Jones v. Commissioner for Social Security Administration
OPINION AND ORDER: The Court OVERRULES Plaintiff's Statement of Errors and AFFIRMS the Commissioner's decision. Signed by Magistrate Judge Kimberly A. Jolson on 11/15/2017. (ew)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO
JAMES B. JONES,
Civil Action 2:17-cv-233
Magistrate Judge Jolson
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL
OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiff, James B. Jones, brings this action under 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3) for
review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security (“Commissioner”) denying his
application for a period of disability, disability insurance benefits (“DIB”), and supplemental
security income (“SSI”).
For the reasons that follow, the Court OVERRULES Plaintiff’s
Statement of Errors and AFFIRMS the Commissioner’s decision.
A. Prior Proceedings
Plaintiff filed for a period of disability, DIB, and SSI on June 8, 2015. (Tr. 16, PAGEID
#: 53). In both applications, Plaintiff alleged a disability onset date of May 27, 2015. (Id.). His
claims were denied initially on September 15, 2016, and upon reconsideration on January 8,
2015. (Id.). Administrative Law Judge Anne Shaughnessy (the “ALJ”) held a hearing by video
teleconference on September 15, 2016 (id.), after which she denied benefits in a written decision
on December 12, 2016. (Tr. 16–25, PAGEID #: 53–62). Plaintiff sought review of the ALJ’s
decision, but the decision became final when the Appeals Council denied review on March 1,
2017. (Doc. 16 at 1–2).
Plaintiff filed this case on March 21, 2017 (Doc. 1), and the Commissioner filed the
administrative record on May 30, 2017 (Doc. 11). Plaintiff filed a Statement of Specific Errors
on August 11, 2017 (Doc. 14), the Commissioner responded on September 25, 2017 (Doc. 16),
and Plaintiff did not file a Reply.
B. Relevant Testimony at the Administrative Hearing
1. Plaintiff’s Testimony
Plaintiff was born on December 27, 1974, and was 40 years old on the alleged disability
onset date. (Tr. 23, PAGEID #: 60). At the hearing, Plaintiff testified that he is 6’4” tall and
weighs 225 pounds and has a high school education. (Tr. 35, PAGEID #: 72). He lives alone,
maintains a driver’s license, and drives two to three times per week “if necessary.” (Id.).
Plaintiff worked full-time for thirteen years at National Freight Interactive Logistics in New
Concord, Ohio. (Tr. 36, 46, PAGEID #: 73, 83). For ten years, he was “repack floor lead,”
making “Colgate Palmolive displays for local distributors all across the country….” (Id.).
Thereafter, he was transferred to the position of “material handler,” which he described as
“shipping/receiving running equipment, and loading and unloading trucks.” (Id.). Plaintiff
served as a supervisor for “[u]p to 100 [people] at a time” while at National Freight Interactive
Logistics. (Tr. 51, PAGEID #: 88).
Plaintiff suffered a back injury that led to a lower laminectomy in 2006, after he which he
returned to work. (Tr. 36, PAGEID #: 73). Plaintiff explained that the associated pain returned
at work approximately ten years later, in 2015, when he had to pick up “a bunch of product” that
had spilled in a truck “and put it on pallets.” (Id.). That injury led to a second laminectomy in
August 2015. (Tr. 38, PAGEID #: 75).
Plaintiff also testified that, at fourteen years old, he broke his right arm “in 181 places,”
so it is “full of steel, screws, fake tendons and bands….” (Tr. 43, PAGEID #: 80). He indicated
that there is “no bone” in his arm, which has “a 13 inch scar that [is] all metal.” (Id.). Plaintiff
testified that the range of motion in his arm recently has been “getting shorter and shorter.” (Id.).
Plaintiff stated that he is in pain “[e]very second of his life,” which is exacerbated by
“[w]alking more than 10 to 15 minutes, sitting still in one spot without readjusting [him]self,
[and] long car rides.” (Tr. 40, PAGEID #: 77). Plaintiff testified that he “can sit 10 to 15…
minutes without taking medication,” and he constantly needs to readjust. (Tr. 41, PAGEID #:
78). Plaintiff takes a number of medications, which he explained “make[ ] it very difficult [for
him] to function properly.” (Tr. 37–38, PAGEID #: 74–75). Plaintiff reported sleeping very
little due to the constant pain. (Tr. 42, PAGEID #: 79).
