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Crawford v. Commissioner of Social Security

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

May 12, 2017

Patricia J. Crawford Plaintiff,
v.
Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          ALGENON L. MARBLEY JUDGE.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Terence P. Kemp United States Magistrate Judge.

         I. Introduction

         Plaintiff, Patricia J. Crawford, filed this action seeking review of a decision of the Commissioner of Social Security denying her application for disability insurance benefits. That application was filed on June 8, 2012, and alleged that Plaintiff became disabled on August 8, 2010.

         After initial administrative denials of her claim, Plaintiff was given a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge on June 4, 2014. In a decision dated September 5, 2014, the ALJ denied benefits. That became the Commissioner's final decision on March 22, 2016, when the Appeals Council denied review.

         After Plaintiff filed this case, the Commissioner filed the administrative record on October 24, 2016. Plaintiff filed a statement of errors on March 29, 2017, to which the Commissioner responded on April 19, 2017. Plaintiff did not file a reply brief, and the case is now ready to decide.

         II. Plaintiff's Testimony at the Administrative Hearing

         Plaintiff, who was 55 years old as of the date of the hearing and who has a high school education with some college work, testified as follows. Her testimony appears within pages 43-68 of the administrative record.

         Plaintiff was first asked about her past work. She testified that her last job was as a delivery driver for dental products. She had also stocked books and magazines at grocery stores, which was a part-time job, worked at a bakery, and sorted clothing. Some of those jobs were through temporary agencies.

         Plaintiff also testified that she could not work due to emotional stress. She was taking care of her parents and that placed demands on her, including spending 12-13 hours per day caregiving. She washed clothes, assisted her parents with daily activities, and cooked meals. She had tried to go back to work but that lasted only one day. Plaintiff also mentioned that when she was a delivery driver she had an issue with falling asleep, and that she could not stand for eight hours in a workday due to plantar fasciitis.

         III. The Medical Records

         The pertinent medical records are found beginning at page 379 of the administrative record. They can be summarized as follows.

         The first record is a report of a consultative psychological examination done by Dr. James Tanley. He interviewed Plaintiff on August 6, 2012. Her chief complaint was depression since her father was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. She had not gotten any treatment due to lack of funds and insurance. She also reported suffering from a right knee injury and plantar fasciitis but she did not take any medications. Her days consisted of seeing her husband off to work and then caring for her parents. Dr. Tanley noted that Plaintiff's affect was appropriate and she did not exhibit signs of anxiety. He diagnosed an adjustment disorder with depressed mood and rated Plaintiff's GAF at 60. He also concluded that she could function in the workplace within the average range of intelligence, could have some problem dealing with instructions of increasing complexity, might encounter some issues in behaving appropriately in a work setting due to her depressed state, and was “a bit at risk” in her ability to deal with work stress. (Tr. 234-37).

         That report was reviewed by two state agency psychologists. The first, Dr. Hoyle, concluded that Plaintiff's depression caused only mild restriction in her activities of daily living and in maintaining concentration, persistence, and pace, no restrictions in her social functioning, and no episodes of decompensation. Under those circumstances, her disorder was determined to be “nonsevere.” (Tr. 96). The second reviewer, Dr. Goldsmith, also had available to him a report from Dr. ...


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