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Mia R. v. Commissioner of Social Security

United States District Court, D. Oregon

October 21, 2019

MIA R., [1] Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendants.

          ORDER

          JOLIE A. RUSSO UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff brings this proceeding to obtain judicial review of the Commissioner's final decision denying plaintiff's application for disability insurance benefits. Plaintiff asserts disability beginning June 19, 2014, due to diabetes, high blood pressure, and neuropathy. Tr. 169, 186. After a hearing held on October 12, 2017, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) determined plaintiff was not disabled as of her date last insured (DLI), December 31, 2015. Tr. 25. Plaintiff contends the ALJ erred by: (1) concluding plaintiff is capable of light exertion work; (2) discrediting plaintiff's symptom testimony; and (3) rejecting the opinion of plaintiff's treating neurologist.

         A. Residual Functional Capacity

         Plaintiff argues the residual functional capacity (RFC) assessed by the ALJ is flawed because it assumes an ability to perform light work even though the ALJ accepted the opinion of consulting physician Dr. Robert Mitgang.

         On February 21, 2016, Dr. Mitgang assessed plaintiff with the following exertional limitations:

- Occasionally (occasionally is cumulatively 1 /3 or less of an 8-hour day) lift and/or carry (including upward pulling): 20 pounds;
- Stand and/or walk (with normal breaks) for a total of: 2 hours;
- Sit (with normal breaks) for a total of: More than 6 hours on a sustained basis in an 8hour workday;
- Push and/or pull (including operation of hand and/or foot controls): Unlimited, other than shown, for lift and /or carry.

Tr. 87-88. Dr. Mitgang also noted postural limitations regarding climbing ramps, stairs, ropes, ladders, and scaffolds. Dr. Mitgang noted no limitations with respect to manipulations, vision, or communication. Tr. 88. Dr. Mitgang did note certain environmental limitations such as exposures to extreme heat and cold and hazards. Tr. 88-89. In explaining the RFC Dr. Mitgang also noted, “case written for Sedentary.” Tr. 89.

         The ALJ noted the specific functional limitations identified by Dr. Mitgang and gave the opinion great weight. Tr. 23.

The ALJ determined plaintiff had the RFC, through the DLI,
to perform light work as defined in 20 § CFR 404.1567(b) except she could stand and walk 2 hours in an 8-hour workday; she could occasionally climb, stoop, crouch, kneel, crawl, and balance; she should avoid extremes of heat and cold; she should avoid concentrated exposure to hazards.

Tr. 20 (emphasis added). The ALJ queried a vocational expert (VE) if there were any jobs a person with such limitations ...


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