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Henson v. Commissioner of Social Security

United States District Court, Sixth Circuit

May 23, 2013

William Henson, Plaintiff,
v.
Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

TERENCE P. KEMP, Magistrate Judge.

I. Introduction

Plaintiff, William Henson, filed this action seeking review of a decision of the Commissioner of Social Security denying his applications for disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income. Those applications were filed on September 23, 2008, and alleged that plaintiff became disabled on July 1, 2006.

After initial administrative denials of his applications, plaintiff was given a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge on February 15, 2011. In a decision dated March 9, 2011, the ALJ denied benefits. That became the Commissioner's final decision on May 15, 2012, when the Appeals Council denied review.

After plaintiff filed this case, the Commissioner filed the administrative record on September 28, 2012. Plaintiff filed his statement of specific errors on October 28, 2012. The Commissioner filed a response on January 11, 2013. No reply brief was filed, and the case is now ready to decide.

II. Plaintiff's Testimony at the Administrative Hearing

Plaintiff, who was 51 years old at the time of the administrative hearing and who has a tenth grade education (he left school during the eleventh grade), testified as follows. His testimony appears at pages 8-18 of the administrative record.

Plaintiff was asked by his attorney to explain why he believed he was disabled. In response, he said that it was hard for him to do anything, and that after he took his medication in the morning he went back to sleep. He also stated he was having trouble remembering things. The medication he was referring to was Tegretol, which he took twice a day. His hands would shake if he tried to do something like electronics work. He lost his last job because he fell asleep.

Plaintiff has a seizure disorder. He had not driven since being diagnosed with it. He was unsure if he was still having seizures. He admitted to past use of marijuana but said he had not been using it lately. He said he rarely left his house, and might go to the bank once a month. His wife did all of the shopping and household chores.

III. The Medical Records

The medical records in this case are found beginning on page 226 of the administrative record. The pertinent records (those which relate to the issues raised in plaintiff's statement of errors, all of which concern either his mental limitations or his tremor and radiculopathy), can be summarized as follows.

There are a large number of treatment records confirming the existence of plaintiff's seizure disorder and the fact that he has been prescribed medication for that problem. Some of them also show issues with his left arm, usually described as muscle spasm. He had been complaining of forearm pain since 2004, and a test showed some loss of disc space at C5-6 with some mild neural foramina encroachment. An EMG done in 2004 was abnormal, showing isolated denervation in the left EDC (extensor digitorum communis) which might have represented a radial nerve injury or C7-8 radiculopathy. (Tr. 269).

Dr. Tanley saw plaintiff on May 15, 2006 for a consultative psychological examination. Plaintiff reported a five-year history of seizures leading to depression, and side effects of medication. He said he had not worked since 2000 or 2001. He reported decreased appetite and increased sleeping. Dr. Tanley diagnosed a chronic adjustment disorder, rated plaintiff's GAF at 70, and saw no impairment in his ability to understand and follow simple instructions or to maintain attention to perform simple, repetitive tasks. He did think plaintiff had a mild impairment in his ability to withstand the stress and pressure of daily work. (Tr. 270-72).

Plaintiff was seen by Netcare in 2008 after an episode of depression. At that time, he reported regular use of marijuana until one week before the episode. He was having suicidal thoughts. His diagnoses included a major depressive disorder and cannabis abuse and at that time, his GAF was rated at 49. He was advised ...


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