Plaintiff stated that he is able to lift two to five pounds (up to ten pounds) and uses a
cane. (Tr. 39, 40, PAGEID #: 76, 78). Although Plaintiff sometimes walks without a cane at
home, he always uses it to climb the stairs. (Tr. 46, PAGEID #: 83). Plaintiff explained that he
is able to care for his personal needs using a shower chair and toilet seat extender. (Tr. 42,
PAGEID #: 79).
Plaintiff testified that a friend visits him daily to help with chores, such as washing
dishes, taking the garbage out, and driving places that are more than twenty-minutes away. (Tr.
38–39, PAGEID #: 75–76). A friend also takes him grocery shopping. (Tr. 44, PAGEID #: 81).
Plaintiff explained that, on the rare occasion he grocery shops alone, he “drives a cart” to
navigate the store. (Tr. 44–45, PAGEID #: 81–82). Plaintiff used to cook food on the grill, but
now opts for food he can “throw … in the microwave.” (Tr. 43, PAGEID #: 80).
2. The Vocational Expert’s Testimony
Vocational Expert Mark Pinti (the “VE”) also testified at the hearing. (Tr. 63, PAGEID
#: 100). The VE stated that Plaintiff’s past jobs required medium and heavy levels of exertion
and were semi-skilled.
(Tr. 64, PAGEID #: 101).
The ALJ asked the VE to consider a
hypothetical individual with Plaintiff’s past jobs who was limited to light work, can stand for two
hours in an eight-hour workday, cannot climb ladders or scaffolds, can occasionally stoop, kneel,
crouch, crawl, and can reach overhead with the right upper extremity. (Tr. 64, PAGEID #: 101).
The VE testified that the individual would be unable to perform past work but could perform
other work, such as assembler, inspector, document repairer, sorter, and order clerk. (Tr. 64–65,
PAGEID #: 101–102). The VE likewise testified that if pushing and pulling with the right upper
extremity were limited to occasionally, the hypothetical individual could still perform those jobs.
(Tr. 65, PAGEID #: 102). In identifying these jobs, the VE “reduce[d] the exertional maximum
to sedentary because of the standing and walking limitations….” (Tr. 64, PAGEID #: 101).
C. Relevant Medical Background
1. Medical Records
Plaintiff’s medical records reflect that he underwent surgery on his right elbow in 1986
(Tr. 554, PAGEID #: 591), and a lumbar laminectomy at L3-4 and/or L4-5 on the right side in
2006 (Tr. 429, PAGEID #: 466).
Dr. Richard P. Schlenk examined Plaintiff at the Cleveland Clinic on June 23, 2015. (Tr.
403, PAGEID #: 440). Dr. Schlenk observed Plaintiff walking with a normal gait and found his
MRI results revealed “no severe canal or foraminal stenosis.” (Id.). Dr. Schlenk opined that
surgical intervention was unnecessary, instead concluding that Plaintiff “likely has chronic pain
syndrome and should be referred to spine medicine specialists for further management.” (Id.).
Neurosurgeon Michael B. Shannon made different findings just one month later, in July
2015. Dr. Shannon observed Plaintiff walked with an antalgic gait favoring the right leg and
found his MRI results showed foraminal stenosis at the L3-L4 level on the right side. (Tr. 439,
PAGEID #: 476).
Dr. Shannon opined that surgery was warranted and recommended a
decompressive laminectomy. (Id.; but see Tr. 497, PAGEID #: 534 (noting that Dr. Shannon’s
first recommended Coflex, but switched to laminectomy after insurance denied the request)).
Dr. Shannon performed the surgery on August 12, 2015. (Tr. 440–41, PAGEID #: 477–
78). Following surgery, Dr. Shannon reported that Plaintiff had “severe, severe lumbar spinal
stenosis at L3-L4 with compression into the dura, almost perforation at the L3-L4 level.” (Tr.
495, PAGEID #: 532). At a follow-up appointment with Dr. Shannon on December 3, 2015,
Plaintiff had “fairly good range of motion, no paraspinal muscle spasm, good strength and
reflexes.” (Tr. 553, PAGEID #: 590). Plaintiff reported residual back pain, and Dr. Shannon
advised him “to walk and exercise.” (Id.). Dr. Shannon’s notes from Plaintiff’s follow-up visit
on February 1, 2016, describe Plaintiff as “doing well” and having “no real complaints.” (Tr.
