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Johnson v. Colvin

United States District Court, D. Arizona

October 7, 2015

Wendy Johnson, Plaintiff,
v.
Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security Administration, Defendant.

ORDER

LESLIE A. BOWMAN, Magistrate Judge.

The plaintiff filed this action for review of the final decision of the Commissioner for Social Security pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

The Magistrate Judge presides over this case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) having received the written consent of both parties. See FED.R.CIV.P. 73; (Doc. 11)

The court finds the final decision of the Commissioner must be reversed. The ALJ erred by failing to find that Johnson's carpal tunnel syndrome is a severe impairment. The case will be remanded for further proceedings.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Johnson filed her application for disability insurance benefits in March of 2011. (Tr. 23) She alleged disability beginning March 1, 2011 due to back, knee, and ankle impairment; attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; headaches; diabetes; bipolar disorder; memory impairment; and depression. (Tr. 308)

Her claim was denied initially (Tr. 180-183) and upon reconsideration (Tr. 185-188). Johnson requested review and appeared with counsel at a hearing before Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Laura Speck Havens on April 25, 2013. (Tr. 55) In her decision, dated May 10, 2013, the ALJ found Johnson was not disabled. (Tr. 34) Johnson appealed, but the Appeals Council denied review making the decision of the ALJ the final decision of the Commissioner. (Tr. 1-6) Johnson subsequently filed this action appealing the Commissioner's final decision. (Doc. 1); (Tr. 1)

Claimant's Work History and Medical History

Johnson was born in July of 1971. (Tr. 56) She has a high school diploma and two years of college. (Tr. 56) She worked as a clerk in a tax office, and she worked in a deli. (Tr. 59)

Mental Impairments

In January of 2011, Thompson Prout, Ph.D., reviewed the medical record for the state disability determination service. (Tr. 131) He found evidence of an affective disorder, an anxiety disorder, and a personality disorder. (Tr. 131) Prout found Johnson's activities of daily living mildly restricted. Id. He opined she was moderately limited in maintaining social functioning and maintaining concentration, persistence, or pace. (Tr. 131)

In July of 2011, Raymond Novak, M.D., reviewed the medical record for the state disability determination service. (Tr. 147) He found evidence of an affective disorder and an anxiety disorder. Id. He opined Johnson was moderately limited in her ability to understand, remember, and carry out detailed instructions. (Tr. 150) Also, she was moderately limited in her ability to work with others, complete a normal workday and work week, maintain concentration, perform at a consistent pace, interact with the general public, accept instructions, interact with supervisors, and get along with coworkers. (Tr. 150-151)

In June of 2012, Randall J. Garland, Ph.D., reviewed the medical record for the state disability determination service. (Tr. 166) He found evidence of an affective disorder and an anxiety disorder. Id. Garland opined that Johnson's activities of daily living were mildly restricted. Id. Also, she was moderately limited in maintaining social functioning and maintaining concentration, persistence, or pace. (Tr. 166)

Physical Impairments

In July of 2011, Jerry Dodson, M.D., reviewed the medical record and completed a Physical Residual Functional Capacity Assessment for the state disability determination service. (Tr. 148-149) He concluded Johnson could lift and/or carry 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently. (Tr. 148) She could stand or walk for about four hours and sit for about six hours in an 8-hour work day. (Tr. 148) She was limited in her lower extremities due to left knee and right ankle surgery. Id. She should never crouch, crawl, or climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. And she should only occasionally balance, kneel, or climb ramps or stairs. Id. She should avoid concentrated exposure to extreme cold, vibration, and hazards such as machinery or heights. (Tr. 149)

In July of 2012, Linda A. Woodard, D.O., reviewed the medical record and completed a Physical Residual Functional Capacity Assessment for the state disability determination service. (Tr. 154, 167) She concluded Johnson could lift and/or carry 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently. (Tr. 168) She could stand or walk for about three hours and sit for about six hours in an 8-hour work day. (Tr. 168) She was limited in her lower extremities due to left knee and right ankle surgery. Id. She should never crouch or crawl and should only ...


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