United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Western Division
James A. Davidson, Plaintiff
Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant
G. Carr Sr., U.S. District Judge
a Social Security case in which the plaintiff, James
Davidson, appeals from the Commissioner's decision
denying him benefits.
administrative law judge determined that Davidson suffered
from multiple severe impairments, including a depressive
disorder. (Doc. 10 at 20). But the ALJ concluded that
Davidson had the residual functional capacity (RFC) to
perform sedentary work, provided that the work involved only:
1) oral, rather than written, instructions; 2) no fast-paced
production schedule; and 3) “simple, routine,
repetitive tasks involving only simple work related decisions
and few if any workplace changes.” (Id. at
is Magistrate Judge Ruiz's Report and Recommendation,
which recommends that I affirm the Commissioner's
decision. (Doc. 14).
Magistrate Judge rejected Davidson's argument that the
ALJ erred when he afforded “great weight” to the
opinion of a state agency psychologist, Jennifer Swain, but,
without explanation, failed to incorporate two of her
proposed limitations into the RFC. (Id. at 11-14).
Swain had concluded that, because Davidson was
“moderately limited” in his ability to remember
and execute detailed instructions, Davidson would be
“best suited for work involving simple and moderately
complex tasks that are presented verbally or
demonstrated.” (Doc. 10 at 121). She also opined that
Davidson was “moderately limited” in terms of his
ability “to complete a normal workday and workweek
without interruptions from psychologically based symptoms and
to perform at a consistent pace without an unreasonable
number and length of rest periods.” (Id. at
to Dr. Swain:
[Davidson's] depression may interfere with his ability to
complete a normal workday/workweek.
He can sustain work in a setting where there is some
flexibility allowed as to the scheduling of breaks and the
pacing of tasks.
gave “great weight” to Dr. Swain's opinion
(id. at 31), and he incorporated several of the
limitations she identified into Davidson's RFC. For
example, he limited Davidson to performing “simple,
routine, repetitive tasks, ” in a work environment that
was not fast-paced and involved few, if any, changes.
ALJ did not acknowledge Dr. Swain's findings regarding
Davidson's limited ability to complete a workday and
workweek or his need for flexible breaks. (Id.). Nor
did the ALJ explain the apparent inconsistency between giving
Dr. Swain's opinion “great weight” across the
board and failing to include those limitations.
Magistrate Judge concluded that the ALJ's handling of Dr.
Swain's opinion did not warrant reversal. It was
sufficient, the Magistrate Judge found, that the ALJ
“considered Dr. Swain's opinion, adopted in part
the proposed limitation concerning pace, and implicitly
adopted the proposed limitation concerning flexibility of
breaks.” (Doc. 14 at 13).
has filed an objection (Doc. 15), and, on de novo review of
the R&R, see 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), I will
sustain the objection, vacate the ...