552, PAGEID #: 589). Plaintiff demonstrated good strength, sensation, and reflexes, although
again mentioned “some residual back pain.” (Id.).
2. Opinion Evidence
Dr. Stephen Stansbury was Plaintiff’s treating physician from February 27, 1984 through
June 2, 2015. In June 2015, Dr. Stansbury opined that Plaintiff “is able to work.” (Tr. 293–95,
PAGEID #: 330–32).
Dr. Mark Weaver, a consultative examiner, examined Plaintiff on July 20, 2015. (Tr.
407–15, PAGEID #: 444–52). Dr. Weaver noted that the examination was prior to surgery that
was “pending for [Plaintiff’s] lower back.” (Tr. 407, PAGEID #: 444). Dr. Weaver found that
Plaintiff “walked with a stiffened gait and a right limp” and “us[ed] a cane on the right.” (Tr.
408, PAGEID #: 445). He likewise noted that Plaintiff “was only able to sit or stand for about
10 minutes at a time in the exam” and was “complaining of low back pain.” (Id.).
Concerning Plaintiff’s elbow, Dr. Weaver observed that the “7-inch surgery scar” was
“well-healed,” although he found “tenderness and crepitus to palpation.” (Tr. 409, PAGEID #:
446). As to Plaintiff’s back, Dr. Weaver found “constant, moderate, involuntary spasm to
inspection and palpation of the lumbar paravertebral muscles, right side greater than the left, and
also in the sciatic notch area.” (Tr. 410, PAGEID #: 447). Dr. Weaver determined that Plaintiff
had restricted motion in the dorsolumbar spine. (Id.). Dr. Weaver reviewed, inter alia, the “MRI
scan dated 6-5-15 showing mild foraminal stenosis at L3-4 and L4-5 and small annular tear at
Dr. Weaver made two provisional diagnoses. (Tr. 411, PAGEID #: 448). First, Dr.
Weaver found “[p]robable chronic right elbow pain and stiffness post compound fracture injury
age 14 with reconstruction surgeries by medical history.” (Id.). Second, Dr. Weaver found
“[p]robable chronic low back and radicular right lower extremity pain, multi-level disc disease
by medical history, mild foraminal stenosis at L3-L4 and L4-L5 with small annular tear at L4-L5
by MRI scan.” (Id.). Dr. Weaver’s assessment of Plaintiff’s ability to perform physical activity
was as follows:
In view of his right upper extremity problems, low back and radicular right lower
extremity problems with obligatory use of [a] cane for ambulation assistance,
compounded by his problem of being overweight (BMI equals 30.4), [Plaintiff]
would probably be limited in the performance of physical activities involving
sustained sitting, standing, walking, reaching with right upper extremity, lifting,
carrying, climbing, squatting, kneeling, and travel. He would probably be able to
perform physical activities involving handling objects, speaking, hearing, and
On August 17, 2015, Dr. Teresita Cruz, a state agency medical consultant, found that
Plaintiff was able to lift and carry 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently. (Tr. 79,
PAGEID #: 116). She determined that Plaintiff could stand and/or walk for 2 hours and sit for 6
hours in an 8-hour workday. (Id.). Dr. Cruz found Plaintiff was limited his ability to push
and/or pull with his upper right extremity and has postural limitations. (Id.).
Dr. Cruz opined that Plaintiff had an unlimited ability to climb ramps/stairs and balance,
but should only occasionally stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl. (Tr. 79–80, PAGEID #: 116–17).
She found that Plaintiff should never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds due to his back and elbow
conditions. (Id.). Plaintiff’s sole manipulative limitation, according to Dr. Cruz, was his limited
ability to reach overhead on the right. (Tr. 80, PAGEID #: 117). Dr. Cruz determined that
Plaintiff was not disabled, offering the following explanation:
You said you are disabled due to right elbow, multiple breaks, compound
fractures, severe anxiety, heart palpitations, back surgery, lower laminectomy,
arthritis, back sprains, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, insomnia, and sleep
apnea. The medical evidence shows that you do have physical impairments that
affect your ability to work. Your ability to lift and carry objects is limited, due to
pain, discomfort, and loss of mobility. However, you do have good enough
strength and movement to sit, stand, walk, and move about to complete some
types of work. You may also experience some mental problems, [but] you are
still able to think, communicate, act in your own interest and pursue your usual
activities. We do not have sufficient vocational information to determine if you
can perform any of your past relevant work. However, based on the evidence in
the file, we have determined you can adjust to other work. Therefore based on
social security guidelines we are not able to find you disabled.
