Mangano v. Commissioner of Social Security
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER re 3 Complaint filed by Paul V Mangano. The ALJs decision is affirmed. Judgment shall enter in favor of the Commissioner and against Magano. Signed by Magistrate Judge Kelly Mahoney on 9/28/20017. (src)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF IOWA
CEDAR RAPIDS DIVISION
PAUL V. MANGANO,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL,1
Acting Commissioner of Social Security,
Plaintiff Paul Mangano seeks judicial review of a final decision of the
Commissioner of Social Security (the Commissioner) denying his application for
disability insurance (DI) benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C.
§§ 401-434. Mangano argues that the administrative law judge (ALJ), Linda Marshall,
erred in assigning weight to the medical opinions and that her resulting determination of
his mental residual functional capacity (RFC) is not supported by substantial evidence.
Mangano also argues that the ALJ’s RFC assessment does not include limitations
reflecting her finding during step three of the disability determination that Mangano
suffers moderate restrictions in concentration, persistence, or pace.
I affirm the
Mangano filed an application for DI benefits on September 13, 2013, alleging
disability beginning on May 1, 2013. AR 8. Prior to May 2013, Mangano had worked
as a police detective, but he lost his job due to performance problems and his alcoholism.
Commissioner Berryhill is substituted for her predecessor in accordance with Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 25(d).
AR 13, 34, 498, 860. He alleged disability based on depression, post-traumatic stress
disorder (PTSD), anxiety, alcoholism, diabetes, high blood pressure, head injury, and
“back injuries with leg issues.” AR 10, 58.
Mangano was referred for a consultative examination with Dr. Richard Frederick,
AR 62, 630. After examining Mangano on January 11, 2014, Dr.
Frederick issued an opinion evaluating Mangano’s mental RFC,2 concluding:
The claimant appears to be able to understand, remember, and carry out
The claimant appears able to concentrate, persist, and keep pace on complex
The claimant appears to have intact capacity to interact effectively in
complex work situations.
The claimant appears to have intact capacity to adapt to changes in complex
The claimant is able to manage his own funds.
AR 630-33. Dr. Frederick found that Mangano suffered from chronic alcoholism and
mild depressive disorder. AR 632.
Shortly thereafter, on January 16, 2014, Dr. Keith Allen, a state agency
psychological consultant, opined that Mangano suffered from no severe mental
impairments, and Mangano’s application for DI benefits was denied. AR 63, 65, 69.
Mangano requested a hearing before an ALJ. AR 77. He submitted additional RFC
opinions as evidence, two from psychologist Dr. Jerry Morris and one from therapist
Shannon Hiser, both of whom practiced at Community Mental Health Consultants
(CMHC), where Mangano received regular treatment beginning in January 2014 (he
received treatment from CMHC sporadically prior to January 2014, including in
November 2012 and September 2013). AR 421-26, 473-551, 639, 775-873, 968-1017,
RFC is “‘what the claimant can still do’ despite his or her physical or mental limitations.”
Lewis v. Barnhart, 353 F.3d 642, 646 (8th Cir. 2003) (quoting Bradshaw v. Heckler, 810 F.2d
786, 790 (8th Cir. 1987)).
Dr. Morris conducted several psychological tests on July 11, 2013, and
This patient is functioning as a child developmental level with a severe
mood disorder resulting in failure in most adult roles, insecurity, paranoia,
and resentment and global negativity. He has low frustration tolerance, is
brooding, and has low stress tolerance. Consequently, he will regress
rapidly under slight pressure, and he will display distortive thinking,
paranoiac and insecurity in the extreme and persecutory delusions and
blaming others for these problems. He is overwhelmed by life [and]
occupational demands . . . . At times he becomes seriously suicidal and he
has significant suicide potential. . . . He also is medication and treatment
noncompliant often inconsistent basis and has abused his pain medicine and
[his] sedative hypnotic medication. He is likely to continue to do so in the
future unless treated in highly structured settings.
This patient will not likely fulfill adult roles such as, and employee for, or
function well in social settings and relationships without significant years
of psychotherapy and growth. He will be indecisive, isolated, [and] hyper
irritable . . . .
