Jones v. Social Security Administration Commissioner
FINAL JUDGMENT 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 October 18, 2016. (hnc)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
FORT SMITH DIVISION
RANDALL CRAIG JONES
CIVIL ACTION NO. 2:15-CV-02205-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 her
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).
Of concern to the Court in this case is an aspect of development of the record related to the
ALJ’s determination of Plaintiff’s residual functional capacity. The Court finds that the matter
must be remanded for further development of the record with regard to functional limitations
resulting from Plaintiff’s carpal tunnel syndrome. The ALJ ordered a neurological consultative
examination to assist with his residual functional capacity determination. However, a residual
functional capacity assessment was not provided by the consultative examiner, Dr. Oberlander,
and the Court finds the ALJ should have requested an assessment outlining the Plaintiff’s
restrictions or limitations associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. Accordingly, the matter must
be remanded to allow the ALJ to obtain a residual functional capacity assessment from
Dr. Oberlander in order to document the limitations imposed by Plaintiff’s carpal tunnel syndrome.
Further, the Court is concerned about the failure to incorporate any limitations in the
ALJ’s residual functional capacity determination related to the Plaintiff’s colostomy surgery and
use of a colostomy bag. Evidence was presented of the Plaintiff’s need to tend to the bag by
irrigating it three times a day with one irrigation occurring during the work day. The evidence
shows that there will also be times when Plaintiff will have to attend to and empty the colostomy
bag, and this may require unscheduled breaks. The ALJ has a duty to fully develop the record
regarding the claimant’s impairments. See Stormo v. Barnhart, 377 F.3d 801, 806 (8th Cir.
2004). That duty may include seeking clarification from treating physicians if a crucial issue is
undeveloped or underdeveloped. Id. The Court finds remand is necessary with regard to the
issue of the colostomy bag, and an opinion from the Plaintiff’s treating physician for this
impairment, Dr. Mizell, is needed. The ALJ is directed to contact Dr. Mizell and request a
residual functional capacity assessment addressing any limitations the Plaintiff may have in the
work setting due to this impairment.
Because the Court is remanding on the issues of development of the record and residual
functional capacity, the Court does not address the other issues raised on appeal. Accordingly,
remand is necessary to allow the ALJ to obtain the recommended opinions from the examining
and treating physicians, and to reconsider the opinion evidence and residual functional capacity
IT IS SO ORDERED AND ADJUDGED on this the 18th day of October, 2016.
/s/ Mark E. Ford
HON. MARK E. FORD
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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