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Yeilding v. Berryhill

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, New Albany Division

October 5, 2017

DAVID EUGENE YEILDING, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION ON PLAINTIFF'S BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF COMPLAINT

          Tim A. Baker United States Magistrate Judge.

         I. Introduction

         Plaintiff David Yielding appeals the Administrative Law Judge's decision that he was not disabled. Plaintiff argues that the ALJ's residual functioning capacity determination is not supported by substantial evidence because the ALJ improperly discredited Plaintiff's testimony that he needs to frequently elevate his legs. Plaintiff's brief in support of complaint [Filing No. 11] should be denied because the ALJ adequately supported her conclusion that Plaintiff's testimony was not credible by citing inconsistencies between Plaintiff's testimony and the record.

         II. Background

         At the hearing before an ALJ, Plaintiff claimed total disability beginning on his 50th birthday. The ALJ found that Plaintiff cannot perform any past relevant work, and his residual functional capacity was limited to light exertional work with a sit/stand option, due to his severe impairments: his history of hernias limited his ability to lift and to lean on his abdomen; his degenerative disc disease and obesity limited his ability to lift and to stand; and his rotator cuff tear limited his ability to use his non-dominant arm.

         Plaintiff also had a history of deep vein thrombosis. He was diagnosed with DVT in his left calf in February 2012 and prescribed medication. Plaintiff alleged that continued pain and swelling from the DVT required him to elevate his legs above his heart for 20 to 45 minutes, seven to eight times per day, as well as to wear compression stockings, and take daily Lovenox shots. Plaintiff further alleged the reason he took only a “conservative” amount of pain medication is that he could not afford it after losing his insurance.

         III. Discussion

         The Court reviews the ALJ's decision to determine whether it is supported by substantial evidence, i.e. “such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.” Summers v. Berryhill, 864 F.3d 523, 526 (7th Cir. 2017). From that evidence, the ALJ must build a logical bridge to her conclusion. Minnick v. Colvin, 775 F.3d 929, 935 (7th Cir. 2015). The Court's substantial-evidence review is deferential: it will not supplant the ALJ's conclusion for its own. Summers, 864 F.3d at 526.

         Here, the issue is whether the ALJ adequately supported her conclusion that Plaintiff's testimony that he needed to frequently elevate his legs was not credible. While other evidence may support Plaintiff's testimony, no other source claimed Plaintiff must elevate his legs in the manner to which Plaintiff testified. To reverse an ALJ's credibility determination, the claimant must show that the ALJ was “patently wrong.” Powers v. Apfel, 207 F.3d 431, 435 (7th Cir. 2000). Plaintiff fails to meet his burden.

         ALJs must conduct credibility analyses in accordance with Social Security Ruling 96-7p.[1] When an ALJ establishes that a claimant has an impairment that could reasonably be expected to produce the claimant's alleged pain, the ALJ must make a specific credibility finding. SSR 96-7p; Boyd v. Barnhart, 175 Fed. App'x. 47, 49 (7th Cir. 2006). To evaluate a claimant's credibility, the ALJ must look to seven factors:

1. The individual's daily activities;
2. The location, duration, frequency, and intensity of the individual's pain or other symptoms;
3. Factors that precipitate and aggravate the symptoms;
4. The type, dosage, effectiveness, and side effects of any medications the individual takes or has taken to alleviate ...

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