United States District Court, D. Oregon, Medford Division
OPINION AND ORDER
Yim You United States Magistrate Judge.
Holly A. McDaniel Bute (“Bute”), seeks judicial
review of the final decision by the Social Security
Commissioner (“Commissioner”) denying her
application for Disability Insurance Benefits
(“DIB”) and Supplementary Security Income
(“SSI”) under Titles II and XVI of the Social
Security Act (“SSA”), 42 U.S.C. §§
401-433. This court has jurisdiction to review the
Commissioner's decision pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
405(g) and § 1383(c)(3). For the reasons set forth
below, that decision is AFFIRMED.
protectively filed for DIB and SSI on March 5, 2013, alleging
a disability onset date of August 1, 2012. Tr. 198,
Her applications were denied initially and on
reconsideration. Tr. 74-81, 106-16. On February 17, 2015, a
hearing was held before Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) Robert F. Spaulding. Tr. 42-73. The ALJ
issued a decision on May 11, 2015, finding Bute not disabled.
Tr. 21-33. After the Appeals Council denied Bute's
request for review on October 26, 2016, the ALJ's
decision became the Commissioner's final decision subject
to review by this court. Tr. 1-4; 20 C.F.R. §§
September 1957, Bute was 58-years-old at the time of the ALJ
hearing. Tr. 74. Bute is a high-school graduate and attended
college for one year. Tr. 227. She worked as a mortgage
banker from 1997 until August 1, 2012. Tr. 52, 103. Bute
alleges she is unable to work due to a combination of:
degenerative joint disease of the left hip; degenerative
joint disease of the left shoulder; plantar fasciitis; sinus
tarsi syndrome; obesity; anxiety; chronic fatigue, high blood
pressure; edema; and hidradenitis suppurativa
(“HS”). Tr. 73, 83; Pl.'s Br. at 2.
November 7, 2011, Bute was treated for an infected
“bump” on her inner groin area Tr. 357. She was
diagnosed with HS and prescribed medication. Id.
Bute did not have any skin lesions at treatment visits in
December 2011. Tr. 373, 379. At that time, she also denied
depression and anxiety, as well as muscle aches and joint
April 18, 2012, treatment records show her HS was
“improved.” Tr. 359. Bute displayed no skin
rashes at a medical visit on April 23, 2012. Tr. 355. In July
2012, records show that she had no skin lesions, no
musculoskeletal pain, and no depression or anxiety. Tr.
362-64. She reported that she was moving to Oregon. Tr. 706.
2013, Bute was treated by Cheri M. Monteith, a nurse
practitioner (“NP”) in Bly, Oregon. Tr. 393. Bute
reported that she had recently moved to Oregon with her then
fiancé (now husband) “for
retirement.” Id. Bute stated that she had a
history of HS with “approximately 5-6 flare ups per
month, ” and that she was using Ampicillin every six
hours for flare-ups. Id. On examination, Bute's
skin was negative for lesions. Tr. 393-94.
23, 2013, Mike Henderson, D.O., performed a consultative
examination of Bute. Dr. Henderson diagnosed her primary
impairment as “chronic fatigue, ” “due to
severe depression associated with job loss, bankruptcy, home
foreclosure, and divorce.” Tr. 401. Bute told Dr.
Henderson that she “quit her job to move to Oregon and
reduce stress.” Tr. 399. Dr. Henderson assessed left
hip pain that “may be trochanteric bursitis versus mild
posture arthritis.” Id. He also assessed left
shoulder impingement caused by a bone protrusion of the
acromion, which restricted her overhead reaching above
shoulder height. Tr. 400-01. Dr. Henderson opined that
Bute's HS was “intermittent and treatable, ”
but “[i]f she does have a flare, [she] would have to
avoid prolonged sitting for more than an hour at a
time.” Tr. 401. Dr. Henderson concluded that
there was no objective evidence to support a limitation in
sitting, walking, or standing, and that Bute's
“main limitations are secondary to obesity,
deconditioning, [and] severe depression.” Id.
