United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Western Division
Michael T. Ulery, Plaintiff
Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant
G. CARR SR. U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
a Social Security case in which the plaintiff, Michael Ulery,
appeals the Commissioner's decision denying his
application for benefits.
administrative law judge found that Ulery suffered from
multiple severe impairments, including cervical degenerative
disc disease, syringomyelia and/or cord syrinx, right carpal
tunnel and cubital tunnel syndromes, and right orbit
inflammatory pseudo-tumor. (Doc. 11, PageID 82). The ALJ
ruled that had the residual functional capacity (RFC) to
perform light work, provided that he, inter alia, 1)
never climb, crawl, or reach overhead with bilateral
extremities; 2) never walk on uneven surfaces or work near
unprotected heights; and 3) not hold his neck in upward or
downward positions for more than five minutes. (Id.,
PageID 85). Because Ulery could perform jobs that existed in
significant numbers in the national economy - including
sorter, inspector/packager, and assembler - the ALJ held that
Ulery was not disabled. (Id., PageID 97-98).
is Magistrate Judge Burke's Report and Recommendation,
which recommends that I affirm the Commissioner's
decision. (Doc. 17). Ulery has filed an objection, arguing
that the Magistrate Judge erred in finding that there was
substantial evidentiary support for the ALJ's decision to
give little weight to the opinion of Joshua Line, an
occupational therapist whom Ulery saw only one time. (Doc.
18, PageID 1158-60).
novo review of the R&R, see 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1), I overrule Ulery's objection, adopt the
R&R as the order of the court, and affirm the
performed a “physical functional capacity
evaluation” of Ulery in November, 2016. (Doc. 11,
PageID 91). He found that Ulery had “less than
sedentary capacity for all types of lifting and carrying,
” was a “moderate fall risk, ” and could
stand for less than seventeen minutes, walk no more than 800
feet, and sit for not quite sixty-five minutes.”
(Id.). He also concluded that Ulery could not stoop,
crouch, or do low-level work for more than four minutes.
gave “[l]ittle weight” to this opinion.
(Id., PageID 91-92).
noted, first, that Line's opinion “was based on
only a ‘snapshot' of the claimant's
functioning” during “one evaluation of the
claimant rather than an assessment of the claimant's
longitudinal functioning.” (Id., PageID 92).
In contrast, the ALJ continued, Ulery's
“longitudinal treatment history displays he had reduced
range of motion in the neck but otherwise he consistently had
a normal gait with no cranial nerve deficit, full motor
strength in the bilateral and upper extremities, symmetric
reflexes, normal pulses and no other abnormalities in any of
the extremities.” (Id.).
then found that Ulery “did not appear to give full
effort on some of the testing” - specifically the
“handgrip testing” of his right and left hands.
concluded that, while Ulery “would have some
restrictions in the areas outlined in Mr. Line's opinion,
the longitudinal record does not support the degree of
restrictions and little weight to the opinion is
objects that the longitudinal record does not, in fact,
“contradict Mr. Line's opinions[.]” (Doc. 18,
PageID 1159). He acknowledges that his medical records show a
history of normal gait, but speculates that this is because
“he was most likely observed during these times from
his walk to the waiting room into the doctor's
office.” (Id.). Ulery emphasizes that, because
Line's testing was “specifically designed to
provide an accurate depiction and opinion of his ability to
do certain activities such as walk, ” it offers a
“more accurate representation of [his] ability to
perform these activities in a work setting.”
also faults the ALJ for relying on her finding that he did
not give full effort during part of Line's ...