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Pringle v. Berryhill

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Florence Division

May 2, 2017

Patrick S. Pringle, Plaintiff,
v.
Nancy A. Berryhill, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.

          ORDER

          R. Bryan Harwell United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Patrick S. Pringle, (“Plaintiff”) seeks judicial review, pursuant to 42');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2 U.S.C. § 405(g), of a final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (the “Commissioner”) denying Plaintiff's claim for supplemental security income (“SSI”) under the Social Security Act (the “Act”). The matter is before the Court for review of the Report and Recommendation of United States Magistrate Judge Thomas E. Rogers, III, made in accordance with 2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Local Civil Rule 73.02');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2(B)(2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2) for the District of South Carolina. The Magistrate Judge recommends the Court affirm the Commissioner's decision. [ECF #2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">20].

         Factual Findings and Procedural History

          On September 19, 2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2012');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2, Plaintiff filed an application for SSI alleging an inability to work since February 1, 2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2008. [ECF #9, Ex. 1D]. At the hearing, Plaintiff amended his onset date to November 2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">28, 2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2012');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2, the date of his fiftieth birthday. [ECF #11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11, p. 8]. Plaintiff alleges disability due to depression, a herniated disc, Crohn's disease and high blood pressure. [ECF #9, Ex. 1A].

         Plaintiff was incarcerated for a total of approximately twenty-five years for various crimes such as burglary, disorderly conduct, and breaking and entering. [ECF #11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11, p. 4]. The record does not contain a large volume of medical records. However, a review of the record reveals Plaintiff suffers from a long history of intestinal disorders, including exacerbation of Crohn's disease, the repair of a prolapsed mucus fistula at 2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">28 years old and two ostomy bags. [ECF #11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11, p. 5]. In 2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2009, Plaintiff underwent bowel surgery. [ECF #11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11, p. 5]. In 2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2012');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2, after Plaintiff was released from prison, he was admitted to the hospital for abdominal pain. [ECF #11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11, p. 5]. He was again admitted to the hospital in 2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2013 for rectal bleeding. [ECF #11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11, p. 5]. In January of 2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2014, Plaintiff was treated for a perirectal abcess. [ECF #11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11, p. 5]. Several months later, he was diagnosed with possible cellulitis of the anal area, and in the same year he was treated for acute liver failure arising from Tylenol overdoses. [ECF #11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11, p. 5]. At the hearing, Plaintiff testified that he underwent a colostomy in 1990 and has worn a colostomy bag for approximately 9 and &frac12');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2; years. [ECF #9-2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2, pp. 40, 45]. He also reported suffering from an anal fistula, which makes it difficult for him to sit for sustained periods. [ECF #11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11, p. 6]. Due to his need to make frequent trips to the restroom, Plaintiff testified he was unable to keep his employment with Outback Steakhouse. [ECF #11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11, p. 42');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2].

         With respect to Plaintiff's back injuries, records indicate he has degenerative changes throughout his pelvis in the lumbar spine, including a posterior disc protrusion at ¶ 4-5. [ECF #11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11, p. 5]. Plaintiff testified at the hearing that due to his back pain, he cannot stand up for long periods of time. [ECF #9-2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2, p. 44]. He testified that he could lift approximately ten to twenty pounds. [ECF #9-2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2, p. 54]. He testified that he uses a cane. [ECF #9-2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2, p. 54]. His testimony also included the fact that he could not walk for more than thirty minutes without a break, and he is limited to a couple of hours on his feet at a time. [ECF #11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11, p. 6]. Plaintiff does not have records indicating he has been in psychiatric care for any extended period of time, however, it appears he was diagnosed with depression and given a prescription for Celexa. [ECF #11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11, p. 5].

         Two state agency consultants evaluated Plaintiff and opined that he could stand and walk for six of the eight hours in the work day, and lift twenty pounds occasionally and ten pounds frequently, which was consistent with a finding of the ability to perform light work. [ECF #11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11, p. 5]. At the hearing, a vocational expert offered testimony regarding two hypothetical situations. In the first hypothetical, he was asked to assume than an individual had no past relevant work, but could stand, walk, and lift with limitations consistent with an ability to perform light work. [ECF #11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11, p. 6]. The vocational expert determined that this would allow for occupations including unskilled assembly, hand packers and packagers, and simple machine tenders and operators. [ECF #11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11, p. 6]. The vocational expert was then given a second hypothetical in which he was to assume an individual could stand or walk for only one hour of the workday. [ECF #11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11, p. 7]. The vocational expert determined that the individual could perform the same occupations previously discussed even with this additional limitation because those jobs involve sitting most of the time. [ECF #11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11, p. 7]. When questioned by Plaintiff's attorney regarding Plaintiff's limitations, the vocational expert did testify that these occupations would require the ability to maintain the work area for two hours at a time without leaving for the bathroom. [ECF #11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11, p. 7]. He further opined that the occupations could not be performed with the use of a cane. [ECF #11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11');">11, p. 7].

         The Social Security Administration denied his application initially and on reconsideration, so Plaintiff requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”). The ALJ held a hearing on February 3, 2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2015. The ALJ denied Plaintiff's claim on March 2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">26, 2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2015, finding that Plaintiff was not under a disability as defined in the Social Security Act, as amended. [ECF #9-2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2, p.2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">26]. The ALJ's findings were as follows:

(1) The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since September 19, 2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2012');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2, the application date. (2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">20 C.F.R. 416.971 et seq.).
(2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2) The claimant has the following severe impairments: Chrohn's Disease and spine disorder (2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">20 C.F.R. 416.92');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">20(c)).
(3) The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of one of the listed impairments in 2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">20 C.F.R. 416.92');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">20(d), 416.92');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">25 and 416.92');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">26).
(4) After careful consideration of the entire record, I find that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">20 C.F.R. 416.967(b) except he can lift up to twenty pounds occasionally and ten pounds frequently. The claimant can stand or walk approximately one hour per eight-hour workday and sit approximately seven hours per eight-hour workday, with normal breaks. The claimant can never climb ladders, ropes, scaffolds, ramps, or stairs.
(5) The claimant has no past relevant work (2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">20 C.F.R. 416.965).
(6) The claimant was born on November 2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">28, 1962');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2, and was 49 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the date the application was filed. The claimant subsequently changed age category to closely ...

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