Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

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.

Goodwin v. Berryhill

United States District Court, N.D. Florida, Panama City Division

March 30, 2017

NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, [1] Defendant.



         This is a Social Security case referred to the undersigned upon consent of the parties, ECF No. 9, and reference by District Judge Mark E. Walker. ECF No. 10. The decision of the Acting Commissioner is affirmed.

         I. Procedural History

         On August 2, 2012, Plaintiff, Leisha A. Goodwin, filed an application for a period of disability and disability income benefits (DIB) and alleged disability beginning May 26, 2011, based on four bulging discs in her back, two bone spurs and pinched nerve in her left side, and a learning disability. Tr. 13, 158-59, 216. (Citations to the record (transcript/administrative record), ECF No. 15, shall be by the symbol “Tr.” followed by a page number that appears in the lower right corner.)

         The application was initially denied on August 5, 2012, and upon reconsideration on March 8, 2013. Tr. 13, 91-95, 104-08. On March 26, 2013, Plaintiff requested a hearing. Tr. 13, 109-10. On August 12, 2014, Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Claire R. Strong, held a video hearing in Tallahassee, Florida, and Plaintiff appeared in Panama City, Florida. Tr. 13, 37-38. Plaintiff testified. Tr. 41-60. Vicky H. Pratton, an impartial vocational expert, testified. Tr. 13, 57-61, 150-51 (Resume). Michael R. Reiter, an attorney, represented Plaintiff at the hearing. Tr. 13, 35-37, 39, 119-20.

         During the hearing, the ALJ stated that the only assessments that were completed were from March 7, 2013, Exhibit 5A, Tr. 76-89, and a consultative examination of October 8, 2012, Exhibit 7F, Tr. 424-30. Both assessments showed the “individual would be able to do some work.” Tr. 56. The latest medical records were from St. Andrews Community Medical. Id.; see Tr. 485-91 (Exhibit 12F). The ALJ stated that a statement was needed from a doctor regarding “what they believe that she is capable of doing at this time” and the ALJ also needed a post-hearing consultative examination (CE) or MSS. Tr. 57. Counsel advised that he would obtain a doctor statement from St. Andrew's. Id.

         The vocational expert described Plaintiff's past relevant work. Tr. 54-56. The ALJ asked the vocational expert a hypothetical question based on Exhibit 5A.

Q Ms. Pratt, we have a younger individual at onset who is currently closely approaching advanced age, with an eighth grade education. Work experience as you've described. This first hypothetical is based on [Exhibit] 5A, Dr. Harris [phonetic] completed this on March the 7th, 2013 based on what was in the record at the time. Okay. He said the individual could occasionally lift and carry up to 50 pounds, frequently lift and carry up to 25 pounds, stand and/or walk with normal breaks about six hours, sit with normal breaks about six hours, push and/or pull unlimited, all posturals were -- there were no limitations in posturals. Environmental limitations, avoid concentrated exposure to fumes, odors, dusts, gases, and poorly ventilated areas. Could this individual do the claimant's past relevant work?
A Let me check one thing, your honor.
Q Okay.
A Yes, your Honor, for all the jobs except for stock clerk, not per DOT but as performed both before and after her injury.

Tr. 57-58; see infra at 9, ¶ 6 (Plaintiff's past relevant work).

         The ALJ asked the next hypothetical questions and responses ensued.

Q Okay. All right. Next hypothetical is based on 7F, a consultative examination completed by Dr. Oakenson [phonetic] on October the 8th, 2012. Okay. What is -- ALJ: Counselor, what is TOC?
ATTY: I don't know.
ALJ: There was a TOC assessment. Let's see.
ATTY: That's in 7F?
ALJ: Uh-huh.
ATTY: Okay.
ALJ: Talks about -- there's a note, a TOC note dated January 17th of ‘12 where a six percent impairment rating was given with continued capability for doing full-time, medium duty work.
ATTY: Okay, that would -- they're referring to Tallahassee Neurological in [Exhibit] 6F. There was on 6F6, Tallahassee Neurological -- the doctor said that she was welcome to go back to work at a medium duty level. That maximum medical improvement with a six percent integration.
ALJ: Okay. All right, thank you. Okay. So Dr. Oakenson did a full range of motion study and then he said, as a comment in closing, that he would agree with the TOC assessment that she could do at least moderate work. “She is doing that at home now. She appears to have no difficulty with sitting, standing, walking, lifting, carrying, handling objects, hearing, speaking, or traveling. I don't even see any significant psychological issues here. There is no physical contra-indication to work here.” So if you would -- you would have to give a functional definition to what he means of moderate work. Moderate work was certainly more than likely be medium work, would you agree, Ms. Pratt - ATTY: Well -- VE: Yes, your honor.
ALJ: Okay.

         Examination of Vocational Expert by Administrative Law Judge

Q It -- so if we say the -- since he said he agreed with the TOC and the TOC said that she could continue capability for doing fulltime medium duty work, that we would -- it would be reasonable to assume that moderate means medium since he said he agreed with the TOC.
A Yes, your honor.
Q So if the individual could do medium work, would that individual be able to do any of the claimant's past relevant work?
A Yes, your honor, all of the past work, with the stock clerk as performed not per DOT. And stock clerk does vary quite a bit from position to position. Many retail stockers report anywhere from light to heavy. It just depends on the setting.
Q Okay. All right. Thank you.
ALJ: All right, counselor, you want to do a hypothetical or you want to wait and see if you can get an MSS or what?
ATTY: Well, I'll go - we'll do a hypothetical.
ALJ: Okay.

         Examination of Vocational Expert by Claimant's Attorney

Q On [Exhibit] 6F12, where it is noted by Tallahassee Neurological that -- they opined that it was reasonable to do work lifting up to 20 pounds, but they also noted that she needed a functional capacity evaluation there. If this person could occasionally lift 20 pounds, frequently only lift 10 pounds, and then could stand or walk for six hours, sit for six hours with no postural limitations, would the person be able to do the past relevant work?
A The part salesperson per DOT but not as performed, the cleaner, housekeeping, companion, deli manager, both DOT and as performed.
Q Okay.
ATTY: That's all I have, your honor, then I would of course ask that we keep the record open to get a physical capacity from St. Andrew's Clinic.
ALJ: Okay. All right, we'll do that. Ms. Goodwin, thank you for coming in and good luck to you. As soon as I get a -- something else that your attorney's going to try to get for me, when I get that I'll be able to make a better decision in your case and it will be mailed to you to your home address with a copy to your attorney.

Tr. 58-61. The hearing closed.

         On February 5, 2015, the ALJ informed Plaintiff's counsel by letter that she had secured additional evidence “proffered to the claimant's representative (Exhibit 17E), ” which would be placed in the record: a Consultative Examination with assessment and a Physical Functional Capacity Form dated January 28, 2015, and a Radiology Report (lumbosacral spine) dated January 14, 2015. Tr. 13, 268-69. These documents appear in the record at pages 492 through 505 (Exhibits 13F and 14F), Tr. 492-505, and were considered by the ALJ. Tr. 13, 24-27.

         Counsel requested additional time “to secure a medical source statement, ” but no additional information was received by the ALJ. Tr. 13. The ALJ also noted: “Evidence discussed prior to the claimant's alleged onset date is provided for historical purposes.” Tr. 13.

         On March 6, 2015, the ALJ entered her decision and denied Plaintiff's application for DIB concluding that Plaintiff was not disabled from May 26, ...

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.