Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
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.

Barnhart v. Berryhill

United States District Court, S.D. Alabama, Southern Division

February 7, 2018

LOGAN M. BARNHART, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          P. BRADLEY MURRAY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff Logan M. Barnhart brings this action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3), seeking judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security (“the Commissioner”) denying his claim for Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”). The parties have consented to the exercise of jurisdiction by the Magistrate Judge, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), for all proceedings in this Court. (Doc. 17 (“In accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C. 636(c) and Fed. R. Civ. P. 73, the parties in this case consent to have a United States Magistrate Judge conduct any and all proceedings in this case, … order the entry of a final judgment, and conduct all post-judgment proceedings.”)). See also Doc. 19. Upon consideration of the administrative record, Barnhart’s brief, the Commissioner’s brief, all other documents of record, and oral argument, it is determined that the Commissioner’s decision denying benefits should be affirmed.[1]

         I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On January 16, 2013, Barnhart applied for a Period of Disability and DIB, under Title II of the Social Security Act, alleging disability beginning on October 1, 2011. (Tr. 325). After his application was denied at the initial level of administrative review on March 7, 2013, Barnhart requested a hearing by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). (Tr. 184, 192). After an initial hearing was held on July 23, 2014, and a supplemental hearing was held on April 14, 2015, the ALJ issued an unfavorable decision denying Barnhart’s claim on the basis that he was not disabled under the relevant provisions of the Act. (Tr. 74-97). Barnhart appealed the ALJ’s decision to the Appeals Council, which denied his request for review on April 10, 2017. (Tr. 1-7).

         After exhausting his administrative remedies, Barnhart sought judicial review in this Court, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c). (Doc. 1). The Commissioner filed an answer and the social security transcript on August 31, 2017. (Docs. 7, 8). On September 29, 2017, Barnhart filed a brief in support of his claim. (Doc. 9). The Commissioner filed her brief on January 12, 2018. (Doc. 15). Oral argument was held before the undersigned Magistrate Judge on January 30, 2018. (Doc. 18). The case is now ripe for decision.

         II. CLAIM ON APPEAL

         Barnhart alleges that the ALJ’s decision to deny him benefits is in error because the ALJ’s Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment was not supported by substantial evidence. (Doc. 9 at pp. 1- 2).

         III. BACKGROUND FACTS

         Barnhart was born on September 29, 1985, making him 27 years old at the time he filed his claim for benefits. (Tr. 356). Robinson alleged disability due to a brain tumor/cancer, paralysis in his dominant hand, and anxiety. (Tr. 360). He graduated from high school, attending regular education classes, and completed two years of college. (Tr. 361). He worked as an inventory recounter from February 2008 until December 2010, when he stopped working to attend college. (Tr. 360-61). He did not work during 2011 and 2012, but began working part-time as a delivery driver for Papa John’s Pizza on December 23, 2013. (Tr. 79). In October of 2011, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. (Tr. 82). He underwent surgery to remove the tumor, but did not require chemotherapy or radiation. (Id.). As a result of the tumor and/or surgery, he has residual problems with his right upper extremity, as well as memory and cognitive issues. (Id.).

         Barnhart takes care of his own personal care, but he does have some difficulty using his right hand for things such as buttoning, hair care, and shaving. (Tr. 373-74). He is able to cook meals using his left hand, mow the lawn, do laundry, and cleaning. (Tr. 374). He can count change, handle a savings account, and use a checkbook/money orders, but has some difficulty handling money with his right hand. (Tr. 375-76). He is able to drive and go out alone. (Tr. 375). He goes outside at his home on a daily basis. (Id.). He spends time with others talking, eating, gaming, and watching television on a regular basis. (Tr. 376). He enjoys watching television, gaming, and drawing. (Id.). He stated in his Function Report that he can pay attention for a long while, can follow written and oral instructions pretty well, can handle changes in routine pretty well, can handle stress, and gets along with authority figures very well. (Tr. 377-78). After conducting the hearings, the ALJ made a determination that Barnhart had not been under a disability during the relevant time period, and thus, was not entitled to benefits. (Tr. 77-93).

         IV. ALJ’S DECISION

         The ALJ made the following relevant findings in her September 25, 2015 decision:

5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform a reduced range of light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b). The claimant is able to lift and carry 10 pounds frequently and 20 pounds occasionally; sit, stand and walk for 8 hours each during an 8 hour workday; no use of the right upper extremity to push and pull; no crawling; frequently climb ramps and stairs; no climbing of ladders, ropes or scaffolds; no requirement for bilateral manual dexterity; no reaching overhead with the right upper extremity; no fingering with the right upper extremity; occasionally reach in all other directions with the right upper extremity; occasionally handle with the right upper extremity; frequently feel with the right upper extremity; able to perform simple routine tasks involving no more than simple, short instructions; no requirement to hand write instructions or write reports; and able to sustain concentration and attention for 2 hour periods.
In making this finding, the undersigned has considered all symptoms and the extent to which these symptoms can reasonably be accepted as consistent with the objective medical evidence and other evidence, based on the requirements of 20 CFR 404.1529 and SSRs 96-4p and 96-7p. The undersigned has also considered opinion evidence in accordance with the requirements of 20 CFR 404.1527 and SSRs 96-2p, 96-5p, 96-6p and 06-3p.
* * *
The claimant alleges that his ability to work is limited by a brain tumor/cancer, paralysis in the dominant hand caused by the brain tumor, and anxiety/stress. The claimant reported he was prescribed Dexamethasone to prevent swelling in his brain. According to the claimant, he stopped working on December 31, 2010 because he was going to college. As of August 2011, the claimant had completed 2 years of college (Exhibits 2E and 9E). He reported no medication side effects. (Exhibit 9E).
At the initial hearing, the claimant testified that he was in college and was diagnosed with a brain tumor around October 2011. He underwent surgery, but he did not require chemotherapy or radiation. The claimant reported residual problems with his right upper extremity along with memory/cognitive problems. The claimant testified he was seeking no mental health treatment, and he had been to the vocational rehabilitation counselor only one time. The claimant is working part-time for 8-16 hours a week as a delivery driver, and the claimant testified he received accommodations at work. The claimant failed, however, to provide any documentation to support his claims regarding accommodations. The claimant stated he was working on improving strength in the right hand through exercises.
At the supplemental hearing after the consultative exams, the claimant testified he was still working as a delivery driver on a part time basis, but he was unable to work the dough to make pizzas and had difficulty with operating the oven for long periods. The claimant indicated he used the left upper extremity to drive and was able to hold a pen in the right hand. He has no restrictions on his driver's license, and he performs some chores at home including small loads of laundry and making simple meals. The claimant visits with friends and uses the internet. He uses the mouse and types primarily with his left hand. The claimant acknowledged he did not perform the physical therapy exercises for his right upper extremity as often as he should. He also testified he had not returned to vocational rehabilitation. The claimant did not obtain his job with Papa John's Pizza through vocational rehabilitation, and he also testified that he was not looking to return to college.
The claimant is status post craniotomy for brain lesion with decreased use of right upper extremity, which results in the limitation on his ability to lift and carry 10 pounds frequently and 20 pounds occasionally; sit, stand and walk for 8 hours each during an 8 hour workday; no use of the right upper extremity to push and pull; no crawling; frequently climb ramps and stairs; no climbing of ladders, ropes or scaffolds; no requirement for bilateral manual dexterity; no reaching overhead with the right upper extremity; no fingering with the right upper extremity; occasionally reach in all other directions with the right upper extremity; occasionally handle with the right upper extremity; frequently feel with the right upper extremity; and no requirement to hand write instructions or write reports. The ...

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.