United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
William H. Baughman, Jr. United States Magistrate Judge.
is an action by Daniel E. Welsandt under 42 U.S.C. §
405(g) for judicial review of the final decision of the
Commissioner of Social Security denying his applications for
disability insurance benefits and supplemental security
income. The Commissioner has
answered and filed the transcript of the
administrative record. Under my initial and procedural orders, the
parties have briefed their positions and filed supplemental
charts and the fact sheet. They have
participated in a telephonic oral argument.
Background facts and decision of the Administrative Law Judge
who was 49 years old at the time of the administrative
hearing,  has a ninth grade
education. He is not married, lives alone, and does
not have any children.
ALJ, whose decision became the final decision of the
Commissioner, found that Welsandt had the following severe
impairments: cervical degenerative disc disease, status post
C5-6 microdiscectomy and fusion; lumbar degenerative disc
disease; bilateral shoulder degenerative joint disease,
status post arthroscopy; ulcerative colitis; and depressive
disorder (20CFR 404.1520(c) and 416.920(c)).
concluding that the relevant impairments did not meet or
equal a listing, the ALJ made the following finding regarding
Welsandt's residual functional capacity
Since August 1, 2008, the claimant has retained the residual
functional capacity to perform all basic work activities
described in 20 CFR 404.1521, 404.1545, 416.921 and 416.945
subject to the following limitations: lifting/carrying up to
10 pounds frequently and 20 pounds occasionally;
standing/walking for approximately six hours in an eight hour
workday; sitting for approximately six hours in an eight hour
workday; never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds;
occasionally climb ramps or stairs, stoop, kneel, crouch and
crawl; frequently balance; occasional bilateral reaching
overhead; and limited to simple more complex tasks (SVP1 to
SVP3) with no fast-paced work and no strict production
on that residual functional capacity, the ALJ found Welsandt
capable of his past relevant work as an industrial cleaner
and, therefore, not under a disability.
Issues on judicial review
asks for reversal of the Commissioner's decision on the
ground that it does not have the support of substantial
evidence in the administrative record. Specifically, Welsandt
presents the following issues for judicial review:
• Whether the ALJ erred in failing to properly evaluate
plaintiff's pain and the effect of pain on
plaintiff's capacity to perform work.
• Whether the ALJ's assessment of plaintiff's
RFC is supported by substantial evidence.
reasons that follow, I will conclude that the ALJ's
finding of no disability is supported by substantial evidence
and, therefore, must be affirmed.
Standards of review
Sixth Circuit in Buxton v. Halter reemphasized the
standard of review applicable to decisions of the ALJs in
Congress has provided for federal court review of Social
Security administrative decisions. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
However, the scope of review is limited under 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g): “The findings of the Secretary as to any
fact, if supported by substantial evidence, shall be
conclusive....” In other words, on review of the
Commissioner's decision that claimant is not totally
disabled within the meaning of the Social Security Act, the
only issue reviewable by this court is whether the decision
is supported by substantial evidence. Substantial evidence is
“ ‘more than a mere scintilla. It means such
relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as
adequate to support a conclusion.' ”
The findings of the Commissioner are not subject to reversal
merely because there exists in the record substantial
evidence to support a different conclusion. This is so
because there is a “zone of choice” within which
the Commissioner can act, without the fear of court
in the context of a jury trial, all that is necessary to
affirm is that reasonable minds could reach different
conclusions on the evidence. If such is the case, the
Commissioner survives “a directed verdict” and
wins. The court may not disturb the
Commissioner's findings, even if the preponderance of the
evidence favors the claimant.
review the findings of the ALJ at issue here consistent with
that deferential standard.
Application of standards
matter initially focuses on whether the ALJ properly analyzed
the claimant's assertions of disabling pain. Moreover,
Welsandt contends that relying on the “outdated”
reports of reviewing sources to the effect that Welsandt is
capable of a ...