United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
JAMES B. JONES, Plaintiff,
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
KIMBERLY A. JOLSON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
James B. Jones, brings this action under 42 U.S.C.
§§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3) for review of a final
decision of the Commissioner of Social Security
(“Commissioner”) denying his application for a
period of disability, disability insurance benefits
(“DIB”), and supplemental security income
(“SSI”). For the reasons that follow, the Court
OVERRULES Plaintiff's Statement of
Errors and AFFIRMS the Commissioner's
filed for a period of disability, DIB, and SSI on June 8,
2015. (Tr. 16, PAGEID #: 53). In both applications, Plaintiff
alleged a disability onset date of May 27, 2015.
(Id.). His claims were denied initially on September
15, 2016, and upon reconsideration on January 8, 2015.
(Id.). Administrative Law Judge Anne Shaughnessy
(the “ALJ”) held a hearing by video
teleconference on September 15, 2016 (id.), after
which she denied benefits in a written decision on December
12, 2016. (Tr. 16-25, PAGEID #: 53-62). Plaintiff sought
review of the ALJ's decision, but the decision became
final when the Appeals Council denied review on March 1,
2017. (Doc. 16 at 1-2).
filed this case on March 21, 2017 (Doc. 1), and the
Commissioner filed the administrative record on May 30, 2017
(Doc. 11). Plaintiff filed a Statement of Specific Errors on
August 11, 2017 (Doc. 14), the Commissioner responded on
September 25, 2017 (Doc. 16), and Plaintiff did not file a
Relevant Testimony at the Administrative Hearing
was born on December 27, 1974, and was 40 years old on the
alleged disability onset date. (Tr. 23, PAGEID #: 60). At the
hearing, Plaintiff testified that he is 6'4” tall
and weighs 225 pounds and has a high school education. (Tr.
35, PAGEID #: 72). He lives alone, maintains a driver's
license, and drives two to three times per week “if
necessary.” (Id.). Plaintiff worked full-time
for thirteen years at National Freight Interactive Logistics
in New Concord, Ohio. (Tr. 36, 46, PAGEID #: 73, 83). For ten
years, he was “repack floor lead, ” making
“Colgate Palmolive displays for local distributors all
across the country….” (Id.).
Thereafter, he was transferred to the position of
“material handler, ” which he described as
“shipping/receiving running equipment, and loading and
unloading trucks.” (Id.). Plaintiff served as
a supervisor for “[u]p to 100 [people] at a time”
while at National Freight Interactive Logistics. (Tr. 51,
PAGEID #: 88).
suffered a back injury that led to a lower laminectomy in
2006, after he which he returned to work. (Tr. 36, PAGEID #:
73). Plaintiff explained that the associated pain returned at
work approximately ten years later, in 2015, when he had to
pick up “a bunch of product” that had spilled in
a truck “and put it on pallets.” (Id.).
That injury led to a second laminectomy in August 2015. (Tr.
38, PAGEID #: 75).
also testified that, at fourteen years old, he broke his
right arm “in 181 places, ” so it is “full
of steel, screws, fake tendons and bands….” (Tr.
43, PAGEID #: 80). He indicated that there is “no
bone” in his arm, which has “a 13 inch scar that
[is] all metal.” (Id.). Plaintiff testified
that the range of motion in his arm recently has been
“getting shorter and shorter.” (Id.).
stated that he is in pain “[e]very second of his life,
” which is exacerbated by “[w]alking more than 10
to 15 minutes, sitting still in one spot without readjusting
[him]self, [and] long car rides.” (Tr. 40, PAGEID #:
77). Plaintiff testified that he “can sit 10 to
15… minutes without taking medication, ” and he
constantly needs to readjust. (Tr. 41, PAGEID #: 78).
Plaintiff takes a number of medications, which he explained
“make[ ] it very difficult [for him] to function
properly.” (Tr. 37-38, PAGEID #: 74-75). Plaintiff
reported sleeping very little due to the constant pain. (Tr.
42, PAGEID #: 79).
stated that he is able to lift two to five pounds (up to ten
pounds) and uses a cane. (Tr. 39, 40, PAGEID #: 76, 78).
Although Plaintiff sometimes walks without a cane at home, he
always uses it to climb the stairs. (Tr. 46, PAGEID #: 83).
Plaintiff explained that he is able to care for his personal
needs using a shower chair and toilet seat extender. (Tr. 42,
PAGEID #: 79).
testified that a friend visits him daily to help with chores,
such as washing dishes, taking the garbage out, and driving
places that are more than twenty-minutes away. (Tr. 38-39,
PAGEID #: 75-76). A friend also takes him grocery shopping.
(Tr. 44, PAGEID #: 81). Plaintiff explained that, on the rare
occasion he grocery shops alone, he “drives a
cart” to navigate the store. (Tr. 44-45, PAGEID #:
81-82). Plaintiff used to cook food on the grill, but now
opts for food he can “throw … in the
microwave.” (Tr. 43, PAGEID #: 80).
The Vocational Expert's Testimony
Expert Mark Pinti (the “VE”) also testified at
the hearing. (Tr. 63, PAGEID #: 100). The VE stated that
Plaintiff's past jobs required medium and heavy levels of
exertion and were semi-skilled. (Tr. 64, PAGEID #: 101). The
ALJ asked the VE to consider a hypothetical individual with
Plaintiff's past jobs who was limited to light work, can
stand for two hours in an eight-hour workday, cannot climb
ladders or scaffolds, can occasionally stoop, kneel, crouch,
crawl, and can reach overhead with the right upper extremity.
(Tr. 64, PAGEID #: 101). The VE testified that the individual
would be unable to perform past work but could perform other
work, such as assembler, inspector, document repairer,
sorter, and order clerk. (Tr. 64-65, PAGEID #: 101-102). The
VE likewise testified that if pushing and pulling with the
right upper extremity were limited to occasionally, the
hypothetical individual could still perform those jobs. (Tr.
65, PAGEID #: 102). In identifying these jobs, the VE
“reduce[d] the exertional maximum to sedentary because
of the standing and walking limitations….” (Tr.
64, PAGEID #: 101).
Relevant Medical Background