. 53). He stated opiates made
him nauseated (Tr. 53). He coped with nighttime pain by
taking Advil or Tylenol and sleeping on a couch (Tr. 53). He
was unable to travel by car for more than one hour due to
body pain (Tr. 54). He did not use a computer more than once
every month (Tr. 54). He was required to use a cart for
support while making even short grocery shopping trips (Tr.
55). He did not belong to any social groups (Tr. 55). He and
his mother received occasional visits from family members
Records Related to Plaintiff's Treatment
2010 treating records by Cynthia Wallace, M.D. note
Plaintiff's report of chest pain, fatigue, and congestion
(Tr. 329). A chest x-ray from the following month was
unremarkable (Tr. 130).
2013 records state that Plaintiff exhibited a normal gait
with normal judgment, orientation, memory, and mood (Tr.
339). He was diagnosed with uncontrolled hypertension (Tr.
339). Treating records from later the same month state that
Plaintiff continued to experience high blood pressure despite
the use of Metoprolol (Tr. 345). He denied current or chronic
pain (Tr. 345). A chest x-ray from the following month was
consistent with a diagnosis of COPD (Tr. 349). April, 2013
records note ongoing uncontrolled hypertension (Tr. 354-355).
Plaintiff reported that he had quit smoking (Tr. 354). A
physical examination was otherwise normal (Tr. 354-355).
Notes from the same month state that Plaintiff currently
smoked a half pack of cigarettes each day and drank four
beers (Tr. 358). Treating records state that respiratory
testing from the same month were compromised by anemia (Tr.
2013 treating records by Dr. Wallace note that
Plaintiff's blood pressure was currently 142 /80 (Tr.
401). Notes from the following month state that Plaintiff
reported that he had recently “failed” a
breathing test and experienced shortness of breath walking to
the mailbox (Tr. 403). Respiratory testing was consistent
with mild COPD (Tr. 407, 412, 423). Plaintiff was advised to
quit smoking (Tr. 412).
July, 2013, Dr. Wallace completed a work-related abilities
assessment, finding that Plaintiff was limited to lifting 10
pounds on an occasional basis and less than 10 pounds
frequently (Tr. 421, 441). She found that Plaintiff was
limited to sitting, standing, and walking less than two hours
a day and was required to change position every 20 minutes
(Tr. 421). She found that Plaintiff would be required to lie
down at unpredicted times at least twice a day (Tr. 421). She
limited Plaintiff to occasional postural activity and found
that his manipulative abilities (except for
“feeling”) were limited by his medical condition
(Tr. 422). She found that Plaintiff should avoid moderate
exposure to temperature extremes, high humidity, and airborne
hazards (Tr. 422). She precluded all exposure to perfumes,
soldering material, solvents/cleaners, and chemicals (Tr.
422). She found that Plaintiff's condition would require
him to miss more than four days of work each month (Tr. 422).
Dr. Wallace's treating notes from the same day state that
Plaintiff felt “about the same” and continued to
experienced fatigue (Tr. 437). He demonstrated 4/5 strength
in all extremities (Tr. 437).
2013 records note that Plaintiff might “need a cervical
MRI” but did not have insurance (Tr. 456). September,
2013 records by neurologist Christine Dong, M.D. note that an
EMG study showed mild demyelinating peripheral neuropathy of
the lower extremities (Tr. 454).
April, 2015 liver function test showed abnormal results (Tr.
466). Treating records from the same month note that
Plaintiff reported constant foot tingling but no
“chronic pain” (Tr. 467). He demonstrated a
normal gait, intact judgment, and normal memory (Tr. 469).