United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division, Dayton
H. Rice District Judge
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS 
L. OVINGTON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Martin Jackson brings this case challenging the Social
Security Administration's denial of his application for
Supplemental Security Income. He applied for benefits on
December 4, 2014, asserting that he could no longer work a
substantial paid job. Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Mark
Hockensmith concluded that he was not eligible for benefits
because he is not under a “disability” as defined
in the Social Security Act.
case is before the Court upon Plaintiff's Statement of
Errors (Doc. #8), the Commissioner's Memorandum in
Opposition (Doc. #9), Plaintiff's Reply (Doc. #10), and
the administrative record (Doc. #6).
seeks a remand of this case for payment of benefits or, at a
minimum, for further proceedings. The Commissioner asks the
Court to affirm ALJ Hockensmith's non-disability
asserts that he has been under a “disability”
since June 5, 2008. At the time of his application, he was
fifty years old at that time and was therefore considered a
person “closely approaching advanced age” under
Social Security Regulations. See 20 C.F.R. §
416.963(d). He has a limited education. See Id.
testified at the hearing before ALJ Hockensmith that he
injured his left ring finger and as a result, cannot use his
left hand. (Doc. #6, PageID #s 80-81). He had
several surgeries to repair his finger. Id. However,
his condition has stayed the same or, as he said, “I
believe it's permanent because I was at the point of
getting it cut off.” Id. at 81. He is still in
pain and wears a splint most of the time. Id. at
80-81. He drops things almost every day because he has
trouble with his grip. Id. at 86.
also injured his right index finger-slamming it in a car
door. Id. at 79. It is constantly in pain and there
is nothing that can be done to fix it. Id. at 80. He
is not able to make a tight fist. Id. He also has
trouble buttoning his shirt. Id.
Plaintiff has a seizure disorder. Id. at 82. His
seizures are usually unexpected but, if he thinks one is
coming, he tries to be around other people so they can help
him. Id. When he wakes up from a seizure, he does
not know where he is “for a little while.”
Id. During his most recent seizure, he “came
out of it” when the paramedics were there. Id.
at 87. At the hospital, he laid in bed for an hour because he
felt drained and it was hard to get up. Id. When he
went back home, he had a second seizure that he does not
remember at all. Id. at 88.
Plaintiff walks, he runs out of breath. Id. at 85.
Further, because he has been in a lot of car accidents, his
“back is really tuckered out too.” Id.
lives at his mother's house with two of his brothers.
Id. at 77. He does not have a driver's license;
his friends normally drive him around. Id. at 77-78.
He goes to the grocery store but needs someone to go with
him. Id. at 85, 87. During the day, he usually sits
around and watches TV. Id. at 83. He sometimes has a
hard time remembering what happened at the beginning of a TV
show. Id. at 86. He also spends time with his
brothers. Id. at 84. Sadly, one of his brothers
recently died of cancer. Id. He helps with laundry.
He puts clothes into the washing machine but his mom takes
them out, folds them, and puts them away. Id. at
83-84. He sometimes forgets to move clothes from the washer
to the dryer. Id. at 87.
Michael C. Rymer, M.D.
Rymer, Plaintiff surgeon, completed a medical statement on
June 22, 2016. He diagnosed left ring finger dislocation of
unspecified interphalangeal joint and right index finger
trauma with open wound. Id. He indicated that
Plaintiff injured his left ring finger in March 2015.
Id. at 1658. He first had surgery (ORIF) on July 16,
2015. Id. On August 20, 2015, Plaintiff underwent a
second surgery to remove hardware. Id. And, he had
fusion surgery on March 31, 2016. Id. Plaintiff
injured his right index finger in May 2016. Id.
Rymer opined Plaintiff could occasionally use his left and
right hands for fine and gross manipulation. Id. He
can occasionally lift and/or carry ten pounds. Id.
He cannot frequently lift or carry any weight.
Plaintiff's soft-tissue injury has been under continuing
surgical management aimed towards restoring major function of
his left hand. Major function of his left hand has not been
restored or is not expected to be restored within 12 months
of onset. Id. Plaintiff could not perform full-time
competitive work on a sustained basis without missing work
more than two times a month or being off task 15% of the
workday due to his impairments, medical appointments, or
treatment. Id. at 1659.
Anna Roetker, M.D.
Roetker completed two basic medical assessments-one on
December 3, 2015 and one on December 22, 2016. Her responses
were essentially the same. She diagnosed allergic rhinitis,
seizure, insomnia, and alcoholic liver disease. Id.
at 652, 1912. He has had the seizure disorder since April
2012 and is on antiepileptics. Id. Likewise, his
liver disease began in April 2012. Id. There is no
treatment other than abstaining from alcohol. Id.
His insomnia is recent, beginning in December 2015.
Id. She opined that Plaintiff's health status is
poor but stable. Id.
Roetker opined that Plaintiff could frequently lift and or
carry up to five pounds. Id. at 651, 1913. His
ability to handle is moderately limited. Id. She
explained, “Limitations due to safety concerns of
seizure, not ability to perform task. He should not drive,
operate machinery, or work with electricity.”
Amita Oza, M.D.
evaluated Plaintiff on March 5, 2015. She indicated that
Plaintiff's “main problem is seizure disorder as
well as his psych problems, which is depression.”
Id. at 542. He complained of back pain but there is
no evidence of radiculopathy. Id. Additionally, he
reported a history of cirrhosis of liver, pancreatitis, and
weight loss. Id. However, there were not any notes
in the accompanying records about cirrhosis and there was no
evidence of end organ dysfunction. Dr. Oza concluded,
Based on my examination, it appears that it is his psych
problem and he is asking for pain medication continuously
that is preventing him from working. Medically speaking, he
has seizure disorder, but he can perform sedentary to light
work in atmosphere where if he has seizure he would not be
harmed or people around him are not ...