2013, Bute saw Dr. Edward Trobaugh. Her primary diagnosis was
malaise and fatigue, likely caused by chronic fatigue
syndrome “but may be OSA, depression,
hypothyroidism.” Tr. 440. Dr. Trobaugh also noted foot
pain consistent with plantar fasciitis, citing weight as a
factor. Id. Bute had gained 50 pounds over the
previous five to six years, and her body mass index was 47.
began treatment with her primary care provider, Debra
Hartley, M.D., in August 2013. Tr. 953. Bute expressed
concern about her weight, fatigue, and general body pain,
including leg pain when she walked. Id. She was
5'4” tall, weighed 278 pounds, and had a BMI of
47.72. Tr. 956.
September 2013, Bute complained of left shoulder pain. Tr.
948. In 2007, she had an injury, which resulted in an MRI and
diagnosis of “supraspinatus tear vs
tendinopathy.” She did pursue surgery, but had an
injection in 2008, but still found the area was painful.
Id. She received a steroid injection in her left
shoulder. Tr. 949.
October 2013, Bute reported that her shoulder pain improved
following a steroid injection but she was still able to raise
her elbow over her head. Tr. 423. Her range of motion was
within normal limits. Id. Dr. Hartley also noted
that Bute had a history of HS: “[s]he has a lesion on
her inner groin area that will get big and will break open
and a [sic] decrease in the pressure. She will then have pus
and blood that seeps for a couple of days but does not heal.
Right now it is not inflamed . . . outbreaks tend to be worse
in the summer. She rarely has outbreaks in her axilla
[armpits].” Id. The doctor indicated that Bute
“will call when she has a flare up.” Tr. 424.
saw Dr. Laneah Snyder on February 12, 2014, to follow up on
an emergency room visit for chest pain. Tr. 747. She
displayed no skin rash at that time. Id.
February 20, 2014, Bute was observed to have a skin rash on
her face, neck, and upper chest, which was thought to be a
“stress reaction.” Tr. 1008-09.
March 5, 2014, Bute's primary complaint was fatigue. Tr.
924. She was given a referral to a sleep medicine clinic.
Id. Bute endorsed exercise-induced foot pain.
Id. She was positive for skin rash, which was
associated with anxiety. Tr. 922.
1, 2014, Bute was again negative for skin rash. Tr. 915.
was treated by NP Monteith again on May 12, 2014. Bute was
advised to continue daily Hibiclens use and Ampicillin for HS
outbreaks, but it was also noted that Bute's skin was
negative for “concerning lesions.” Tr. 788. Bute
was referred to dermatology for continuing management of HS,
and because Bute's sister had melanoma. Tr. 789.
27, 2014, Bute received an injection in her left foot
(specifically, the sinus tarsi). Tr. 774. Her doctor
recommended she participate in walking exercises, but that
she should avoid uneven surfaces. Id.
visit in June 2014, Bute was negative for skin rash. Tr. 909.
2014, Bute asked for a referral to physical therapy for foot
and hip pain. Tr. 994. It was noted Bute had never had an MRI
of her back. Id. She was negative for skin rash. Tr.
“medical source statement” form was completed by
physical therapist G. Eric Mills (“Mills”) on
July 23, 2014. Mills diagnosed left lower back pain with
radiculopathy and left shoulder impingement syndrome, and
indicated that the symptoms would “seldom” be
severe enough to affect Bute's attention and
concentration to work tasks. Tr. 834. He also indicated Bute
could sit for four hours, stand for two hours, and walk for
two hours of an eight-hour day. Id. He further noted
that Bute would need to take short unscheduled breaks for
positional changes four times per day. Tr. 836. Mills
concluded Bute “would have a difficult time in most
occupations due to her multiple medical conditions.”
was negative for skin rash in July 2014. Tr. 991.
was negative for skin rash in August 2014. Tr. 988.
was negative for skin rash in December 2014 but requested an
injection to ...