AR 425. Ms. Hiser’s February 13, 2014 opinion regurgitated these findings, explicitly
referring to Dr. Morris’ July 11, 2013 evaluation. AR 639. Dr. Morris’ second RFC
opinion, completed on February 20, 2015, opined that Mangano suffered from extreme
limitations in social functioning and maintaining concentration, persistence, or pace; that
he would suffer from repeated episodes of decompensation in work-like settings; that he
would frequently (1/3 to 2/3 of an eight-hour day) be unable to maintain the attention and
concentration necessary to perform simple work tasks; and that he would miss more than
four days of work a month. AR 1020-21. He further stated that Mangano would not be
able to “maintain adequate self-regulation to get along well with others [and] provide
adequate productivity [and] quality of work.” AR 1022.
On February 26, 2015, the ALJ held a video hearing at which Mangano and a
vocational expert testified, and on March 20, 2015, the ALJ issued a written opinion
following the familiar five-step process outlined in the regulations.3 AR 8-19, 25-26.
The ALJ found that Mangano suffers from the following severe impairments: residuals
from lumbar surgeries, right elbow surgery, right hand surgery, and right knee surgery;
diabetes; hypertension; depression; and anxiety. AR 10. The ALJ found that Mangano’s
impairments did not meet or equal a listed impairment after opining that he suffered from
mild limitations in his activities of daily living; moderate limitations in social functioning;
and moderate limitations in concentration, persistence, or pace. AR 11. The ALJ opined
that Mangano retained the RFC to perform light work but that “he is limited to simple,
routine work with simple instructions and occasional contact with supervisors, cowworkers [sic], and the general public.” AR 12. Thus, although Mangano could not
perform his past work, the ALJ found he was not disabled because he retained the RFC
to work as a housekeeper, laundry worker, and machine tender. AR 18-19.
When determining Mangano’s RFC, the ALJ noted Mangano testified that his
conditions affect his ability to remember, complete tasks, concentrate, and follow
instructions and that depending on the amount of pain he was in, he could pay attention
for 30 to 60 minutes. AR 12-13. The ALJ did not fully credit Mangano’s testimony.
AR 13. The ALJ noted Mangano stated in a function report that “he could follow spoken
instructions if they are short and uncomplicated” and that he could ask questions, which
the ALJ found “consistent” with the RFC determination. AR 13. The ALJ also pointed
to some of the claimant’s activities of daily living as “support . . . that he can perform a
range of unskilled, light work.” AR 13. The ALJ then spent four pages summarizing
“The five-part test is whether the claimant is (1) currently employed and (2) severely impaired;
(3) whether the impairment is or approximates a listed impairment; (4) whether the claimant can
perform past relevant work; and if not, (5) whether the claimant can perform any other kind of
work.” King v. Astrue, 564 F.3d 978, 979 n.2 (8th Cir. 2009); see also 20 C.F.R.
§ 404.1520(a)(4). The burden of persuasion always lies with the claimant to prove disability,
but during the fifth step, the burden of production shifts to the Commissioner to demonstrate
“that the claimant retains the RFC to do other kinds of work and . . . that other work exists.”
Goff v. Barnhart, 421 F.3d 785, 790 (8th Cir. 2005) (quoting Eichelberger v. Barnhart, 390
F.3d 584, 591 (8th Cir. 2004)).
“the relevant medical records,” which the ALJ found “show that the claimant’s overall
treatment history and the objective medical evidence fail to support his allegations.” AR
13-17. With regard to Mangano’s mental limitations, the ALJ concluded:
The claimant’s depression and anxiety required treatment, but not extensive
or frequent inpatient hospitalizations. Although examiners noted at times
he had some signs of significant depression and anxiety, others noted he
had appropriate mood and affect. No objective signs and no treatment
regimen indicates that the claimant cannot perform a range of unskilled
work. The claimant testified at the hearing that he was currently enrolled
full-time in on-line college courses for Criminal Justice.
The ALJ also considered the medical opinions in the record, assigning weight to
each one. The ALJ gave great weight to Dr. Frederick’s opinion “because the evidence
as a whole supports the opinion.” AR 18. The ALJ assigned some weight to Dr. Allen’s
opinion “but note[d] that there is more evidence to support that the claimant has severe
mental impairments.” AR 17. The ALJ gave little weight to Ms. Hiser’s opinion, noting
that she “is not a medical source” and that her “opinion is not supported by the evidence.”
AR 18. Finally, the ALJ “g[ave] weight to opinions of Dr. Morris . . . where consistent
with the [RFC] and medications” but “note[d] that Dr. Morris saw the claimant only four
to five times, and as such, [the ALJ] g[ave] little weight to the opinions.” AR 18. The
ALJ also noted that Dr. Morris’ February 2015 opinion was entitled to little weight as
“[n]o examiner observed signs indicative of the limitations, and the claimant’s own daily
activities are inconsistent with the limitations.” AR 18.