(Tr. 82, PAGEID #: 119).
Dr. Leon Hughes, also a state agency consultant, affirmed Dr. Cruz’s assessment on
January 1, 2016. (Tr. 97–109, PAGEID #: 134–46). Dr. Hughes also opined that Dr. Weaver’s
more restrictive opinion was “less persuasive” because it was “without substantial support from
other evidence of record.” (Tr. 107, PAGEID #: 144).
D. The ALJ’s Decision
The ALJ found that Plaintiff met the insured status requirements of the Social Security
Act through December 31, 2020, and has not been engaged in substantial gainful activity since
his alleged onset date of May 27, 2015. (Tr. 18, PAGEID #: 55). Although the ALJ found
Plaintiff has severe impairments of spinal stenosis and a remote history of fracture of the right
elbow, she determined that Plaintiff does not have an impairment or combination of impairments
that meets or equals a listed impairment. (Tr. 18–20, PAGEID #: 55–57).
The ALJ found that Plaintiff retains the residual functional capacity (“RFC”):
to perform light work as defined in 20 C.F.R. 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b) except
that he is further limited to standing and/or walking for 2 hours in an 8-hour
workday; never climbing ladders, ropes, or scaffolds; occasionally stooping,
kneeling, crouching and crawling; occasionally reaching overhead with the right
arm; and occasionally pushing and pulling with the right upper extremity.
(Tr. 21, PAGEID #: 58). The ALJ acknowledged that Plaintiff takes 6 Percocet per day and uses
a cane on a daily basis. (Id. (citing Exhibit 14E)). The ALJ likewise recognized Plaintiff’s
testimony that, inter alia, “the pain is constant and prevents him from walking, standing, or
sitting more than 15 minutes, or lifting more than 5 pounds.” (Id.).
The ALJ found that, while Plaintiff’s impairments could reasonably be expected to cause
the alleged symptoms, Plaintiff’s statements about the intensity, persistence, and limiting effects
of these symptoms “are not entirely consistent with the medical evidence and other evidence in
the record….” (Tr. 22, PAGEID #: 59). The ALJ noted that Plaintiff continued to work for ten
years at a medium to heavy level of exertion despite his history of elbow surgery in 1986 and
back surgery in 2005. (Id.). The ALJ also found that the progress notes after Plaintiff’s second
back surgery “show[ed] only a reduced range of motion and ongoing pain complaints, but
otherwise … support a finding that the 2015 laminectomy was completely successful.” (Id.).
As to the opinion evidence, the ALJ disregarded the opinion of Dr. Stansbury, Plaintiff’s
treating physician, that Plaintiff is able to work because it “was not a medical opinion, but rather
an opinion on an issue reserved for the Commissioner.” (Tr. 22, PAGEID #: 59). In contrast,
the ALJ gave “great weight” the opinion of Dr. Weaver, the consultative examiner, who opined
that Plaintiff “would probably” be limited in activities which involve “sustained sitting, standing,
walking, reaching with the right upper extremity, lifting, carrying, climbing, squatting, kneeling,
and traveling.” (Id.). The ALJ likewise noted Dr. Weaver’s opinion that Plaintiff “probably
would” be able to perform activities that involve handling objects. (Tr. 22–23, PAGEID #: 59–
Despite giving Dr. Weaver’s opinion “great weight,” the ALJ noted the opinion was
offered one month prior to Plaintiff’s second laminectomy so it did not reflect Plaintiff’s postintervention functionality. (Tr. 23, PAGEID #: 60). She also found Dr. Weaver’s opinion to be
“vague” and “equivocal” to the extent that it determined Plaintiff would “probably” be restricted.
(Id.). Finally, the ALJ faulted Dr. Weaver’s opinion for limiting Plaintiff’s ability to sustain all
functional activities, as opposed to offering specific vocational restrictions. (Id.).
