COLEMAN v. SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION
MEMORANDUM AND/OR OPINION RE: PLAINTIFF'S BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF REQUEST FOR REVIEW (DOC. NO.9). SIGNED BY HONORABLE J. WILLIAM DITTER, JR ON 5/24/2011. 5/25/2011 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED TO PRO SE, E-MAILED.(kk, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE,
Commissioner of Social Security
1. WILLIAM DITTER, JR., Sr. J
Upon consideration of the brief in support of request for review filed by plaintiff
(Doc. No.9) and defendant's response thereto (Doc. No. 13), the court makes the following
findings and reaches the following conclusions:
On August 8, 2007, Theresa Coleman filed an application for disability
insurance benefits and supplemental security income under Titles II and XVI, respectively, of the
Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 401-433; 1381-1383f, alleging an onset date of September 6,
2005. (Tr. 146-51). Throughout the administrative process, including a hearing held on May 5,
2009, before an ALJ, Coleman's claims were denied. (Tr. 9-21; 25-70; 92-99). After the
Appeals Council denied review, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), Coleman filed her complaint in
this court on August 24, 2010. (Tr. 1-5; Doc. No.3).
In his December 23,2009 decision, the ALJ concluded, inter alia, that: (1)
Coleman had severe degenerative changes in her lumbar spine with some radiculopathy, and
depression; (2) her impairments did not meet or equal a listing; (3) she had the RFC to perform
unskilled simple routine sedentary work with a sit/stand option and limited contact with the
public; (4) she could perform work existing in significant numbers in the national economy; and
(5) she was not disabled. (Tr. 10 ~ 3; 12 Findings 3 & 4; 14 Finding 5; 20 Finding 9; 21 Finding
This Court has plenary review oflegal issues, but it reviews the ALI's
factual findings to determine whether they are supported by substantial evidence. Schaudeck v.
Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 181 F.3d 429,431 (3d Cir. 1999) (citing 42 U.S.c. § 405(g)). Substantial
evidence is "such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion." Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971) (quoting Consol. Edison Co. v.
NLRB, 305 U.S. 197,229 (1938»; see also Dobrowolsky v. Califano, 606 Fold 403,406 (3d Cir.
1979). It is more than a mere scintilla but may be less than a preponderance. See Brown v.
All numbered paragraph references to the ALl's decision begin with the first full paragraph on each page.
Bowen, 845 F.2d 1211, 1213 (3d Cir. 1988). If the conclusion of the ALJ is supported by
substantial evidence, this court may not set aside the Commissioner's decision even ifit would
have decided the factual inquiry differently. Hartranft v. Apfel, 181 F.3d 358, 360 (3d Cir.
1999); see 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
Coleman, pro se, states in her one page brief that she is disabled and that
her doctors and her medical records provide as much. Coleman does not allege that the ALJ
made any specific errors other than in his ultimate disability conclusion. I have thoroughly
reviewed the record and I conclude that the RFC assessment of the AU is supported by
substantial evidence and that his ultimate conclusion of non-disability is legally sustainable.
Moreover, contrary to her belief, none of Coleman's physicians opined that she was disabled.
The record does indeed reveal an impairment of the lumbar spine and
depression. However, the ALl accounted for Coleman's credible limitations by giving her a
limited unskilled sedentary RFC assessment. I find nothing in the record which contradicts this
assessment. On the contrary, the RFC assessment is supported by, inter alia: (1) the State
Agency's physical RFC assessment and psychiatric review technique; (2) the consultative
examiner's mental evaluation; (3) the medical treatment notes showing a steady gait, normal
range of motion and strength in the lower body; (4) mild MRI results; and (5) Coleman's
repeated resistance to her physicians' suggested treatment regimen and her alleged drug seeking
behavior. (Tr. 16 ~ 2-19 '11; 251-52; 304-05; 313-14; 320-21; 326-28; 354; 366; 379; 438; 445;
459; 497-509; 510-16; 522-27; 528; 531; 532; 560-61; 566-67).
As a result, I find that the ALl's conclusion that Coleman was not disabled
is legally sufficient and supported by substantial evidence. Therefore, Coleman's request for
relief must be denied and the decision must be affirmed.
An appropriate Order follows.
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