United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
TODD D. STOVER, Plaintiff,
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.
A. SARGUS, JR. CHIEF JUDGE
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
KIMBERLY A. JOLSON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Todd D. Stover, filed this action seeking review of a
decision of the Commissioner of Social Security
(“Commissioner”) denying his Title II Social
Security Disability Benefits and Title XVI Supplemental
Security Income Disability applications. For the reasons that
follow, it is RECOMMENDED that the Court
REVERSE the Commissioner of Social
Security's non-disability finding and
REMAND this case to the Commissioner and the
Administrative Law Judge under Sentence Four of §
filed applications for Title II Social Security Disability
Benefits and Title XVI Supplemental Security Disability
Benefits on July 30, 2013, and August 5, 2013, respectively,
alleging disability since May 24, 2012. (See Doc. 8,
Tr. 76-105, PAGEID #: 114-43). Plaintiff's claims were
denied initially on November 20, 2013 (id., Tr.
136-142, PAGEID #: 174-80), and upon reconsideration on
February 24, 2014 (id., Tr. 147-53, PAGEID #:
185-91). He filed a Request for Hearing on March 20, 2014.
(Id., Tr. 158-59, PAGEID #: 196-97).
Law Judge Christopher Tindale (the “ALJ”) held an
administrative hearing by videoconference on December 3,
2015. (Id., Tr. 42, PAGEID #: 80). On April 19,
2016, the ALJ issued an unfavorable decision. (Id.,
Tr. 21, PAGEID #: 59). Plaintiff requested review of the
administrative decision to the Appeals Council (id.,
Tr. 20, PAGEID #: 58), which denied his request on April 27,
2017, and adopted the ALJ's decision as the
Commissioner's final decision (id., Tr. 1,
PAGEID #: 39).
filed this case on June 23, 2017 (Doc. 1), and the
Commissioner filed the administrative record on September 8,
2017 (Doc. 8). Plaintiff filed a Statement of Specific Errors
(Doc. 9), the Commissioner responded (Doc. 11), and Plaintiff
filed a Reply (Doc. 12).
Relevant Testimony at the Administrative Hearing
testified that he was 5'8” and weighed 190 pounds,
although he indicated that his weight fluctuates frequently
based on his diabetes. (Doc. 8, Tr. 48, PAGEID #: 86).
Plaintiff explained that his last job was at Special Metals,
where he worked as a spot grinder, but his “hands kept
getting number [sic], and [he] couldn't even hold onto
the grinder.” (Id., Tr. 51, PAGEID #: 89).
Because of the problems with Plaintiff's hands, Dr. James
R. Bailes, Jr. M.D., wrote him a “light duty
excuse” to return to work, but Special Metals said they
could not accept that excuse, as there were no light duty
jobs available. (Id., Tr. 52, PAGEID #: 90).
Consequently, Plaintiff was terminated. (Id.).
terms of his diabetes, Plaintiff testified that he has
struggled to maintain his sugar levels, and has utilized
insulin pumps and insulin shots for treatment. (Id.,
Tr. 53, PAGEID #: 91). At the hearing, Plaintiff stated that
he recently returned to using an insulin pump:
Plaintiff: I've had a lot of ups and downs with my sugar.
It's, it's got a sensor built in that's not
working very well for me, and it doesn't seem to be very
Attorney: How so? What's going on with the sensor?
What's it telling you?
Plaintiff: Well, they said that because of the amount of time
that I wore the pump before, and that I took shots, I have
extensive scar tissue around the areas that I can put the
sensor, and it doesn't read as well when it's in scar
tissue, I guess. But it just, it doesn't give me an
Attorney: How far off has it been?
Plaintiff: Well, the other day my sugar was 45, and the meter
said it was 100. So I mean it was, I was about to go down.
And according to that meter, it was saying I was fine.
(Id., Tr. 53-54, PAGEID #: 91-92).
also testified that his low sugar levels cause him to
experience hypoglycemic episodes, which he refers to as
“seizures.” (Id., Tr. 49, 54, PAGEID #:
87, 92). According to Plaintiff, his license was suspended as
a result of one of these seizures. (Id., Tr. 49,
PAGEID #: 87). Plaintiff experienced several of these
seizures in 2011 and 2012, and his most recent episode
occurred six or seven months before the hearing: “I was
walking to the field at my father's house trying to go
get my kids, and I just collapsed. And whenever I woke up,
they were stuffing ice cream in my mouth and trying to get
sugar in me. I had bitten my tongue really bad.”
(Id., Tr. 54, PAGEID #: 92). Plaintiff explained
that when he experienced the seizures he would often bite his
tongue and “wake up with a severe headache, and [not be
able to] remember what's happened at all.”
(Id., Tr. 54-55, PAGEID #: 92-93).
also testified that he first experienced neuropathy connected
to his diabetes in 2011, with “just a little bit of
numbness in [his] hands and feet.” (Id., Tr.
55, PAGEID #: 93). Plaintiff explained that it kept getting
worse and it “got to the point where it felt like
someone was tying ropes around my limbs, and just pulling
them tight until I just couldn't feel my hands and feet
anymore.” (Id.). Plaintiff experienced this
pain every day and was unable to take the typical medicine
prescribed to treat the pain because of his low blood sugar.
(Id., Tr. 55-56, PAGEID #: 93-94). Instead,
Plaintiff was prescribed Lyrica, but it gave him severe
heartburn, indigestion, and he experienced no relief.
(Id., Tr. 56, PAGEID #: 94). Unable to get relief,
Plaintiff turned to methadone:
I went to Dr. Bales [sic]. He had gave me the nerve pain
relief medicine that didn't work. I couldn't get help
anywhere. I ended up going to a methadone clinic in
Huntington. And I went there for quite some time, and then
got addicted to the methadone...Dr. Bales [sic] didn't
like the fact that I was taking it, so they suggested that I
get off of that. So that's when I, I went to a doctor to
get off the methadone treatment.
testified that following carpal tunnel surgery in 2013, his
neuropathy in his hands improved although he was still
experiencing neuropathy in his feet. (Id., Tr. 57,
PAGEID #: 95). He stated that it felt “like somebody
had untied whatever was around my wrist. I mean it did help
for awhile.” (Id.). However, Plaintiff stated
that his hands started to bother him again and he developed
trigger finger in several fingers. (Id., Tr. 58,
PAGEID #: 96). More ...