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.

J.A.R. v. Colvin

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

January 26, 2017

J. A. R. a minor by his mother LATONJA N. JACKSON, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.

          ORDER

          Tim A. Baker United States Magistrate Judge

         Pending before the Court is Plaintiff J.A.R.'s appeal of the Commissioner's denial of his claim for disability benefits. J.A.R. argues that the Administrative Law Judge erred in finding he was not disabled by ignoring evidence that J.A.R. is disabled due to a lack of functional speech and asthma, and that the ALJ failed to summon a medical advisor. However, the evidence supports the ALJ's findings concerning J.A.R.'s speech and asthma, and a medical advisor was not required. Thus, the Court denies J.A.R.'s brief in support of appeal. [Filing No. 20.]

         I. Procedural Background

         J.A.R. is a twin who was born more than 10 weeks prematurely, on May 11, 2010. J.A.R.'s mother applied for supplemental security income and childhood disability benefits on his behalf. The application was approved on November 23, 2010, finding a disability date of May 14, 2010. At the time of the approval, J.A.R. was found to have bronchopulmonary dysplasia, which medically equaled the listing for chronic pulmonary insufficiency.

         On September 29, 2012, the Social Security Administration determined that J.A.R.'s condition had significantly improved, he was no longer disabled, and discontinued his benefits. The determination was further upheld on reconsideration. On August 12, 2014, J.A.R. and his mother, represented by an attorney, testified at a hearing before an ALJ. On November 13, 2014, the ALJ issued his decision, finding that J.A.R. has not been disabled since September 29, 2012.

         At step one, the ALJ determined that as of September 29, 2012, J.A.R.'s impairments present at the time of the disability finding had medically improved. At step two, the ALJ determined that J.A.R.'s impairments no longer medically equal the listing for chronic pulmonary insufficiency. At step three, the ALJ found that J.A.R.'s severe impairments are asthma, expressive/receptive language disorder, and borderline intellectual functioning. However, the ALJ determined that these impairments do not meet or equal, either medically or functionally, any relevant listing. The ALJ concluded that J.A.R.'s disability ended on September 29, 2012, and that he has not been disabled since that date. The ALJ's decision became final when the Appeals Council denied J.A.R.'s request for review. This appeal followed.

         II. Standard of review

         The Court must uphold the ALJ's decision if substantial evidence supports his findings. Terry v. Astrue, 580 F.3d 471, 475 (7th Cir. 2009). “The substantial evidence standard requires no more than such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.” Moore v. Colvin, 743 F.3d 1118, 1120 (7th Cir. 2014). The ALJ is obligated to consider all relevant medical evidence and cannot simply cherry-pick facts that support a finding of nondisability while ignoring evidence that points to a disability finding. Denton v. Astrue, 596 F.3d 419, 425 (7th Cir. 2010). If evidence contradicts the ALJ's conclusions, the ALJ must confront that evidence and explain why it was rejected. Moore, 743 F.3d at 1123. The ALJ, however, need not mention every piece of evidence, so long as he builds a logical bridge from the evidence to his conclusion. Pepper v. Colvin, 712 F.3d 351, 362 (7th Cir. 2013).

         III. Discussion

         J.A.R. argues that the ALJ ignored or misstated the evidence proving that J.A.R.'s impairments medically equal a listing. First, J.A.R. takes issue with the ALJ's finding that he “does not have a marked limitation in speech or language.” [Filing No. 14-2, at ECF p. 24.] Second, J.A.R. takes issue with the ALJ's finding that he “does not have persistent low-grade wheezing.” [Filing No. 14-2, at ECF p. 24.] Third, J.A.R. argues the ALJ should have summoned a medical advisor. The Commissioner contends that J.A.R. fails to point to evidence that supports his argument and fails to explain how he meets a listing. As explained below, the Court agrees with the Commissioner.

         A. No marked limitation in speech or language

         The ALJ considered the listing for hearing loss and found that J.A.R. “does not have a marked limitation in speech or language.” [Filing No. 14-2, at ECF p. 24.] The ALJ explained that J.A.R.'s speech is intelligible to an unfamiliar listener 80 percent of the time in context, his language is higher than two standard deviations below the mean, and he received a score of 90 on the receptive and expressive speech on the Preschool Language Scale. [Filing No. 14-2, at ECF p. 24.] J.A.R. argues that the ALJ overlooked evidence of his marked impairment in speech. However, the evidence J.A.R. points to does not counter the ALJ's finding.

         J.A.R. points to Dr. Herman's consultative examination, dated September 6, 2012. J.A.R. argues that he has a marked limitation in speech because his speech was understandable only 25 percent of the time. However, Dr. Herman's examination does not make this finding. [Filing No. 14-7, at ECF p. 34-41.] And while Dr. Herman diagnosed J.A.R. with “expressive/receptive language disorder” and noted that although J.A.R.'s mother reported that he speaks some words, “he was not heard to emit any recognizable or understandable words during the evaluation, ” his examination took place before J.A.R.'s disability ended. [Filing No. 14-7, at ECF p. 35-36.] Thus, if Dr. Hermon's examination shows that J.A.R. was disabled, it was at a time when J.A.R. was indeed disabled for purposes of Social Security.

         Similarly, J.A.R. points to an August 3, 2012, speech and language evaluation by the state Family and Social Services Administration. In that report, intelligibility of J.A.R.'s speech in context was 80 percent, and 25 percent out of context. [Filing No. 14-7, at ECF p. 30.] The summary of his language assessment was that he has severe delays in both receptive and expressive language. [Filing No. 14-7, at ECF p. 32.] Again, this evidence predates the ALJ's ...


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.