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Wiseman v. Commissioner of Social Security

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

August 2, 2019

BRYCE A. WISEMAN, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

          Chelsey M. Vascura, Magistrate Judge

          OPINION AND ORDER

          SARAH D. MORRISON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Bryce Wiseman brings this action under 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3) for review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security (“Commissioner”) denying his application for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits. This matter is before the Court on the Plaintiff's Objection (ECF No. 18) to the Report and Recommendation issued by the United States Magistrate Judge on November 2, 2018 (ECF No. 17). The Magistrate Judge recommends that the Court overrule Plaintiff's Statement of Errors and affirm the Commissioner's decision. For the reasons set forth below, the Court OVERRULES Plaintiff's Objection, ADOPTS the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation, and AFFIRMS the Commissioner's decision.

         I.

         The Magistrate Judge accurately described procedural background as follows. Plaintiff filed his application for Title II Social Security Disability Benefits on July 17, 2013, alleging that he had been disabled since September 1, 2006. (R. 256.) Plaintiff later amended his disability onset date to April 16, 2013. Id. at 307. On October 20, 2016, following initial administrative denials of Plaintiff's application, a hearing was held before Administrative Law Judge Jeffrey Hartranft (the “ALJ”). Id. at 85-137.

         A. Hearing Testimony

         Plaintiff, represented by counsel, appeared and testified at the hearing. He testified that he had not worked since 2004, and that his previous work included working as a night manager, limo driver, security guard, material handler, filter builder, glue gun operator, and hand sander. Id. at 97-105. Plaintiff also described pain from “arthritis in every joint in my body” and difficulties due to heart disease. Id. at 106-07. Plaintiff has had five stents placed in his kidneys and two in his heart. Id. at 107. He testified that he has difficulty walking more than 20 feet and often has to sit down to rest due to abnormal heart rhythms. Id. at 107, 110. Plaintiff also stated he has difficulty walking due to insufficient blood flow to his feet. Id. at 112. Plaintiff was born without a rectum and has had life-long digestive problems as a result. Id. at 121. Finally, Plaintiff testified that he takes Xanax daily for anxiety and takes extra doses when he has panic attacks. Id. at 125.

         Vocational Expert Carl Hartung (the “VE”), also testified. Id. at 130-35. The VE classified Plaintiff's past relevant work as security guard (categorized as semi-skilled, light work), stores laborer (medium work), filter assembler (light work), and hand sander (light work). Id. at 130-31. The ALJ proposed a hypothetical regarding Plaintiff's residual functional capacity (“RFC”)[1] to the VE, which limited Plaintiff to light work. Id. at 132. The VE testified that, assuming the limitations of the ALJ's hypothetical, Plaintiff could return to his previous work only as a hand sander. Id. at 132. However, the ALJ's hypothetical required avoidance of exposure to pulmonary irritants, including dust. Id. at 131. The ALJ posited that the hand sander position would require exposure to dust, which Plaintiff confirmed. Id. at 132. The VE further testified that, assuming the limitations of the ALJ's hypothetical, Plaintiff would be able to work as a router, marker, or labeler. Id. at 133. When asked to alter the hypothetical so that Plaintiff would be limited to sedentary work, the VE testified that Plaintiff would not be able to return to any of his past work, but that he would be capable of working as an addresser, document preparer, or spotter. Id. at 134.

         B. Medical Opinions

         Two state agency reviewing physicians assessed Plaintiff's limitations based on file reviews dated March 6, 2014, and June 19, 2014, respectively. Dr. Gary Hinzman, M.D., and Dr. Lynne Torello, M.D., both found that Plaintiff could occasionally lift or carry 20 pounds; could frequently lift or carry 10 pounds; could stand, walk, or sit for six hours of an eight-hour work day; had no limitations on pushing or pulling; and could frequently climb, balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl. Id. at 149-50, 166-67.

         Dr. Mark Weaver, M.D., an examiner for the Social Security Administration, opined following an examination on February 24, 2014, that Plaintiff was limited in sitting, standing, walking, bending, twisting, lifting, and carrying, but did not articulate the severity of these limitations. Id. at 430-34. Dr. Weaver also observed that Plaintiff became slightly short of breath after walking 40 feet. Id.

         Dr. Jeffrey Haggenjos, D.O., Plaintiff's treating physician, issued a medical source statement dated February 24, 2016. Id. at 797-800. Dr. Haggenjos opined that Plaintiff could sit for no more than 10-15 minutes at a time; could stand for no more than five minutes at a time; stand or walk no more than two hours in an eight-hour work day; required the opportunity to alternate positions; would need unscheduled breaks lasting 15 minutes; would need to elevate his legs for 10% of the day; would be off-task over 25% of the work day; and was likely to miss four or more days of work per month. Id. Dr. Haggenjos further concluded that Plaintiff is “unable to work.” Id. at 316.

         Finally, Dr. Shelly Dunmyer, M.D., an examiner for the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services (“ODJFS”), conducted a consultative examination on August 24, 2016. Id. at 975-80. Dr. Dunmyer concluded that Plaintiff requires moderate limitations in standing, walking, pushing, pulling, and bending; and that Plaintiff could occasionally lift no more than 10 pounds. Id.

         C. The ...


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