Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Scroggins v. Commissioner of Social Security

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

September 25, 2017

Lisa Scroggins, Plaintiff,
v.
Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          David R. Grand, U.S. Magistrate Judge

          ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION [18]; OVERRULING PLAINTIFF'S OBJECTION [19]; DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT [12]; AND GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT [14]

          ARTHUR J. TARNOW, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Lisa Scroggins seeks judicial review of the decision of an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) denying her application for disability benefits. Plaintiff filed a Motion for Summary Judgment [Dkt. 12] on October 30, 2016. Defendant filed a Motion for Summary Judgment [14] on December 5, 2016.

         On March 7, 2017, the Magistrate Judge issued a Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) [18] recommending that the Court grant Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, deny Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment, and affirm the ALJ's decision pursuant to sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Plaintiff filed an Objection [19] to the Magistrate Judge's R&R on March 13, 2017. Defendant responded on March 22, 2017 [20].

         For the reasons stated below, the Court ADOPTS the Report and Recommendation [18]. Plaintiff's Objection to the Report and Recommendation [19] is OVERRULED. Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment [12] is DENIED. Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment [14] is GRANTED.

         Factual Background

         The R&R summarized the record as follows:

I. Procedural History
On September 19, 2012, and March 12, 2013, Scroggins filed applications for DIB and SSI, respectively, alleging disability as of September 1, 2012. (Tr. 175-85). These applications were denied initially on October 4, 2013. (Tr. 110-13, 121-24). Scroggins filed a timely request for an administrative hearing, which was held on March 3, 2015, before ALJ Kevin Fallis. (Tr. 36-73). Scroggins, who was represented by attorney Lisa Watkinson, testified at the hearing, as did vocational expert Stephanee Leech. (Id.). On May 28, 2015, the ALJ issued a written decision finding that Scroggins is not disabled under the Act. (Tr. 11-30). On April 14, 2016, the Appeals Council denied review. (Tr. 1-5). Scroggins timely filed for judicial review of the final decision on May 27, 2016. (Doc. #1).
II. Background
A. Scroggins' Reports and Testimony
At the time of the administrative hearing, Scroggins was 51 years old, and at 5'4” tall, weighed 245 pounds. (Tr. 43). She had completed high school and subsequently earned an associate's degree. (Tr. 44, 210). Previously, she worked as a high school English teacher and tutor, but she alleges that she stopped working on September 1, 2012 because of her medical conditions. (Tr. 46, 210). At the time of the hearing, she was taking one college class (for the second consecutive semester) in an effort to “widen [her] environment a little bit rather than just sitting home all the time, doing nothing, sleeping.” (Tr. 45-46).
Scroggins alleges disability as a result of back and shoulder pain, headaches, asthma, and depression. (Tr. 209). When she first applied for disability, she was having “severe migraine headaches, ” which left her “crying like a baby.” (Tr. 48). She testified that she still gets these headaches two to four times a week, and they last “for hours.” (Tr. 51, 53). After she applied for disability benefits, she fell - and then was in a car accident - injuring her back and shoulder. (Tr. 48, 53-54). Scroggins also testified that her asthma causes shortness of breath and makes it difficult for her to walk more than one block or carry more than five pounds. (Tr. 48). She uses a nebulizer for breathing treatments four or five times a day. (Tr. 49). Scroggins claims she has been prescribed a cane and uses it “most of the time.” (Tr. 55).
Scroggins also testified that she is depressed because she “can't work” and because some of her children are incarcerated. (Tr. 57). She does not like being around people and gets panic attacks in closed spaces. (Tr. 58). She also testified that her memory is “kind of really bad, ” but she can concentrate on things she finds interesting. (Tr. 59). In terms of daily activities, she is able to attend to her own personal care needs, microwave meals, shop in small stores, and attend church, but she spends most of her days sleeping, watching television, reading, and listening to music. (Tr. 60-63, 222-23, 225-26).
B. Medical Evidence
The Court has thoroughly reviewed Scroggins' medical record. In lieu of summarizing her medical history here, the Court will make references and provide citations to the record as necessary in its discussion of the parties' arguments.
C. Vocational Expert's Testimony
Stephanee Leech testified as an independent vocational expert (“VE”) at the administrative hearing. (Tr. 67-72). The ALJ asked the VE to imagine a claimant of Scroggins' age, education, and work experience who can perform light work, with the following additional limitations: only occasional pushing and pulling; no climbing of ladders, ropes, or scaffolds; occasional climbing of ramps or stairs, balancing, stooping, kneeling, crouching, and crawling; must avoid even moderate exposure to extreme cold, extreme heat, and humidity; must avoid even moderate exposure to environmental irritants such as fumes, odors, dusts, and gases; must avoid even moderate use of hazardous, moving machinery; must avoid all exposure to unprotected heights; is limited to simple, routine, repetitive tasks performed in a work environment free of fast-paced production requirements, involving only simple, work-related decisions and routine workplace changes; and is limited to only occasional and superficial interaction with the public and co-workers. (Tr. 68). The VE testified that the hypothetical individual would not be capable of performing any of Scroggins' past relevant work. (Id.). However, the VE further testified that the hypothetical individual would be capable of working in the jobs of bench assembler (60, 000 jobs in the national economy), unskilled office clerk (150, 000 jobs), and packer (250, 000 jobs). (Tr. 69).
D. The ALJ's Findings
At Step One of the five-step sequential analysis, the ALJ found that Scroggins has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since September 1, 2012 (the alleged onset date). (Tr. 13). At Step Two, the ALJ found that Scroggins has the severe impairments of asthma, headaches, obstructive sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, obesity, depression, anxiety, schizoaffective disorder, and substance abuse disorder. (Id.). At Step Three, he found that Scroggins' impairments, whether considered alone or in combination, do not meet or medically equal a listed impairment. (Tr. 13-14).
The ALJ then found that Scroggins retains the residual functional capacity (“RFC”)[1] to perform light work, with the following additional limitations: only occasional pushing and pulling; no climbing of ladders, ropes, or scaffolds; occasional climbing of ramps or stairs, balancing, stooping, kneeling, crouching, and crawling; must avoid even moderate exposure to extreme cold, extreme heat, and humidity; must avoid even moderate exposure to environmental irritants such as fumes, odors, dusts, and gases; must avoid even moderate use of hazardous, moving machinery; must avoid all exposure to unprotected heights; is limited to simple, routine, repetitive tasks performed in a work environment free of fast-paced production requirements, ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.