United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
JAMES B. SECREST, Plaintiff,
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.
A. Sargus, Jr. Chief Judge
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
KIMBERLY A. JOLSON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
James B. Secrest filed this action under 42 U.S.C.
§§ 405(g) and 1383(c) seeking review of the
Commissioner of Social Security's (the
“Commissioner”) denial of his application for
disability insurance benefits and supplemental social
security income. For the reasons that follow, it is
RECOMMENDED that Plaintiff's statement of errors be
OVERRULED and judgment be entered in favor of the
applied for disability insurance benefits and supplemental
social security income on March 22, 2012, alleging disability
beginning on August 28, 2009. (Doc. 12, Tr. 199-211, PAGEID
#: 244-56). His claim was denied initially and on
reconsideration. (Id. at PAGEID #: 174-80, 184-95).
Plaintiff requested a hearing, and the Administrative Law
Judge (hereinafter “the ALJ”) denied benefits.
(Id. at PAGEID #: 82-98). The ALJ found, first, that
Plaintiff met the insured status requirements of the Social
Security Act through December 31, 2015. (Id. at
PAGEID #: 87). Next, he determined that Plaintiff had not
engaged in substantial gainful activity since the alleged
onset date of August 28, 2009. (Id.). In the second
step of the sequential evaluation process, the ALJ concluded
that Plaintiff had the following severe impairments:
arthrosis of the left ankle and residuals from left ankle
fusion. (Id.). The ALJ found that these impairments
did not, at any time, meet or equal the requirements of any
section of the Listing of Impairments. (Id. at
PAGEID #: 88).
further found that Plaintiff retained the residual functional
capacity to perform sedentary work with additional
limitations. (Id. at PAGEID #: 88-89). The ALJ
ultimately found Plaintiff could perform jobs existing in the
national economy in significant numbers and Plaintiff thus
was not disabled within the meaning of the Social Security
Act and denied benefits on July 21, 2014. (Id. at
PAGEID #: 93-95). That decision became the Commissioner's
final decision on December 16, 2015, when the Appeals Council
denied Plaintiff's request for review. Plaintiff then
brought this action. (See Doc. 12 (administrative
record); Doc. 13 (statement of errors); Doc. 17 (the
Commissioner's response); Doc. 18 (Plaintiff's
testified at the hearing on June 26, 2014. He testified that
a three-wheeler accident in 1992 harmed his left leg and
ankle and that over the course of the next 17 years,
“the conditions and the pain and everything got to the
point where [he] couldn't do [his] job anymore.”
(Id. at PAGEID #: 104). He also testified that he
worked primarily as a truck driver during the past 15 years
and attended classes to obtain his associate's degree
from 2009 until 2011. (Id.) As part of those
classes, he participated in a welding lab, which required him
to be on his feet for four to five hours per day.
(Id. at PAGEID #: 105). From November 2011 until
February 2012, he attempted to work a factory job, but
Plaintiff testified that the pain and swelling in his foot
were too great to continue the employment. (Id. at
PAGEID #: 107). Plaintiff stated that he accompanies his
daughters while they hunt, but he can no longer participate
in outdoor activities. (Id. at PAGEID #: 113-14). He
likewise testified that he is unable to perform household
chores. (Id. at PAGEID #: 114). Plaintiff described
his pain as feeling like “someone took a metal rod that
was heated cherry red and shoved it through the bottom of my
foot all the way up to my lower back.” (Id. at
PAGEID #: 109). For relief, he elevates his foot and takes
Ibuprofen and Vicodin. (Id. at PAGEID #: 116-17).
Relevant Medical Records And Assessments
medical records show that Plaintiff complained of left calf
and ankle pain in June 2009, but, at that time, he could not
think of an aggravating event. (Doc. 12, Tr. 308, PAGEID #:
354). An examination revealed no swelling, but there was
tenderness in the posterior aspects of the ankle and calf
muscle. (Id.). He was discharged with Ibuprofen,
Medrol pack, and Vicodin, and instructed to “follow
up[with the doctor] in a couple of days if not back to
normal.” (Id. at PAGEID #: 355).
next medical record is dated August 6, 2010. (Id. at
PAGEID #: 359). Plaintiff again complained of left ankle pain
and, this time, noted the 1992 three-wheeler accident.
(Id.) He was assessed with osteoarthrosis that was
described as “nothing significantly severe.”
(Id. at PAGEID #: 360). An x-ray of Plaintiff's
left foot performed on August 6, 2010, revealed no evidence
of acute fracture, dislocation, or significant arthritic
changes. (Id. at PAGEID #: 361).
to the records, Plaintiff reported on November 29, 2010, that
his leg pain had worsened. (Id. at PAGEID #: 384).
That record also notes “[d]eer hunting this am and
going back today.” (Id.) On October 21, 2011,
Plaintiff reported that he was satisfied with the medications
he was taking and did not want to try anything different at
that time. (Id. at PAGEID #: 372). On March 20,
2012, however, he complained of left ankle pain ...