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Cannady v. Colvin

United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Central Division

January 12, 2015

INCENT N. CANNADY, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN ACTING COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

ORDER

NANETTE K. LAUGHREY, District Judge.

Plaintiff Vincent Cannady seeks review of the Administrative Law Judge's decision denying his application for Social Security benefits. For the following reasons, the decision of the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) is affirmed.

I. Background

A. Cannady's Medical History

Cannady is a 48 year old man who requests disability benefits due to mental and physical impairments.

Since 2009, Cannady has received consistent treatment for sleep apnea and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He reported that he suffered through three traumatic events that caused his PTSD and sleep problems. [Tr. 656]. He stated in 2009 that he was often able to sleep for only three to four hours per night and often abused alcohol, drinking approximately a fifth of liquor every four days. Id.

Cannady has also received ongoing treatment for problems with his lower extremities. Cannady has seen numerous doctors for his hammertoes, right ankle pain and swelling, and right foot and leg pain. He has consistently complained of instability and trouble ambulating his leg and ankle. Multiple doctors have treated him for pain and prescribed various assistive devices, including orthotics and a cane which he currently uses. Cannady also suffers from ongoing back pain. His reported level of pain and functional abilities have varied since 2009, but he has consistently complained of significant problems.

On December 14, 2010, Cannady was evaluated by Dr. Melinda Peterson, his treating physician. [Tr. 683]. Cannady reported ankle and knee pain, hammertoes, back pain, and chronic bronchitis. [Tr. 664]. Dr. Peterson concluded that Cannady was impaired in his ability to perform activities requiring repetitive bending, pushing or pulling, carrying items on his back or items weighing more than fifteen pounds, and running, sitting, standing, or walking for prolonged periods of time. [Tr. 682].

On August 4, 2011, Dr. Geoffrey Sutton completed a psychiatric review technique. [Tr. 893-904]. He concluded that Cannady suffered from PTSD, had a moderate degree of limitation maintaining social functioning, and mild limitation in activities of daily living and difficulties in maintaining concentration, persistence, or pace. Id. He opined that Cannady was moderately limited in his ability to interact appropriately with the general public and the ability to accept instructions and respond appropriately to criticism from supervisors. Id. He concluded that Cannady had the ability to interact with others on a limited contact basis and adapt to moderately complex low hazard work settings.

On August 18, 2012, Cannady was evaluated by Dr. Dennis Velez. [Tr. 1285-91]. Dr. Velez noted that Cannady limped and could not walk around the room without using a cane. Id. He opined that Cannady would not have limitations with respect to standing or sitting, providing that he used his cane. Id. He stated that Cannady could lift up to 100 pounds continuously, sit and stand for four hours at one time, and walk two hours at one time with cane and ankle support. Id. He noted that Cannady could frequently stoop, kneel, and crawl, but only occasionally balance and crouch. Id.

On August 20, 2012, Dr. Robert Forsyth performed a psychological consultative examination. [Tr. 1276-79]. He opined that Cannady is able to understand and remember simple and moderately complex instructions. Id. He stated that Cannady would do best in an employment setting involving limited contact with the general public. Id. He further opined that Cannady was mildly affected in his ability to interact appropriately with supervision, co-workers, and the public, as well as respond to changes in the routine work setting. Id.

B. ALJ Decision

The ALJ denied Cannady's request for disability benefits, concluding that Cannady had the Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) to engage in substantial gainful activity. The ALJ concluded that despite Cannady's severe impairments of obesity, degenerative disc disease of the cervical spine and thoracic spine, deformity of the right ankle status post fusion with hammertoes, mild osteoarthritis and claw toe deformities of the left foot, PTSD, major depression, and a history of bipolar disorder, he retained the following RFC:

[T]o perform light work as defined in 20 CRF 404.1567(b) in that the claimant can lift 50 pounds occasionally and 25 pounds frequently; can sit up to 4 hours at a time for up to 6 hours of an 8-hour work-day; can stand up to 4 hours at a time with the use of a cane for distances of 100 feet or more, for up to 4 hours of an 8-hour day. In addition, the claimant should never operate foot controls with the right foot; never climb stairs, ramps, ladders or scaffolds; and can only occasionally balance and crouch. This individual cannot walk a block at a reasonable pace on rough or uneven surfaces. Further, assume this individual can remember simple and moderately complex ...

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