Palmer v. Social Security Administration Commissioner
FINAL ORDER REVERSING THE DECISION OF THE COMMISSIONER AND REMANDING THIS CASE TO THE COMMISSIONER FOR FURTHER CONSIDERATION PURSUANT TO SENTENCE FOUR of 42 U.S.C. 405(g). Signed by Honorable Mark E. Ford on July 26, 2016. (hnc)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
FORT SMITH DIVISION
JASON COLTER PALMER
CIVIL ACTION NO. 2:15-CV-2097-MEF
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Commissioner,
Social Security Administration
This cause is before the Court on the Plaintiff’s complaint for judicial review of an
unfavorable final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration denying his
claim for disability benefits. The parties have consented to entry of final judgment by the United
States Magistrate Judge under the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). The Court, having reviewed
the administrative record, the briefs of the parties, the applicable law, and having heard oral
argument, finds as follows, to-wit:
Consistent with the Court’s ruling from the bench following the parties’ oral argument, the
decision of the Commissioner of Social Security is reversed and remanded for further proceedings
pursuant to sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
The medical evidence makes clear that the Plaintiff suffers from scoliosis of the spine status
post surgical correction in 2003, including the placement of a rod from the T4 level to the L2 level.
In 2012, after some physical activity, he began experiencing significant pain and swelling in his
thoracic spine. Although testing revealed that the hardware remained intact and stable, the
orthopedic specialist, Dr. Richard McCarthy opined that the Plaintiff had a certain amount of
impairment in his ability to work. Without assigning any specific limitations, the doctor stated the
Plaintiff would be restricted from certain jobs due to his limited range of motion, pain, and
irritation in the overlying musculature with movement caused by the existing hardware.
Relying on the RFC assessments of only non-examining physicians the ALJ concluded the
Plaintiff could perform a full range of light work. However, the ALJ did so without the benefit of
a consultative exam or an RFC assessment from an examining source. Accordingly, given the
nature of the Plaintiff’s impairment and Dr. McCarthy’s statement concerning limitation in his
ability to perform work, the Court finds that remand is necessary to allow the ALJ to develop the
record further regarding the Plaintiff’s RFC.
On remand, the ALJ is directed to recontact Dr. McCarthy and ask him to complete an RFC
assessment. If Dr. McCarthy is unwilling or otherwise unable to complete said assessment, then
the ALJ is directed to order a consultative orthopedic examination complete with an RFC
assessment. The ALJ should then reconsider the Plaintiff’s RFC in light of this new evidence.
IT IS SO ORDERED AND ADJUDGED on this the 26th day of July, 2016.
/s/ Mark E. Ford
HON. MARK E. FORD
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?