United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division, Dayton
H. Rice District Judge.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS 
L. Ovington United States Magistrate Judge.
Social Security Administration provides Disability Insurance
Benefits and Supplemental Security Income to individuals who
are under a “disability, ” among other
eligibility requirements. A “disability” in this
context refers to “any medically determinable physical
or mental impairment” that precludes an applicant from
engaging in “substantial gainful activity.” 42
U.S.C. §§ 423(d)(1)(A), 1382c(a)(3)(A); see
Bowen v. City of New York, 476 U.S. 467, 469-70 (1986).
James Goffe applied for a Disability Insurance Benefits, a
period of benefits, and Supplemental Security Income, stating
that his disability started on August 1, 2014. Administrative
Law Judge (ALJ) Mark Hockensmith-and hence the Social
Security Administration-denied Plaintiff's applications
based on the conclusion that he was not under a
“disability” as defined in the Social Security
Act. (Doc. #6, PageID #s 59-73).
brings the present case contending (in part) that ALJ
Hockensmith erred when evaluating the medical evidence,
including the opinions of his treating physician, Dietrice
Eileen Chapman, MD. Plaintiff seeks a remand of this case for
payment of benefits or, at a minimum, for further
proceedings. The Commissioner finds no error in the ALJ's
decision and asks the Court to affirm rather than remand.
was forty-three years old on his asserted disability onset
date. He has a high-school education and worked in the past
as a construction superintendent and a construction worker.
discussed the medical evidence in his decision and the
parties refer to the ALJ's factual references without
repeating them. The undersigned will do likewise, in the
interest of judicial economy, and will also highlight some of
the medical evidence.
of Plaintiff's thoracic and lumbar spine in November 2014
revealed mild degenerative changes, most significant at
¶ 5-S1. (Doc. #6, PageID #928). Physical
examination disclosed decreased range of motion, tenderness,
pain, and spasm in his thoracic and lumbar back. Id.
at 863. A few days later, a physical-therapy evaluation noted
that Plaintiff exhibited pain, decreased strength, decreased
range of motion, decreased flexibility, joint
hypermobility/hypomobility, and decreased function due to
chronic low back pain. Id. at 1048-1049.
December 2014, Plaintiff underwent a neurosurgical
evaluation. Id. at 382-86, 1043-47. The examination
revealed a “very antalgic gait with wide, short
steps.” Id. He had limited range of motion at
the waist, and straight-leg raise was positive at 40 degrees
on the left and 90 degrees on the right, and caused him
lumbar pain. Id. at 1047. A CT scan in mid-December
2014 revealed advanced degenerative disc changes at ¶
5-S1 with central and bilateral foraminal stenosis.
Id. at 388-89, 575, 1041.
physician performed an EMG on Plaintiff in May 2015. The test
1. Findings consistent with a moderate sensorimotor
peripheral neuropathy likely due to his history of DM
2. Focal acute neuropathic abnormalities noted in the
bilateral lower lumbar paraspinas, which are non-specific
findings in the absence of neuropathic changes in the lower
limb musculature. These may be related to focal early nerve
root irritation, muscle injury, or significant facet
Id. at 576.
physical exam in April 2016 showed decreased range of motion
in his lumbar spine with tenderness, pain, and spasm.
Id. at 893. He was using a cane and reported ...