United States District Court, N.D. Florida, Panama City Division
LEISHA A. GOODWIN, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security,  Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
CHARLES A. STAMPELOS, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
A Yes, your Honor, for all the jobs except for stock clerk,
not per DOT but as performed both before and after her
Tr. 57-58; see infra at 9, ¶ 6 (Plaintiff's
past relevant work).
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: 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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
March 6, 2015, the ALJ entered her decision and denied
Plaintiff's application for DIB concluding that Plaintiff
was not disabled from May 26, ...