The Appeals Council denied Mangano’s request for review on May 18, 2016. AR
1-3. The ALJ’s decision is thus the final decision of the Commissioner. See 20 C.F.R.
§ 404.981. Mangano filed a timely appeal (Doc. 3), arguing that the ALJ erred in
assigning weight to the various medical opinions in the record evaluating mental RFC
and that the ALJ’s RFC assessment does not reflect her step-three finding of moderate
limitations in concentration, persistence, or pace.
A court must affirm the ALJ’s decision if it “is supported by substantial evidence
in the record as a whole.” Kirby v. Astrue, 500 F.3d 705, 707 (8th Cir. 2007); see also
42 U.S.C. § 405(g). “Substantial evidence is less than a preponderance, but enough that
a reasonable mind might accept it as adequate to support a decision.” Kirby, 500 F.3d
at 707. The court “do[es] not reweigh the evidence or review the factual record de
novo.” Naber v. Shalala, 22 F.3d 186, 188 (8th Cir. 1994). If, after reviewing the
evidence, “it is possible to draw two inconsistent positions from the evidence and one of
those positions represents the [ALJ’s] findings, [the court] must affirm the decision.”
Robinson v. Sullivan, 956 F.2d 836, 838 (8th Cir. 1992).
A. Weight to Medical Opinions
Mangano argues that Dr. Morris’ opinion is entitled to controlling weight. Even
if not, Mangano argues that the ALJ did not give a “good reason” for assigning little
weight to Dr. Morris’ and Ms. Hiser’s opinions.
When determining a claimant’s RFC, the ALJ considers medical opinions from
acceptable medical sources “together with the rest of the relevant evidence.” 20 C.F.R.
§ 404.1527(a)(1), (b) (2017); 20 C.F.R. § 404.1527(a)(2), (b) (2016).4 The ALJ must
also consider opinions from nonacceptable medical sources, such as therapists.
C.F.R. §§ 404.1502, 404.1527(f) (2017); 20 C.F.R. § 404.1513(a) (2016); Social
Security Regulation (SSR) 06-03p, 71 Fed. Reg. 45593, 45595-96 (Aug. 9, 2006). A
treating source’s opinion is entitled to controlling weight if it “is well-supported by
medically acceptable clinical and laboratory diagnostic techniques and is not inconsistent
The Social Security Administration promulgated new rules for evaluating medical evidence
effective March 27, 2017, some of which by their terms apply retroactively. The new and old
rules are substantively the same, and I cite to both throughout this opinion: where the section
or subpart has not changed from the old rule to the new, I use one cite without the year; where
the section or subpart has changed, I cite to both the 2016 and 2017 regulations.
with the other substantial evidence” in the record. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1527(c)(2). If the
ALJ declines to give a treating source opinion controlling weight, then the ALJ evaluates
the opinions in the record (including those from nonacceptable medical sources) using
the following factors:
(1) whether the source has examined the claimant; (2) the length, nature,
and extent of the treatment relationship and the frequency of examination;
(3) the extent to which the relevant evidence, “particularly medical signs
and laboratory findings,” supports the opinion; (4) the extent to which the
opinion is consistent with the record as a whole; (5) whether the opinion is
related to the source’s area of specialty; and (6) other factors “which tend
to support or contradict the opinion.”
Owen v. Astrue, 551 F.3d 792, 800 (8th Cir. 2008) (quoting 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1527(d),
416.927(d) (2008)); see also 20 C.F.R. § 404.1527(c), (f) (2017); SSR 06-03p, 71 Fed.
Reg. at 45595-96. “Whether the ALJ gives the opinion of a treating [source] great or
little weight, the ALJ must give good reasons for doing so.” Reece v. Colvin, 834 F.3d
904, 909 (8th Cir. 2016).
The ALJ gave little weight to Dr. Morris’ July 2013 and February 2015 opinions
because Dr. Morris saw Mangano personally only four to five times. AR 18. The ALJ
also gave little weight to Dr. Morris’ February 2015 opinion based on inconsistencies
with Mangano’s daily activities and because no examiner’s treatment notes “observed
signs indicative of the limitations.” AR 18. The ALJ found Ms. Hiser’s almost identical
opinion unsupported by the evidence and also noted that Ms. Hiser is not an acceptable
medical source under the regulations. AR 18. Mangano argues that the ALJ’s RFC
assessment should have included Dr. Morris’ limitations, supported by Ms. Hiser’s
opinion, that Mangano would miss more than four days of work per month, that he would
be unable to perform simple tasks due to difficulties concentrating and paying attention,
that he would have difficulty getting along with others, and that he would be unable to
maintain consistent attendance. AR 421-25, 639, 1019-22.
