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Rogers v. Berryhill

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, LaFayette Division

September 11, 2018

RYAN S. ROGERS, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Deputy Commissioner for Operations, Social Security Administration, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          ANDREW P. RODOVICH UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This matter is before the court on petition for judicial review of the decision of the Commissioner filed by the plaintiff, Ryan S. Rogers, on June 28, 2017. For the following reasons, the decision of the Commissioner is AFFIRMED.

         Background

         The plaintiff, Ryan S. Rogers, filed an application for Disability Insurance Benefits on March 31, 2014, alleging a disability onset date of November 28, 2004. (Tr. 18). The Disability Determination Bureau denied Rogers's application on July 10, 2014, and again upon reconsideration on September 4, 2014. (Tr. 18). Rogers subsequently filed a timely request for a hearing on October 14, 2014. (Tr. 18). A video hearing was held on April 21, 2016, before Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Mary Withum, and the ALJ issued an unfavorable decision on June 10, 2016. (Tr. 18-31). Vocational Expert (VE) Maria Vargas and James Toth, Psy.D., testified at the hearing. (Tr. 18). The Appeals Council denied review, making the ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner. (Tr. 1-3).

         Rogers last met the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act on September 30, 2014. (Tr. 20). The ALJ issued an unfavorable decision on June 10, 2016, and made findings as to each of the steps in the five-step sequential analysis. (Tr. 18-31). At step one of the five-step sequential analysis for determining whether an individual is disabled, the ALJ found that Rogers had not engaged in substantial gainful activity from his alleged onset date of November 28, 2004 through his date last insured of September 30, 2014. (Tr. 20).

         At step two, the ALJ determined that Rogers had the following severe impairments: bipolar disorder, history of polysubstance dependence, and status post repair of remote right upper extremity ulnar nerve laceration. (Tr. 20). At step three, the ALJ concluded that Rogers did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that met or medically equaled the severity of one of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. (Tr. 21). The ALJ determined that Rogers's right arm impairment did not meet Listing 11.14 because the record did not indicate significant and persistent disorganization of motor function in two extremities resulting in sustained disturbance of gross and dexterous movements, as defined in 11.00(C). (Tr. 21). The ALJ also considered Rogers's mental impairments, singly and in combination, according to the criteria in Listing 12.04. (Tr. 21). Accordingly, the ALJ determined that the severity of Rogers's mental impairments did not meet or medically equal Listing 12.04. (Tr. 21).

         In finding that Rogers did not meet the above listing, the ALJ considered the paragraph B criteria for mental impairments, which required at least two of the following:

marked restriction of activities of daily living; marked difficulties in maintaining social functioning; marked difficulties in maintaining concentration, persistence, or pace; or repeated episodes of decompensation, each of extended duration.

         (Tr. 21). The ALJ defined a marked limitation as more than moderate but less than extreme and repeated episodes of decompensation, each of extended duration, as three episodes within one year or once every four months with each episode lasting at least two weeks. (Tr. 21).

         The ALJ determined that Rogers had mild restriction in activities of daily living. (Tr. 21). Rogers alleged that he had difficulty with his memory and keeping appointments. (Tr. 21). He also alleged that he had mood swings and periods of depression during which he had difficulty with activities of daily living. (Tr. 21). However, the ALJ noted that according to his function report he indicated that he was able to cook, help with chores, shop, pay bills, count change, and handle a bank account. (Tr. 21). At the medical consultative examination in June of 2014, Rogers reported that he could perform his activities of daily living. (Tr. 21). The ALJ considered the findings of the State agency consultants that Rogers had mild limitations in activities of daily living. (Tr. 21).

         Next, the ALJ concluded that Rogers had moderate difficulties in social functioning. (Tr. 22). Rogers alleged that he had severe anxiety and that he often was irritable. (Tr. 22). However, the ALJ noted that he lived with his girlfriend. (Tr. 22). Also, the ALJ noted that Rogers used public transportation and rode to his appointments with his friends. (Tr. 22). The ALJ considered the findings of the State agency consultants that Rogers had moderate limitations in social functioning. (Tr. 22).

         Finally, the ALJ found that Rogers had moderate difficulties in concentration, persistence, or pace. (Tr. 22). Rogers has alleged that he had difficulty completing tasks when he was depressed and that he had difficulty concentrating for more than a short period. (Tr. 22). The ALJ noted that Rogers reported that he could pay bills, count change, handle a bank account, and watch television. (Tr. 22). At the consultative examination in June of 2014, Rogers was able to complete serial three's and his memory was intact. (Tr. 22). The ALJ considered the findings of the State agency consultants that Rogers had moderate limitations in concentration, persistence, or pace. (Tr. 22). Because Rogers's mental impairments did not cause at least two “marked” limitations or one “marked” limitation and “repeated” episodes of decompensation, the ALJ determined that he did not satisfy the paragraph B criteria. (Tr. 22). Additionally, the ALJ concluded that Rogers did not satisfy the paragraph C criteria. (Tr. 22).

         After consideration of the entire record, the ALJ then assessed Rogers's residual functional capacity (RFC) as follows:

[T]he claimant has the residual functional capacity (RFC) to perform a full range of work at all exertional levels but with the following nonexertional limitations: the claimant is limited to only frequently handling, fingering, and feeling with his right upper extremity; he is further limited to simple, routine, and repetitive tasks, involving only occasional workplace decision making, and only occasional work place changes; the ...

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