United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
OPINION AND ORDER
BARBARA B. CRABB DISTRICT JUDGE.
Malinda Campbell is suing for disability insurance benefits
and supplemental security income, alleging that she has been
disabled since February 8, 2013, because of obesity,
degenerative joint disease, carpal tunnel syndrome and
fibromyalgia. She contends that the administrative law
judge who heard her suit erred in three respects: (1) failing
to comply with SSR 01-01p of the Social Security Regulations
in not considering the impact of plaintiff's obesity on
her ability to work; (2) violating SSR 96-2 by not
considering the effect of her mental impairments on her
ability to work; and (3) violating SSR 00-4p by failing to
resolve the conflict between the vocational expert's
testimony and the Dictionary of Occupational Titles. For the
reasons that follow, I conclude that plaintiff has failed to
show that the administrative law judge erred in any respect.
Accordingly, plaintiff's motion for disability insurance
benefits and supplemental security income will be denied.
following facts are drawn from the administrative record
Social Security Application
16, 2013, plaintiff filed for disability insurance benefits
and supplemental security income, alleging that she had been
disabled since February 8, 2013, the day after her earlier
benefits had ended. (In an earlier proceeding, Administrative
Law Judge Brenton Rogozen had ruled plaintiff disabled under
the Social Security Act for a “closed period”
from June 24, 2011until July 9, 2012, but not after that
second round of claims was denied initially and upon
reconsideration. Plaintiff then requested and was granted a
hearing before a new administrative law judge, Thomas
Springer, on January 24, 2018, in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
Plaintiff testified, along with William Dingess, a vocational
expert. The administrative law judge denied the claims in a
written opinion entered on March 22, 2018, after which
plaintiff filed this lawsuit.
Relevant Medical Evidence
than proposing facts in her brief, plaintiff has set out 22
pages of what appear to be excerpts from doctors' reports
filed between July 7, 2012 and December 20, 2017. Dkt. #9-1.
It was not necessary to do this, because the court has access
to all of the medical reports filed during the period at
issue and medical evidence covering any other period is
irrelevant. I will consider only the evidence relating to the
period starting February 8, 2013.
notes on plaintiff's medical history set out in dkt. #9-1
show that plaintiff has the following medical problems:
morbid obesity (she was 5'8" inches tall and weighed
260 pounds at the time of her January 2018 hearing),
migraines, restless leg syndrome, asthma and chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). She has had problems
with an ankle and an Achilles tendon in the past, but she has
had surgery for tarsal tunnel syndrome in her right leg and
for Achilles tendinitis in her right foot. AR 733. She also
has sleep apnea, but it is controlled with the use of a CPAP
(continuous positive airway pressure) machine.
record contains a No. of medical or psychiatric assessments
of plaintiff. In September 9, 2014, Dr. George Walcott, a
physician employed by the Social Security Administration,
found that plaintiff had exertional limitations, but was
capable of at least sedentary work. He found, in addition,
that she could lift 10 pounds occasionally or frequently,
walk or stand with normal breaks, sit for six hours with
normal breaks in an eight-hour workday and had unlimited
ability to push or pull, other than as limited by the
restraint on her lifting or carrying. AR 156. He also found
that plaintiff had no visual, communicative or environmental
limitations; her carpel tunnel syndrome had improved with
surgery; she had started physical therapy for her
fibromyalgia but had gone to only two sessions; and she had
frequent migraines, but had had a normal neurology
examination. AR 146-47.
October 1, 2014, Social Security Administration psychologist,
Eric Edelman, Ph.D., conducted a psychiatric assessment of
plaintiff and concluded that she did not have any mental
health impairment that would impose any limitations. He did
note that plaintiff expressed anxiety. AR 154.
August 20, 2015, another Social Security Administration
physician, Dr. Mary McLarnon, addressed plaintiff's
ability to perform her past relevant work and her exertional
limitations, reaching opinions identical to those of Dr.
Walcott. AR 173. Dr. McLarnon considered plaintiff's
migraine headaches, finding that they were “not at
listing level frequency or severity.” AR 174.
Marcus Desmonde, Psy.D., saw plaintiff in September 2015 and
found that she had a depressive disorder, unspecified, with
occasional anxious distress, mild to moderate. AR 717. He
believed that plaintiff was capable of managing her own
finances, understanding simple instructions and carrying out
tasks with any limitations set by a treating physician. AR
718-19. He also found her capable of interacting with
co-workers, supervisors and the general ...