Substantial evidence supports the ALJ’s determination that Dr. Morris’ and Ms.
Hiser’s RFC opinions were inconsistent with the treatment notes and with Mangano’s
daily activities. At the time of the hearing, Mangano was a full-time student, taking
college courses online to obtain a criminal justice degree. AR 31, 38. He had failed his
first semester and was on academic probation, however, although a treatment note from
July 2014 reflects that Mangano reported having trouble with his classes due to a bad
internet connection (as opposed to his mental impairments). AR 31, 38, 847. After he
had lost his job as a detective in May 2013, he worked part time as a police officer for a
short time but eventually stopped working due to his impairments. AR 33-34, 148, 179180, 806, 860, 866. He testified that he goes to therapy four times a week (including
group therapy twice a week), and he is able to drive himself. AR 38, 220-21. He
reported in October 2013 having no issues with personal hygiene and grooming but said
in December 2013 that it now took more effort to dress and bathe himself. AR 218, 248.
He is able to go shopping for clothes, groceries, and household items on a weekly basis,
often at Walmart. AR 38, 220. He testified that he answers the phone, watches television
but sometimes nods off, folds laundry when his wife brings him the basket, and cooks
pizza, but does not mow, vacuum, or sweep. AR 37-39. He reported in an October
2013 function report that he can mow using a riding lawn mower for a half hour at a
time, however. AR 219; see also AR 689. An October 2013 function report reflects
that he helps his wife care for the children and takes care of his family’s pet dogs by
feeding them and letting them outside. AR 218. He goes to church once a month (and
does not go more because of the cost of gas). AR 39, 988. Substantial evidence supports
the ALJ’s determination that Mangano’s activities of daily living were inconsistent with
the extreme mental limitations found by Dr. Morris and Ms. Hiser. See, e.g., Hacker
v. Barnhart, 459 F.3d 934, 937-38 (8th Cir. 2006) (substantial evidence supported that
claimant’s ability to “follow TV shows and her son’s sporting events, plan and maintain
three gardens, drive a car, and fly to Denver to babysit her young nieces on a regular
basis” was inconsistent “with a marked limitation of function in concentration,
persistence, or pace”). The ALJ could thus assign their opinions less weight for this
reason. See id. at 938 (holding that the ALJ could “diminish” the opinion of the treating
physician because it was inconsistent with the claimant’s daily activities).
The ALJ noted that although some treatment notes reflect “signs of significant
depression and anxiety, others note . . . appropriate mood and affect.” AR 17. Almost
all the treatment notes for Mangano’s physical ailments reflect normal orientation, mood,
and affect from February 2013 to February 2015. AR 624, 878, 885, 893, 901, 908,
914, 922, 928, 935, 942, 948, 954, 961; but see AR 619 (September 2013 treatment note
for chronic conditions reflects normal orientation, but flat affect and depressed and
anxious mood), 928 (May 2014 treatment note for insomnia reflects overall appearance
is depressed). Treatment notes from CMHC, where Mangano received therapy, reflect
that he was obviously depressed and withdrawn in September 2013. AR 480. He suffered
increased mood swings and depression in February 2014 as he tapered off hydrocodone,
but his mood stabilized when he stopped undergoing hydrocodone withdrawal. AR 784,
Other treatment notes from CMHC reflect that Mangano’s mental health
improved as his sleep improved (discussed further below), and providers noted at various
times that Mangano had a bright affect (AR 832), that he was in good spirits (AR 1014),
and that he had an even affect (AR 982).
Treatment notes reflect that Mangano sometimes has trouble sleeping (resulting in
only two to three hours of sleep a night) due to nightmares he attributes to PTSD from
his work as a police officer. AR 451, 526, 646, 934, 950-55. When he does not get
enough sleep, he has reported nodding off during the day, even during activities; having
difficulty concentrating; and having increased irritability. AR 924, 950. He underwent
a sleep study on April 22, 2014, and was diagnosed with sleep apnea. AR 750-51. He
was given a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine to use while sleeping
(AR 936), which improved his sleep and correlated to better mental health, as reflected
in the CMHC treatment notes.5 AR 936. For example, on May 29, 2014, he reported
that he had a noticeable increase in energy, which he attributed to the use of the CPAP
machine and the resulting increased sleep. AR 817. On June 10, 2014, he reported that
his nightmares had subsided since using the CPAP machine, and his tone was
“conversational” when describing his past traumas. AR 821. On July 1, 2014, he
credited his newfound ability to sleep with his mood stabilization. AR 831. On July 14,
2014, he called to schedule an emergency therapy session due to extreme depression and
noted that he had not used his CPAP machine for two weeks because a piece was broken.
