Vanover v. Commissioner of Social Security
OPINION AND ORDER granting in part and denying in part 20 Plaintiff's Motion to Alter Judgment. The Opinion and Order 18 is amended to delete the summary of the medical evidence contained in that Order and to substitute the summary set out in Section III of this Order. The motion is otherwise denied. Signed by Magistrate Judge Terence P. Kemp on 6/30/2017. (er)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO
William Harold Vanover,
Commissioner of Social Security,
Case No. 2:16-cv-324
Magistrate Judge Kemp
OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiff, William Harold Vanover, filed this action seeking
review of a decision of the Commissioner of Social Security
denying his applications for disability insurance benefits and
supplemental security income.
After the Court issued an Opinion
and Order affirming the Commissioner’s decision (Doc. 18),
Plaintiff filed a motion to alter judgment.
For the following
reasons, the motion is granted in part and denied in part.
The Erroneous Summary of Medical Evidence
In his motion, Plaintiff correctly points out that the
summary of the medical evidence recited in Doc. 18 does not
pertain to his case.
That was an error on the part of the Court.
That section of the Opinion and Order is therefore deleted.
The Pertinent Medical Evidence
Based on the claims asserted in the statement of errors, the
most pertinent medical evidence is the report of Dr. Ayesu-Offei,
the consultative physical examiner.
his evaluation on November 20, 2013.
Dr. Ayesu-Offei conducted
Plaintiff reported a
history of depression and chronic low back pain.
reported some shortness of breath, but no treatment for that
On examination, Plaintiff walked with a normal gait. He
showed a slight amount of discomfort on deep palpation of the
He could squat about one-third of the way
down before complaining of pain.
Straight leg raising was
negative, but Plaintiff complained of pain with full flexion.
The assessment was chronic low back pain and depression, among
Dr. Ayesu-Offei said that Plaintiff “should be
able to maintain sedentary activity.”
Dr. Rudy did a similar evaluation on February 12, 2014.
noted that Plaintiff did exhibit some low back pain on testing
and that his primary problem was chronic lung disease, which
would preclude him from carrying more than 20 pounds for more
than 25 yards.
Later, Plaintiff exhibited some
reduced ability to walk whic was suggestive of exercise
The state agency physicians in this case who expressed
opinions as to Plaintiff’s physical capacity were Drs. Gardner
Both thought that Plaintiff could do a reduced
range of medium work.
As noted in the prior Opinion and Order,
the ALJ found him capable of a reduced range of light work.
Motion to Reconsider
In the argument portion of his motion, Plaintiff reiterates
his assertion that the ALJ did not have a substantial basis for
rejecting Dr. Ayesu-Offei’s opinion that Plaintiff was limited to
He contends that the Court committed a clear
error of law by misunderstanding this argument and concluding
that the ALJ was under no obligation to accept verbatim any
particular medical source statement about residual functional
In response, the Commissioner argues that the ALJ’s
decision was reasonable and supported by the evidence, including
the fact that Dr. Ayesu-Offei’s opinion did not specifically
limit Plaintiff to sedentary work and that the state agency
physicians reached a different conclusion, which the ALJ was
entitled to consider in fashioning a residual functional capacity
After considering Plaintiff’s argument, the Court is not
persuaded that it made a legal error in its prior Opinion and
Order. The question addressed there - which is the key question
in this case- is whether the ALJ had a substantial basis for
discounting Dr. Ayesu-Offei’s opinion, to the extent that the
opinion intended to limit Plaintiff to sedentary work. The Court
will not repeat its discussion here, other than to say that after
considering this precise question, it determined that a
reasonable person could have reached that conclusion based on
this record, which contained few objective findings that
suggested such a restriction on Plaintiff’s physical abilities.
The Court therefore declines the invitation to reach a different
Based on the above discussion, Plaintiff’s motion to alter
or amend judgment (Doc. 20) is granted in part and denied in
The Opinion and Order (Doc. 18) is amended to delete the
summary of the medical evidence contained in that Order and to
substitute the summary set out in Section III of this Order.
motion is otherwise denied.
/s/ Terence P. Kemp
United States Magistrate Judge
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