United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, New Albany Division
LISA M. KNIGHT, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.
ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF
Baker United States Magistrate Judge.
Lisa M. Knight appeals the Commissioner's denial of her
application for Social Security benefits. Knight argues that
the Administrative Law Judge erred at step four by giving
insufficient weight to the treating physician's opinion
without adequately considering all the factors set forth in
20 C.F.R. § 404.1527(c). [Filing No. 10-2, at ECF p.
17.] For the reasons below, the Court denies Knight's
brief in support of appeal [Filing No. 14] and affirms the
filed an application for disability insurance benefits
alleging a disability onset date of February 13, 2009. The
agency denied Knight's application initially and upon
review. The ALJ held a hearing and issued a December 7, 2011,
decision finding Knight was not disabled. Knight appealed,
alleging in part that the ALJ erred by failing to provide an
analysis of Dr. Dobbs' records and opinion. In April
2013, the Appeals Council granted Knight's request for
review, remanding the case to the ALJ to evaluate Dr.
Dobbs' opinion and to correct an additional vocational
issue. The ALJ held another hearing in September 2013.
January 31, 2014, the ALJ again found that Knight was not
disabled. At step one, the ALJ determined that Knight has not
engaged in substantial gainful activity since the alleged
onset date of February 13, 2009. At step two, the ALJ found
Knight's severe impairments are psychogenic seizures,
migraines, conversion disorder, posttraumatic stress
disorder, and adjustment disorder with depressed mood. At
step three, the ALJ concluded that these impairments do not
meet or medically equal one of the listed impairments. At
step four, the ALJ determined Knight has the residual
functional capacity to perform sedentary work with the
[S]he can never crawl, balance, or climb ladders, ropes, or
scaffolds; she can occasionally stoop, kneel, crouch; and she
can climb ramps and stairs no more than 15% of the workday.
She should avoid all use of dangerous machinery and all
exposure to unprotected heights. She is limited to no
commercial driving and must avoid working in close proximity
to hot cooking surface, open flames, and open water hazards.
She is limited to simple, routine, and repetitive tasks. She
can interact with the public no more than approximately 15%
of the workday, but with no transactional interactions such
as sales or negotiations. She is limited to no more than
occasional interaction with coworkers or supervisors. She is
limited to jobs in which changes in the work setting occur no
more than approximately 15% of the workday. She can perform
goal-oriented work, but no constant production rate pace work
such as automated assembly line work.
[Filing No. 10-2, at ECF p. 9-10.]
on this RFC, the ALJ found Knight is unable to perform any
past relevant work. Relying on the testimony of a vocational
expert, the ALJ found at step five that Knight can perform
the work of an assembler, inspector, hand packager, and
addresser. Thus, the ALJ concluded Knight is not disabled.
Appeals Council denied Knight's request for review in
April 2016, making the ALJ's conclusion the
Commissioner's final decision. This appeal followed.
Standard of Review
Court must uphold the ALJ's decision so long as she
supports her findings with substantial evidence, which is
“such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might
accept as adequate to support a conclusion.” Pepper
v. Colvin, 712 F.3d 351, 362 (7th Cir. 2013) (quoting
McKinzey v. Astrue, 641 F.3d 884, 889 (7th Cir.
2011)). While the ALJ must consider all relevant medical
evidence and avoid “cherry-picking” facts
supporting a non-disability conclusion, she is not required
to discuss every piece of evidence. Denton v.
Astrue, 596 F.3d 419, 425 (7th Cir. 2010). The ALJ need
only provide a logical bridge between the evidence and her
conclusions. Roddy v. Astrue, 705 F.3d 631, 636 (7th
only issue that Knight raises is whether the ALJ analyzed
treating physician Dr. Dobbs' opinion according to the
factors set forth in § 404.1527(c). If the ALJ
determines that a treating doctor's opinion is not
entitled to controlling weight, she must evaluate it and
determine what weight to give it according to the factors set
forth in § 404.1527(c)(2)-(6). Roddy v. Astrue,
705 F.3d 631, 637 (7th Cir. 2013). The factors are: (1)
treatment relationship, (2) supportability, (3) consistency,
(4) specialization, and (5) “other factors.” 20
C.F.R. § 404.1527(c)(2)-(6). The ALJ's weight
determination stands so long as the ALJ “minimally
articulated” her reasons. Elder v. ...