AR 840. The next day, he presented as conversational but somewhat fatigued and
reported that he had fixed his CPAP machine and was feeling much better. AR 841. In
October and December 2014, he reported increased anxiety and sleep issues due to
thunderstorms, which reminded him of things he had seen while working as a police
officer in the aftermath of the Joplin tornado. AR 868, 1004. By the end of December
2014 and into January 2015, he reported sleeping better without experiencing nightmares,
recognized the benefits of the CPAP machine, and noted the absence of depressive
symptoms and accompanying irritability with better sleep. AR 968-69, 972-73, 976,
981-82, 984, 988, 992, 996, 1012.6
The treatment notes from CMHC and elsewhere reflect that Mangano still
experienced some depression and anxiety once he started using the CPAP machine,
triggered by things such as the weather or the stressful holiday season. See AR 852, 896,
899, 1001, 1004, 1011, 1015. But as a whole, the treatment notes show that Mangano’s
mental health was much improved once he started using the CPAP machine regularly.
Substantial evidence supports the ALJ’s determination that the treatment notes are
He was also prescribed trazadone in May 2014 to aid his sleeping, but another doctor
recommended he treat his sleep issues without medication in June 2014, and he stopped taking
it. AR 656, 929.
On two occasions in mid-January, he reported increased irritability despite the absence of
“PTSD” flashbacks, and at one of those appointments, he noted he was having non-traumatic
nightmares. AR 973, 976.
inconsistent with the extreme limitations found by Dr. Morris and Ms. Hiser (which
included extreme limitations in concentration, persistence, or pace and extreme
difficulties in maintaining social functioning). In addition to the evidence cited above, in
September 2014, Mangano expressed interest in volunteering at a local thrift store, noting
that his strength is being a “people person” who makes friends easily and has many close
relationships. AR 861-62. Moreover, Mangano’s function report further reflects that he
said he gets along well with others. AR 224. Mangano’s testimony and function report
also support that his issues with memory and concentration are linked to his sleep troubles
(and thus improved as his sleep improved). AR 48, 224. The ALJ also noted that
Mangano reported being able to follow short and simple instructions well (which is
consistent with the ALJ’s RFC opinion and inconsistent with Dr. Morris’ RFC opinion).
AR 13, 222. The ALJ could appropriately find, based on substantial evidence, that the
overall record (including Mangano’s activities of daily living and CMHC treatment notes)
was inconsistent with the extreme limitations opined by Dr. Morris and Ms. Hiser. Thus,
the ALJ gave a good reason for assigning their opinions little weight. See Davidson v.
Astrue, 501 F.3d 987, 990 (8th Cir. 2007) (holding that the ALJ gave two good reasons
for discounting the opinion of the treating physician, one of which was that the opinion
was “not supported by [the treating physician’s] prior treatment notes); Stormo v.
Barnhart, 377 F.3d 801, 805-06 (8th Cir. 2004) (opinions from treating sources may be
“given less weight if they are inconsistent with the record as a whole”).
Mangano additionally argues that because the ALJ discounted Dr. Morris’ and
Ms. Hiser’s opinions, substantial evidence does not support the ALJ’s resulting RFC
determination. Relatedly, Mangano argues that the ALJ could not have given more
weight to the state agency consultants’ opinion and to the one-time consultative
examiner’s opinion than to Mangano’s treating psychologist’s opinion.
The ALJ gave great weight to the RFC opinion of Dr. Frederick, a psychologist
who examined Mangano once, and some weight to the RFC opinion of Dr. Allen, the
state agency psychological consultant. AR 17-18. Dr. Frederick found Mangano less
limited than the ALJ: while the ALJ found Mangano would be able to perform only
simple, routine work with simple instructions and occasional contact with others, Dr.
Frederick opined that Mangano would be able to perform complex work tasks. AR 633.
The ALJ also explicitly noted that the evidence supported more limitations than found by
Dr. Allen, who found that Mangano suffered from no severe mental impairments. AR
When the ALJ gives a good reason for assigning the treating psychologist’s opinion
little weight, he may assign more weight to the opinion of a one-time consultative
examiner like Dr. Frederick. See, e.g., Travis v. Astrue, 477 F.3d 1037, 1042 (8th Cir.
