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Logan-Wilson v. Colvin

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

September 19, 2014



JOHN A. ROSS, District Judge.

This is an action under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) for judicial review of the Commissioner of Social Security's final decision denying Plaintiff Ashley Logan-Wilson's ("Plaintiff') application for child's insurance benefits under Title II of the Act, 42 U.S.C. §§401, et seq., and application for supplemental security income under Title XVI of the Act, 42 U.S.C. §§1391, et seq. (Tr. 110-22.) Plaintiff filed a claim of disability based upon her learning disability and depression.

I. Background

On May 11, 2011, Plaintiff completed her application for child's insurance and SSI benefits. (Tr. 110-22.) The Social Security Administration ("SSA") denied Plaintiff's application for benefits and she filed a timely request for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"). The SSA granted Plaintiff's request and a hearing was held on December 8, 2011. (Tr. 20.) Subsequent to the hearing, Plaintiff amended her onset date of disability to April 27, 2011. (Tr. 132-133.) The ALJ issued a written decision on March 6, 2012, upholding the denial of benefits. (Tr. 20-30.) On April 26, 2013, the Appeals Council of the SSA denied Plaintiff's request for review. (Tr. 1-4.) The decision of the ALJ thus stands as the final decision of the Commissioner. See Sims v. Apfel , 530 U.S. 103, 107 (2000). Plaintiff filed this appeal on June 13, 2013. (ECF No. 1.) The Commissioner filed an Answer. (ECF No. 9.) Plaintiff filed a Brief in Support of her Complaint. (ECF No. 13). The Commissioner filed a Brief in Support of the Answer. (ECF No. 18.) Plaintiff filed a Reply Brief in support of her Complaint. (ECF No. 19.)

II. Decision of the ALJ

The ALJ determined that Plaintiff had the following severe impairments: obesity and learning disability in reading and reading comprehension. (Tr. 22-23.) The ALJ discerned that Plaintiff does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of one of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. (Tr. 23-25.) The ALJ found that Plaintiff had the residual functional capacity ("RFC") to perform light work as defined in 20 C.F.R. 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b). The ALJ also determined that Plaintiff has the ability to occasionally lift and/or carry up to 10 pounds; the claimant also has the ability to stand and/or walk (with normal breaks) for a total of about 6 hours in an 8-hour workday; the claimant's ability to push and/or pull is unlimited, other than as shown for lift and/or carry; from a medical standpoint, Plaintiff has the ability to understand, remember, and carry out at least simple instructions and non-detailed tasks. (Tr. 25-28.) The ALJ noted that Plaintiff has no past relevant work, has at least a high school education, and is able to communicate in English. (Tr. 28.) The ALJ concluded that jobs exist in significant numbers in the national economy that the claimant can perform, citing 20 CFR 404.1569, 404.1569(a), 404.969, and 416.969(a). (Tr. 28.) The ALJ stated that Plaintiff could perform jobs such as housekeeping and production assembler. (Tr. 29.) In conclusion, the ALJ found that Plaintiff has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from April 27, 2011, the amended onset date, through the date of the decision. (Tr. 29.)

Plaintiff appeals, contending that the ALJ erred in failing to include a pace limitation in the RFC and because the RFC finding is not supported by substantial evidence. In addition, Plaintiff states that the ALJ erred in failing to consider Plaintiff's working memory IQ of 69 and failing to find that Plaintiff met the listing of 12.05(c). (ECF No. 13). The Commissioner contends that the ALJ's decision is supported by substantial evidence on the record as a whole.

III. Administrative Record

The following is a summary of relevant evidence before the ALJ.

A. Hearing Testimony

1. Plaintiff's Testimony

Plaintiff testified as follows. Plaintiff is a high school graduate. (Tr. 36.) Plaintiff attended special education classes in school and had an individualized educational program (IEP), but was in regular classes about eighty percent of the time. (Tr. 36-37.) During school, Plaintiff had difficulty with reading and remembering what she read. (Tr. 37.) She took algebra in high school. (Tr. 37.) Plaintiff has never been employed. (Tr. 38.) She has a driver's license but does not drive. (Tr. 38.) Plaintiff's height is 5 foot, 8 inches and her weight is 238 pounds. (Tr. 38.) Plaintiff has seen "doctors and therapists" for her emotional and sad feelings. (Tr. 39.) Dr. Syed Mumtaz treats Plaintiff for her depression and difficulty sleeping. (Tr. 39-40.)

Plaintiff stated that she cooperated with the testing of the psychologist, Dr. Michael Armour, who was ...

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