Mork, Kathleen v. Colvin, Carolyn
Transmission of Notice of Appeal, Docketing Statement, Order, Judgment and Docket Sheet to Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals re: 23 Notice of Appeal, (Attachments: # 1 Docketing Statement, # 2 Order, # 3 Judgment, # 4 Docket Sheet) (lak) (Attachment 4 replaced on 6/25/2015) (lak).
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF WISCONSIN
CAROLYN W. COLVIN,
Acting Commissioner of Social Security,
Plaintiff Kathleen Mork seeks judicial review of a final decision of defendant Carolyn W.
Colvin, the acting Commissioner of Social Security, finding her not disabled within the meaning
of the Social Security Act. The court held a telephonic hearing on Mork’s motion for summary
judgment on May 14, 2015. For the reasons stated more fully at the hearing, the court will
deny Mork’s motion and affirm the Commissioner’s decision.
Mork contends that the ALJ made three reversible errors by failing to: (1) give sufficient
weight to the opinion of Mork’s treating source physician; (2) include limitations on Mork’s
ability to lift and the repetitive use of her hands and arms in her hypothetical questions to the
vocational expert (VE); and (3) resolve a discrepancy in the DOT code number that the VE gave
in his testimony.
The ALJ gave little weight to the opinion of Mork’s treating doctor because it was “not
consistent with [Mork’s] examination findings of intact muscle strength and pin sensation along
the bilateral upper extremities, as well as [Mork’s] activities of daily living and treatment
history.” R. 20. 1 To explain why she discredited the opinion, the ALJ analyzed the factors in 20
C.F.R. § 404.1527(c). She acknowledged the relationship between Mork and her doctor, and
The court cites to the administrative record at Dkt. 8.
the doctor’s specialization as a physiatrist. Id. But the ALJ also identified the inconsistency of
the doctor’s opinion with the rest of the record. Id. The ALJ cited the doctor’s own records, R.
401-03, 496, the opinions of the other doctors, including R. 401-403, 496, 498, 501-02, and
Mork’s treatment history and daily activities to conclude that the treating doctor’s opinion
deserved only little weight. R. 20. Because the ALJ adequately considered the factors and
explained her decision, the court will affirm it.
Mork next argued that because her treating doctor limited her ability to lift and to
repetitively use her hands and arms, see R. 495, those limitations should have been incorporated
into the ALJ’s hypothetical questions to the VE. But the ALJ discounted the doctor’s opinion
and declined to adopt all of her recommended limitations, R. 20, and the ALJ did not need to
include limitations that she did not accept. Seamon v. Astrue, 364 F. App’x 243, 248 (7th Cir.
2010). (“[T]he ALJ’s hypothetical should incorporate only those limitations that [s]he accepts
as credible.”). Further, the ALJ’s questions to the VE included limitations on lifting, fingering,
and handling. R. 74-75. And the VE’s response that Mork could perform work as a receptionist
was consistent with those limitations. Therefore, the ALJ’s questions to the VE were
appropriately inclusive of Mork’s limitations.
Last, Mork argued that the ALJ erred by not reconciling a discrepancy in the VE’s
testimony. The DOT code that the VE mentioned did not refer to the job that he was
describing. R. 73. He was off by one digit. But from the context of the transcript and the ALJ’s
decision, it is clear that the VE and the ALJ both meant to refer to the job of receptionist. To
reverse the Commissioner’s decision for the equivalent of a typo would be a waste of time and
resources because the content of the VE testimony on remand would likely be the same. Mork’s
counsel conceded at the hearing that the requirements of the receptionist job were within the
RFC as found by the ALJ. Therefore, the court will find that the error was harmless.
Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that the decision of defendant Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting
Commissioner of Social Security, denying plaintiff Kathleen Mork’s application for disability
benefits is AFFIRMED and plaintiff Kathleen Mork’s appeal is DISMISSED. The clerk of court
is directed to enter judgment in favor of defendant and close this case.
Entered May 15, 2015.
BY THE COURT:
JAMES D. PETERSON
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?