2007). Here, the ALJ considered all the medical opinions and conducted an independent
review of the medical evidence to determine Mangano’s RFC. Substantial evidence
(including some medical evidence) supports the ALJ’s RFC determination.
Krogmeier v. Barnhart, 294 F.3d 1019, 1023-24 (8th Cir. 2002) (holding that substantial
evidence supported the ALJ’s RFC determination when he rejected the treating source’s
RFC opinion and relied on the opinion of a consulting physician and an independent
review of the medical evidence, including the treating physician’s treatment notes).
B. Moderate Limitations in Concentration, Persistence, or Pace
During step three of the disability determination, the ALJ opined that Mangano
suffered from moderate limitations in concentration, persistence, or pace.
Mangano argues that the ALJ erred in determining RFC because the ALJ’s RFC
assessment, which limits Mangano to “simple, routine work with simple instructions,”
does not adequately reflect moderate limitations in concentration, persistence, or pace.
Mangano relies on Newton v. Charter, 92 F.3d 688 (8th Cir. 1996). In that case,
the ALJ found that the claimant had borderline intellectual functioning and specifically
noted he “‘often’ had deficiencies of concentration, or persistence or pace.” Id. at 691,
695. “[T]here [wa]s no dispute in the medical evidence that [the claimant] suffer[ed]
from [such] deficiencies.” Id. at 691. The hypothetical the ALJ posed to the vocational
expert did not adequately capture these deficiencies, however, by describing a person
with “a capacity for simple jobs” and “an inability to perform highly skilled or technical
work.” Id. at 694-95.
Newton is distinguishable. A moderate limitation in concentration, persistence, or
pace in step three (as opposed to deficiencies experienced “often”) may not result in
significant functional limitation that needs to be incorporated into the RFC. See Hosch
v. Colvin, No. C15-2014-CJW, 2016 WL 1261229, at *6 (N.D. Iowa Mar. 30, 2016)
(“[M]oderate limitations in the ‘paragraph B’ criteria [in step three] do not necessarily
require mental limitations in the RFC assessment.”); see also Davidson, 578 F.3d at 845
(noting that treating physicians did not find “any significant work-related limitations”
when they found only mild and moderate work-related limitations and no marked or
extreme limitations); but see Atkinson v. Colvin, No. 3:15-CV-05055-BCW, 2016 WL
1464625, at *2 (W.D. Mo. Apr. 14, 2016) (holding that when ALJ finds claimant has
moderate limitations in pace at step three, the ALJ must “account for [claimant’s]
limitations in pace” in his RFC assessment or, at a minimum, “explain why [claimant’s]
moderate limitations in pace did not translate into a limitation in [claimant’s] RFC”).
Moreover, even if Newton mandated the ALJ to include limitations in her RFC
assessment related to her step-three finding of moderate limitations in concentration,
persistence, or pace, limiting Mangano to “simple, routine work with simple
instructions” is sufficient. The Eighth Circuit has recognized that the RFC assessment
“need not contain much more than [that] at issue in Newton” to sufficiently capture a
claimant’s limitations in concentration, persistence, or pace. Scott v. Berryhill, 855 F.3d
853, 857 (8th Cir. 2017). For example, the Eighth Circuit has held sufficient under
Newton an RFC assessment that limited the claimant to “simple, repetitive, routine
tasks.” Howard v. Massanari, 255 F.3d 577, 582 (8th Cir. 2001). Here, the ALJ’s RFC
assessment adequately accounted for the ALJ’s step-three finding of moderate limitations
in concentration, persistence, or pace. See Henderson v. Berryhill, No. 4:15 CV 1624
JMB, 2017 WL 747611, at *8, *10 (E.D. Mo. Feb. 27, 2017) (rejecting claimant’s
argument that “limiting [p]laintiff to simple, routine work . . . does not sufficiently
account for [claimant’s] moderate limitations in concentration, persistence, or pace”).
The ALJ did not err in determining Mangano’s RFC.
I find the ALJ properly weighed the medical opinions and made a proper RFC
determination based on limitations that are supported by the record, and therefore the
ALJ’s decision is supported by substantial evidence. The ALJ’s decision is affirmed.
Judgment shall enter in favor of the Commissioner and against Magano.
IT IS SO ORDERED this 28th day of September, 2017.
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?