diabetes mellitus, a severe impairment.
(Id.) The ALJ determined, however, that this impairment did not meet or
equal the criteria listed in 20 C.F.R. pt. 404, subpt. P, app. 1. (Id.)
The ALJ proceeded to the fourth step and determined that plaintiff had
the residual functional capacity ("RFC") to perform work related
activities except for work involving lifting and carrying over 25 pounds
frequently or lifting more than 50 pounds occasionally and remembering
detailed instructions on a consistent basis. (Id.) He found that her
impairments did not prevent her from engaging in her past relevant work.
(Id.) As such, the ALJ found plaintiff was not disabled. I find that the
ALJ applied the appropriate legal standards in determining the
plaintiff's disability status.
Substantial Evidence Determination
The only question remaining before the Court is whether the ALJ's
decision is supported by substantial evidence. In my view, the ALJ's
determination that plaintiff's RFC was sufficient to engage in her past
relevant work is supported by substantial evidence from several medical
First of all, evaluations from plaintiff's treating physicians, Drs.
John Gerich and Elizabeth Romero (Tr. 62), support the ALJ's findings.
Based upon a physical exam of plaintiff conducted on March 25, 1998, Dr.
Gerich determined that plaintiff had no limitations on her ability to
lift and carry, stand, walk, and sit. (Tr. 308-309.) He also opined that
she had little trouble with postural activities (climbing, stooping,
crouching, etc.) and had no environmental restrictions. (Id.) Dr. Gerich
stated that no work-related activities were affected by any of
plaintiff's impairments. (Id.) Similarly, Dr. Romero noted that plaintiff
was not in distress and had no acute findings during a 1995 examination.
(Tr. 196.) Dr. Romero did note, however, that plaintiff did not take her
insulin on a daily basis. (Id.) Notably, Dr. Romero's treatment notes
indicate that plaintiff had an interest in returning to work, and that
the doctor felt that once her diabetes was under control, plaintiff could
return to the workforce. The uncontradicted findings of Drs. Gerich and
Romero are crucial, since a treating source's uncontradicted opinion on
the nature and severity of impairments is given controlling weight if
well-supported by the record. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.1527(d)(2) and
The ALJ's determination concerning plaintiff's RFC is further supported
by two consultative assessments by state agency medical examiners. Dr.
Judith Bodnar determined that plaintiff could occasionally lift 50 pounds
and frequently lift 25 pounds, could stand, sit or walk for six out of
eight hours a day, and was unlimited in her abilities to push and pull.
(Tr. 86-93.) A second consultative examiner, Dr. A. Mercale, found that
plaintiff had no exertional limitations. (Tr. 95-102.)
A psychiatric review conducted on June 3, 1997, indicated that
plaintiff had some disturbance of mood accompanied by some degree of manic
or depressive syndrome. (Tr. 204-212.) However, the consultant reviewer
noted that plaintiff was not significantly limited by this condition.
(Tr. 213-216.) Dr. Tara Russow noted on May 20, 1997 that plaintiff was
well-dressed and that her personal hygiene was good. (Tr. 277.) Plaintiff
was adjudged not to require supervision in managing her own funds. (Id.)
Dr. Russow listed no restrictions on plaintiff's activities as the result
of her condition. Upon discharge from the Park Ridge Mental Health
Center, plaintiff's overall levels of anxiety and depression had been
reduced, her self-esteem and coping abilities were improved, and she was
adjudged better equipped to handle stress. (Tr. 293.)
By her own admission, plaintiff is capable of many tasks associated
with daily life, including taking care of her daughter and performing
household chores. (Tr. 65-70.) In addition, she regularly attends church
and bible study, sews and on occasion dines out and participates in
outdoor recreational activities. (Id.) Finally, she had travelled to
North Carolina and to Las Vegas. (Tr. 70, 166.)
Plaintiff's subjective complaints as to her symptoms are not supported
by objective medical evidence of record. Plaintiff's left knee bursitis
does not appear to be the result of any serious physical abnormality.
(Tr. 152.) Also, when plaintiff properly took her insulin, her diabetes
were well-controlled. (Tr. 96.) Finally, as stated above, her mental
difficulties were improved after treatment. While it is clear that
plaintiff does have medical impairments that cause her difficulties, I
believe that there is substantial evidence to support he Commissioner's
decision that none of plaintiff's impairments limit her residual
functional capacity to perform her past relevant work.
I find that the ALJ's findings denying benefits are supported by
substantial evidence. The Commissioner's motion for judgment on the
pleadings (Dkt. #10) is granted, and the complaint is dismissed.
IT IS SO ORDERED.