Durham v. Berryhill
JUDGMENT in favor of Marion June Durham against Nancy Berryhill. CASE CLOSED. Signed by Magistrate Judge Jane M. Virden on 12/5/17. (ncb)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF MISSISSIPPI
MARION JUNE DURHAM
OF SOCIAL SECURITY
This cause is before the court on Plaintiff’s complaint for judicial review of an
unfavorable final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration denying
claims for a period of disability and disability insurance benefits and supplemental security
income. 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), with any appeal to the Court of Appeals for
the Fifth Circuit. The court, having reviewed the administrative record, the briefs of the
parties, and the applicable law, and having heard oral argument, finds as follows:
Consistent with the court’s ruling from the bench during a hearing held today, the court
finds the ALJ’s residual functional capacity (“RFC”) determination and, consequently, the
finding of not disabled are not supported by substantial evidence in the record.
Specifically, the ALJ failed to give a good reason for rejecting Dr. Thomas Panico’s
2015 medical source opinion that the claimant had a “limited ability” to handle or grasp above
her head with the left upper extremity. Indeed, each medical opinion the ALJ considered
included some limitation on the claimant’s ability to handle with her left upper extremity.
Ultimately, because the issue of whether there are any jobs in the national economy the
claimant could perform appears to hinge upon the degree of any handling limitation the
claimant experienced with regard to her left upper extremity, the ALJ must re-evaluate the case
in this very limited respect.
On remand, the ALJ must re-contact Dr. Panico for the purpose of having him clarify,
in the form of a supplemental medical source statement, the degree (in terms of frequency and
direction) of the claimant’s handling limitation with respect to her left upper extremity. If the
ALJ is unable, for good cause, to obtain such supplemental medical source statement from Dr.
Panico–within a reasonable time frame–the ALJ must enlist the assistance of a medical advisor
who must review the entirety of the medical evidence of record and render an assessment only
with respect to the degree (in terms of frequency and direction) of the handling limitation the
claimant experienced with respect to her left upper extremity during the relevant period. The
ALJ must, then, add the appropriate handling restriction to the RFC as it currently stands in the
record. Next, the ALJ must obtain supplemental vocational expert evidence on the issue of
whether any jobs exist in the national economy that the claimant can perform, considering the
new RFC submitted by the ALJ. The ALJ may conduct any additional proceedings not
inconsistent with this order.
IT IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that this case is REVERSED
AND REMANDED for further proceedings as set out above.
This, the 5th day of December, 2017.
/s/ Jane M. Virden
U. S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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