Dyson v. Social Security Administration
ORDER AND REASONS ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS 16 . Accordingly, defendant's cross-motion for summary judgment is GRANTED. Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment is DENIED and plaintiff's complaint is DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. Signed by Judge Sarah S. Vance on 8/30/2017.(cg)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
SECTION “R” (3)
ORDER AND REASONS
The Court, having reviewed de novo the complaint, 1 plaintiff’s motion
for summary judgment,2 defendant’s cross-motion for summary judgment, 3
the record, the applicable law, the Magistrate Judge’s Report and
Recommendation,4 and plaintiff’s objections,5 hereby approves the
Magistrate Judge’s Report and Recommendation and adopts it as its opinion.
Plaintiff has three objections to the Report and Recommendation.
First, plaintiff argues that the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) erred in
according little weight to the opinion of plaintiff’s treating psychiatrist, Dr.
Dr. Jackson completed two check-the-box mental capacity
assessments indicating that plaintiff has moderate to marked limitations in
R. Doc. 1.
R. Doc. 12.
R. Doc. 15.
R. Doc. 16.
R. Doc. 17.
R. Doc. 17-1 at 1-9.
understanding, remembering, and carrying out simple instructions and
marked to extreme limitations in social interaction, concentration,
persistence, and adaption.7 The ALJ concluded that these limitations were
not consistent with Dr. Jackson’s own treatment notes reflecting the
plaintiff’s intact thought processes and cooperative behavior, were
contradicted by and outweighed by the opinion of examining physician Dr.
Arseneau, and were inconsistent with other evidence in the record. 8
Plaintiff argues that Dr. Jackson’s opinion was supported by treatment
notes indicating flashbacks, paranoid delusions, intrusive thoughts,
nightmares, an up-and-down mood, and only fair judgment and insight. 9
But these symptoms do not directly relate to plaintiff’s concentration and
persistence or his ability to understand, remember, and carry out
instructions. Moreover, the ALJ took into account plaintiff’s psychiatric
concerns in concluding that he suffers from a severe impairment of anxiety
disorder that somewhat limits his ability to engage in direct contact with
others.10 The Magistrate Judge properly concluded that the ALJ had good
cause to accord little weight to Dr. Jackson’s opinion because it was
R. Doc. 10-2 at 28; R. Doc. 10-7 at 149; R. Doc 10-9 at 156.
R. Doc. 10-2 at 28.
R. Doc. 17-1 at 2.
R. Doc. 10-2 at 20, 25.
conclusory and unsupported by evidence.11 See Newton v. Apfel, 209 F.3d
448, 456 (5th Cir. 2000); Leggett v. Chater, 67 F.3d 558, 566 (5th Cir. 1995).
Second, plaintiff contends that the ALJ erred in giving limited weight
to the opinion of his treating physician Dr. Gaines. 12 The ALJ found that
some of the exertional limitations identified by Dr. Gaines were inconsistent
with the objective evidence, including examination records indicating
plaintiff’s minimally restricted range of motion and plaintiff’s ability to walk
without assistance.13 The ALJ pointed to specific medical evidence in the
record, including the findings of examining physician Dr. Bienert, to support
the conclusion that plaintiff does not experience all the exertional limitations
identified by Dr. Gaines.14
The Magistrate Judge correctly found that
substantial evidence supports the weight that the ALJ accorded to the
opinions of both Dr. Jackson and Dr. Gaines.15
Finally, plaintiff objects to the ALJ’s credibility findings.16 The ALJ
concluded that plaintiff’s statements about the intensity and persistence of
his symptoms were not entirely credible because, among other reasons,
R. Doc. 16 at 6-8.
R. Doc. 17-1.
R. Doc. 10-2 at 27.
Id. at 21-23, 26-27; see also R. Doc. 10-12 at 1-9.
R. Doc. 16 at 10.
R. Doc. 17-1 at 9.
plaintiff’s account was inconsistent with his mild clinical findings and his
minimal or delayed treatment.17
The ALJ also noted that plaintiff’s
credibility was diminished by his use of a cane during consultative
examinations despite his observed ability to walk without assistance.18
Contrary to plaintiff’s contentions, 19 the ALJ did not base her credibility
finding only or primarily on plaintiff’s ability to engage in daily activities.
The ALJ had the “benefit of perceiving first-hand the claimant at the hearing”
and was best positioned to make credibility determinations.
Shalala, 27 F.3d 160, 165, 164 n.18 (5th Cir. 1994). The Court finds that the
ALJ’s denial of plaintiff’s claim was supported by substantial evidence.
Accordingly, defendant’s cross-motion for summary judgment is
Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment is DENIED and
plaintiff’s complaint is DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
New Orleans, Louisiana, this _____ day of August, 2017.
SARAH S. VANCE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
R. Doc. 10-2 at 21-24.
Id. at 24.
R. Doc. 17-1 at 9.
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?