Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Crawford v. Commissioner of Social Security

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

July 26, 2019

CATHERINE CRAWFORD, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

          GEORGE C. SMITH JUDGE

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          ELIZABETH A. PRESTON DEAVERS CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff, Catherine Crawford, brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) for review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security (“Commissioner”) denying her application for disability insurance benefits. This matter is before the United States Magistrate Judge for a Report and Recommendation on Plaintiff's Statement of Errors (ECF No. 7), the Commissioner's Memorandum in Opposition (ECF No. 11), Plaintiff's Reply (ECF No. 12), and the administrative record (ECF No. 6). For the reasons that follow, it is RECOMMENDED that the decision of the Commissioner be REVERSED and that this action be REMANDED under Sentence Four of § 405(g).

         I. BACKGROUND

         On October 23, 2014, Plaintiff filed an application for disability insurance benefits, alleging that she had been disabled since December 21, 2013. (R. at 418-24.) Plaintiff's application was denied initially and upon reconsideration. (R. at 314-49.) Plaintiff sought a de novo hearing before an administrative law judge. (R. at 314-49.) Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Noceeba Southern held a hearing on February 22, 2017, at which Plaintiff, who was represented by counsel, appeared and testified. (R. at 71-106.) On July 28, 2017 the ALJ issued a decision finding that Plaintiff was not disabled within the meaning of the Social Security Act. (R. at 18-33.) On February 7, 2018, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review and adopted the ALJ's decision as the Commissioner's final decision. (R. at 3-9.) Plaintiff then timely commenced the instant action.

         II. RELEVANT MEDICAL RECORDS

         Wheaton Wood, M.D., Plaintiff's treating psychiatrist, met with Plaintiff on six occasions between July 2015 and December 2015. (R. at 861.) In October 2015, Dr. Wood opined that Plaintiff was disabled. (R. at 832.) On March 8, 2016, Dr. Wood completed a mental impairment questionnaire. (R. at 861-66.) Dr. Wood opined that Plaintiff was seriously limited in the mental abilities and aptitude needed to perform unskilled work: carry out very short and simple instructions, maintain attention for two hours, sustain an ordinary routine without special supervision, work in coordination with or proximity to others without being unduly distracted, perform at a consistent pace without an unreasonable number and length of rest periods, accept instructions and respond appropriately to criticism from supervisors, respond appropriately to changes in a routine work setting, and deal with normal work stress. (R. at 863.) Dr. Wood further opined that Plaintiff was unable to meet competitive standards for maintaining regular attendance and being punctual within customary, usually strict tolerances, and completing a normal workday and workweek without interruptions from psychologically based symptoms. (Id.) As to Plaintiff's mental abilities and aptitude needed to perform semiskilled and skilled work, Dr. Wood opined that Plaintiff was unable to meet competitive standards in carrying out detailed instructions, setting realistic goals or making plans independently of others, and dealing with stress of semiskilled and skilled work and that she had a limited but satisfactory ability to understand and remember detailed instructions. (R. at. 864.) In Plaintiff's mental abilities and aptitude needed to perform particular types of jobs, Dr. Wood opined that Plaintiff was seriously limited in her ability to interact appropriately with the general public; she had limited but satisfactory ability to maintain socially appropriate behavior, travel in unfamiliar place, and use public transportation; and that she had an unlimited or very good ability to adhere to basic standards of neatness and cleanliness. (Id.)

         As to functional limitations, Dr. Wood opined that Plaintiff had marked limitations in activities of daily living and in maintaining concentration, persistence or pace and extreme limitations in maintaining social functioning and episodes of decompensation within a twelvemonth period. (R. at 865.) According to Dr. Wood, Plaintiff would miss four or more days of work because of her impairments. (R. at 86 -66.)

         IV. ADMINISTRATIVE DECISION

         On July 28, 2017, the ALJ issued her decision. (R. at 18-33.) The ALJ found that Plaintiff met the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through December 31, 2018. (R. at 20.) At step one of the sequential evaluation process, [1] the ALJ found that Plaintiff had not engaged in substantially gainful activity since her amended alleged onset date of April 7, 2014. (R. at 20-21.)

         At step two, the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff had the following severe impairments: psoriasis; degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine; minor multilevel spondylosis of the thoracic spine; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; obstructive sleep apnea; morbid obesity; osteoarthritis; anxiety; depression; posttraumatic stress disorder; borderline personality disorder. (R. at 21.)

         At step three of the sequential process, the ALJ concluded that that Plaintiff did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that met or medically equaled one of the listed impairments described in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. (R. at 21-23.) At step four, the ALJ assessed Plaintiff's RFC as follows:

After careful consideration of' the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform medium work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(c) except can complete simple, routine tasks; can complete some multistep tasks; can interact frequently, but superficially, with the public, coworkers and supervisors; can perform low stress work, meaning only occasional changes and occasional decisionmaking required; requires goal-based work, not at a production rate pace; would be off task for 7 percent of the day.

(R. at 23-24.) In reaching this determination, the ALJ accorded “little weight” to Dr. Wood's opinions, stating that his opinion that Plaintiff was disabled was reserved to the Commissioner and, despite his treating relationship, his other opinions are not consistent with the available medical evidence summarized in the ALJ's opinion. (R. at 30.) The ALJ also noted that Dr. Wood had not seen Plaintiff in almost four months at the time he provided the opinions. (Id.)

         Relying on the VE's testimony, the ALJ determined that even though Plaintiff is unable to perform her past relevant work, other jobs that exist in significant number in the national economy that she can perform. (R. at 31-32.) She therefore concluded that Plaintiff was not disabled under the Social Security Act. (R. at 32.)

         V. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         When reviewing a case under the Social Security Act, the Court “must affirm the Commissioner's decision if it ‘is supported by substantial evidence and was made pursuant to proper legal standards.'” Rabbers v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 582 F.3d 647, 651 (6th Cir. 2009) (quoting Rogers v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 486 F.3d 234, 241 (6th Cir. 2007)); see also 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) (“[t]he findings of the Commissioner of Social Security as to any fact, if supported by substantial evidence, shall be conclusive . . . .”). Under this standard, “substantial evidence is defined as ‘more than a scintilla of evidence but less than a preponderance; it is such relevant evidence as a ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.