The ALJ also gave “great weight” to the opinions of the state agency medical consultants,
Dr. Cruz and Dr. Hughes. (Tr. 23, PAGEID #: 60). The ALJ noted that Dr. Cruz and Dr.
Hughes offered the only opinions that considered Plaintiff’s condition following his August 2015
surgery. (Id.; see also id. (noting that the evidence “after Dr. Hughes’ assessment continued to
show improvement,” so Plaintiff “is not more limited than determined therein”)). In conclusion,
the ALJ stated that Plaintiff’s RFC “is supported by the opinions of Drs. Cruz and Hughes and
the progress notes showing that the August 2015 surgery was generally successful with good
clinical signs.” (Id.).
The ALJ found Plaintiff was a younger individual on the alleged onset date but
subsequently changed to closely approaching advanced age. (Id.). She also found Plaintiff
unable to perform any past relevant work. (Id.). Based on the foregoing, the ALJ determined
that Plaintiff has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from May 27,
2015 through her decision on December 12, 2016. (Tr. 25, PAGEID #: 62).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
The Court’s review “is limited to determining whether the Commissioner’s decision is
supported by substantial evidence and was made pursuant to proper legal standards.” Winn v.
Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 615 F. App’x 315, 320 (6th Cir. 2015); see 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
“[S]ubstantial evidence is defined as ‘more than a scintilla of evidence but less than a
preponderance; it is such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to
support a conclusion.’” Rogers v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 486 F.3d 234, 241 (6th Cir. 2007)
(quoting Cutlip v. Sec’y of HHS, 25 F.3d 284, 286 (6th Cir. 1994)). “Therefore, if substantial
evidence supports the ALJ’s decision, this Court defers to that finding ‘even if there is
substantial evidence in the record that would have supported an opposite conclusion.’” Blakley
v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 581 F.3d 399, 406 (6th Cir. 2009) (quoting Key v. Callahan, 109 F.3d
270, 273 (6th Cir. 1997)).
Plaintiff alleges the following in his Statement of Errors: (1) there is no substantial
evidence to support a finding that he can engage in substantial gainful activity; (2) the ALJ erred
in finding that his testimony was not credible when it was consistent with the medical evidence
of record; (3) the ALJ erred in finding that he retained the RFC to perform light work; (4) the
ALJ erred in according more weight to the opinions of non-examining state agency consultants
over the opinion of the consultative examiner; (5) the ALJ erred in failing to seek clarification
from the consultative examiner; and the ALJ erred in failing to properly evaluate the assertions
of disabling pain. (Doc. 14 at 1–2).
The Court first examines Plaintiff’s arguments concerning the ALJ’s evaluation of his
credibility and assertions of disabling pain. (Doc. 14 at 1–2). It is for the ALJ, and not the
reviewing court, to evaluate Plaintiff’s credibility. Rogers v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 486 F.3d 234,
247 (6th Cir. 2007) (citing references omitted). However, the ALJ’s credibility determination
must find support in the record. Id.
Here, the ALJ noted that Plaintiff’s “medically determinable impairments could
reasonably be expected to cause the alleged symptoms,” but also found that Plaintiff’s
“statements concerning the intensity, persistence and limiting effects of these symptoms are not
entirely credible.” (Tr. 21–22, PAGEID #: 58–59). 1 Relying on Plaintiff’s medical records, the
ALJ found that, aside from a reduced range of motion and ongoing pain complaints, progress
notes following the surgery show that it was “completely successful.” (Id.)
Consistent with the ALJ’s decision, the record from Plaintiff’s follow-up appointment
with Dr. Shannon on December 3, 2015, demonstrates that Plaintiff had “fairly good range of
motion, no paraspinal muscle spasm, good strength and reflexes.” (Tr. 553, PAGEID #: 590).
Although Plaintiff reported residual back pain, Dr. Shannon advised him “to walk and exercise.”
(Id.). Dr. Shannon’s notes from another follow-up visit on February 1, 2016, describe Plaintiff
as “doing well” and having “no real complaints.” (Tr. 552, PAGEID #: 589). That day, Plaintiff
demonstrated good strength, sensation, and reflexes, although he mentioned “some residual back
pain.” (Id.). The ALJ also relied on the opinions of state agency consultants Dr. Cruz and Dr.
