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Tisdale v. Commissioner of Social Security Administration

United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Division

April 4, 2017

Marlin A. Tisdale, Plaintiff,
v.
Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          ALGENON L. MARBLEY JUDGE.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          TERENCE P. KEMP UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         I. Introduction

         Plaintiff, Marlin A. Tisdale, filed this action seeking review of a decision of the Commissioner of Social Security denying his application for disability insurance benefits. That application was filed on December 21, 2011, and alleged that Plaintiff became disabled on February 9, 2011.

         After initial administrative denials of his claim, Plaintiff was given a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge on April 11, 2014. In a decision dated September 25, 2014, the ALJ denied benefits. That became the Commissioner's final decision on February 19, 2016, when the Appeals Council denied review.

         After Plaintiff filed this case, the Commissioner filed the administrative record on June 27, 2016. Plaintiff filed a statement of specific errors on October 14, 2016. The Commissioner responded on December 23, 2016. Plaintiff has not filed a reply brief, and the case is now ready to decide.

         II. Plaintiff's Testimony at the Administrative Hearing

         Plaintiff, who was 53 years old as of the date of the hearing and who has a high school education, testified as follows. His testimony appears at pages 52-64 of the administrative record.

         Plaintiff first testified that he had been working on a part-time basis until 2011, due to physical limitations, and that he stopped working altogether in 2011. By then, if he worked a half day, he could not work the next. He said that he experienced pain in his lower back which radiated into his right leg. His treatment had included two epidural steroid injections, the first of which worked well, and manipulation of his back. He was also taking over-the-counter medication and using a TENS unit.

         Asked what made his pain worse, Plaintiff replied that standing or walking did so, as did sitting, bending, or stooping. He thought he could stand for thirty minutes at a time and he could tolerate sitting for an hour and half, although he still had pain. He could walk about three blocks, but not without stopping at least once. Around the house, Plaintiff helped with chores, but only for fifteen minutes at a time. He could also do a little yard work.

         Plaintiff was also asked about depression. He had stopped going to a counselor, but said he still did not like being around people and had occasional crying spells. He left the house on a daily basis to walk to the post office and to check on his mother. He had discontinued sports activities like softball, golf, and bowling.

         III. The Medical Records

         The pertinent medical records are found beginning at page 258 of the record. They can be summarized as follows. Because Plaintiff's two claims of error relate only to his psychological impairment, the Court will limit its review to records related to that issue.

         Plaintiff was seen at Weinstein & Associates, Inc. in 2011 for treatment of a depressive disorder. A summary from a June 21, 2011 visit, signed by Donald J. Cutcher, M.A., and Keli A.Yee, Psy.D., shows that Plaintiff had decreased his activities of daily living due to physical limitations. He was experiencing problems with reduced motivation and energy. His concentration was significantly reduced and he was easily distracted. His affect was constricted and his mood was depressed. Plaintiff was also having some issues with socialization and he reported poor stress tolerance. He had made progress in some areas and had seen an improvement in anger management. His prognosis was fair. Other notes from that practice from 2011 are similar. There is a note from Dr. Yee dated December 14, 2011, stating that Plaintiff's symptoms are “work prohibitive, ” and another stating that “his mood ...


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