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Gladding v. Commissioner of Social Security

September 3, 2008

RYLAND C. GLADDING, PLAINTIFF,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



DECISION AND ORDER

I. BACKGROUND

A. Procedural History

Plaintiff Ryland C. Gladding ("Plaintiff") filed applications for Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB") and Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") on November 29, 2002. Administrative Transcript ("AT") 57-59, 255-56. The applications were denied initially. AT 26, 257. A request was made for a hearing. AT 33. A hearing was held before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") on October 12, 2004. AT 263-305. In a decision dated November 17, 2004, the ALJ found that Plaintiff is not disabled. AT 11-21. The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review on October 31, 2005. AT 5-7. Plaintiff commenced this action on December 2, 2005 pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), seeking review of the Commissioner's final decision. Dkt. No. 1.

B. Contentions

Plaintiff makes the following claims:

(1) The Commissioner failed to properly evaluate the medical opinions of record. Dkt. No. 6 at 10-14.

(2) The Commissioner failed to properly determine Plaintiff's residual functional capacity. Dkt. No. 6 at 15-16.

(3) There is no substantial evidence to support the Commissioner's conclusion that there is significant work in the national or regional economies that Plaintiff could perform. Dkt. No. 6 at 17-18.

(4) The ALJ erroneously failed to properly evaluate Plaintiff's credibility. Dkt. No. 6 at 18-19.

Defendant argues that the Commissioner's determination is supported by substantial evidence in the record, and must be affirmed. Dkt. No. 8.

C. Facts

Plaintiff was forty-nine years old at the time of the hearing. AT 268-69. Plaintiff has his high school degree and completed one year of college. AT 108. Plaintiff's past work experience consists of working as a painter. AT 103. Plaintiff alleges that he became unable to work on July 14, 2001. AT 57, 255, 269. Plaintiff alleges disability due to carpal tunnel in his right hand, a "cracked skull," severe headaches, swelling and pain in his left ankle, a swollen tail bone, pain in his arms, right hip, lower back, and left hand and shoulder. AT 102.

1. Taesook Kim, M.D.

From 1993 to 1997, Plaintiff saw Taesook Kim, M.D. AT 138-51. Plaintiff was diagnosed as suffering from a pain in his left hand and lumbar muscle spasms and prescribed various medications. AT 138-40.

2. Charles Moehs, M.D.

On January 12, 1999, Plaintiff underwent a disability examination by Charles Moehs, M.D. AT 152-53. Dr. Moehs noted that Plaintiff claimed that he was hit by a bus when he was eighteen, which caused several injuries. AT 152. Dr. Moehs also noted that Plaintiff stated that he injured his right hip and left hand during an accident in 1978. AT 153. An x-ray of Plaintiff's right hip showed mild degenerative change at the right hip joint with mild superior joint space narrowing with subchondral sclerosis of the acetabulum. AT 156. Dr. Moehs opined that Plaintiff could continue working as a painter. AT 153.

3. Deborah Bostic, M.D.

On March 1, 1999, Deborah Bostic, M.D. completed an RFC assessment. AT 157-64. Dr. Bostic indicated that Plaintiff was capable of lifting and/or carrying a maximum of fifty pounds occasionally; lifting and/or carrying a maximum of twenty-five pounds frequently; standing and/or walking about six hours in an eight-hour workday; and sitting for a total of six hours in an eight-hour workday. AT 158.

4. Massena Free Health Clinic

From August 9, 2001 to February 27, 2003, Plaintiff was treated at the Massena Free Health Clinic. AT 165-67. On August 9, 2001, it was noted that Plaintiff injured his left shoulder and was seen at an emergency room. AT 165. Plaintiff was prescribed Vicodin and Motrin, but had not filled the prescriptions. Id. He was diagnosed as suffering from left shoulder pain. Id. He was also treated for chronic low back pain and tenderness in his hips. AT 166-67.

5. Emergency Department of Canton-Potsdam Hospital

On January 23, 2002, Plaintiff was seen at the Emergency Department of Canton-Potsdam Hospital. AT 168-78. Plaintiff sustained a left distal radius fracture to his left wrist when he fell while ice skating. AT 169.

6. Donald Henline, M.D.

On January 24, 2002, Donald Henline, M.D. repaired the wrist fracture using a volar buttress T-plate. AT 173. During a follow-up visit on February 13, 2002, Dr. Henline noted that Plaintiff is "doing well, having no specific complaints. He denies any numbness or tingling in his hand." AT 179. Plaintiff had "good sensation to all five digits." Id. On February 27, 2002, Plaintiff exhibited a decreased range-of-motion in his wrist, but Plaintiff stated that "it is fairly close to his pre-operative state" due to a previous fracture. AT 180. On December 27, 2002, Dr. Henline stated that clinical union was present. AT 183.

7. Nader Wassef, M.D.

On January 2, 2003, Plaintiff underwent an orthopedic examination at the request of the agency by Nader Wassef, M.D. AT 189-92. Dr. Wassef diagnosed Plaintiff as suffering from, inter alia, lower back pain, and pain in the right hip area and right anterior/superior iliac spine area. AT 192. Dr. Wassef found that Plaintiff has a moderate restriction for heavy lifting and carrying and activities requiring fine manipulation of the left hand, as well as a mild restriction for standing, walking, squatting, and kneeling. Id. Dr. Wassef recommended that Plaintiff establish himself with a primary care provider ...


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