Under SSR 16-3p, which was effective on March 28, 2016, an ALJ must focus on consistency of an individual’s
statements about the intensity, persistence and limiting effects of symptoms, rather than credibility. Compare SSR
96-7p, 1996 SSR LEXIS 4, with SSR 16-3p, 2016 SSR LEXIS 4. While courts have disagreed as to whether the
regulation applies retroactively, the Court need not resolve the issue because under either lens—credibility or
consistency—the Court finds that the ALJ analyzed the record appropriately. See Barncord v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec.,
No. 2:16-cv-389, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 151479, at *10–12. (S.D. Ohio June 30, 2017) (affirming recommendation
that the Court need not resolve the retroactivity issue).
Hughes, which “took into consideration the post-surgical findings.” (Tr. 23, PAGEID #: 60).
As noted above, Plaintiff alleges the ALJ erred in weighing the opinions of Dr. Cruz and
Dr. Hughes because Dr. Weaver was the only medical expert who examined him and provided
an assessment of his physical capacity. (Doc. 14 at 2). Plaintiff also contends that the VE’s
identification of sedentary jobs in response to the ALJ’s hypothetical is contrary to Dr. Weaver’s
opinion that he should be limited in the performance of physical activities that involve prolonged
sitting. (Id. at 11–12). Linking the VE’s testimony to Dr. Weaver’s physical exam findings,
Plaintiff contends that the ALJ’s decision is not supported by substantial evidence. (See id.).
This Court disagrees. Contrary to Plaintiff’s argument, the ALJ considered Dr. Weaver’s
findings and gave them great weight to the extent that they concerned Plaintiff’s condition a
month prior to the August 2015 surgery. (Tr. 23, PAGEID #: 60). In other words, despite
finding that Dr. Weaver’s findings were well supported, the ALJ noted that those findings did
“not reflect Plaintiff’s degree of functionality post intervention.” (Id.). For that reason, the ALJ
looked to Dr. Cruz and Dr. Hughes, who offered their opinions after Plaintiff’s surgery and
found that Plaintiff was capable of performing a range of light work. (Id.).
The ALJ also found Dr. Weaver’s opinions “limited due to the vague and equivocal
nature of his findings” and because he “did not offer specific vocational restrictions.” (Id.)
(noting Dr. Weaver’s finding that Plaintiff “would ‘probably’ be restricted” and limiting
Plaintiff’s “ability to sustain all functional activities”). Plaintiff counters that, “[i]f the ALJ felt
that the opinions of Dr. Weaver were vague and equivocal, he should have sought clarification of
those opinions by asking the doctor to opine in more vocationally specific terms.” (Doc. 14 at
13–14). Because the ALJ had discretion to determine whether additional evidence was necessary
to render a decision, she did not err in failing to seek clarification of Dr. Weaver’s opinion. See,
e.g., Tracey v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., No. 2:14-cv-1379, 2015 WL 4748009, at *11 (S.D. Ohio
Aug, 12, 2015) (finding that “Plaintiff’s contention that the ALJ had a duty to seek clarification”
of a physician’s opinion “is unavailing” because the ALJ only has a heightened duty to develop
the record in limited circumstances).
Based on the foregoing, it is clear that the ALJ considered the record evidence including
Dr. Weaver’s physical exam findings and chose to assign great weight to Dr. Cruz and Dr.
Hughes because their opinions represented Plaintiff’s condition following his second
laminectomy. Considering those opinions along with the record evidence, the ALJ ultimately
concluded that Plaintiff is not disabled for purposes of the Social Security Act. Even if the Court
were to accept that Dr. Weaver’s opinion demonstrates Plaintiff’s inability to perform the work
identified by the VE, the ALJ’s decision may not be reversed simply because record evidence
supports a different conclusion. Felisky v. Bowen, 35 F.3d 1027, 1035 (6th Cir. 1996). Because
it is the ALJ’s “function to resolve conflicts in the evidence, see Hardaway v. Sec’ of H.H.S., 823
F.2d 922, 928 (6th Cir. 1987),” and that is what the ALJ did here, the Court finds the decision
supported by substantial evidence.
For the reasons stated, Plaintiff’s Statement of Errors is OVERRULED and judgment is
entered in favor of Defendant.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Date: November 15, 2017
/s/ Kimberly A. Jolson
KIMBERLY A. JOLSON
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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