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Frisby v. Commissioner of Social Security

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lafayette Division

March 26, 2015

PHYLLIS ANN FRISBY
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

C. MICHAEL HILL, Magistrate Judge.

This social security appeal was referred to me for review, Report and Recommendation pursuant to this Court's Standing Order of July 8, 1993. Phyllis Ann Frisby, born January 7, 1955, filed an application for a period of disability and disability insurance benefits on April 22, 2011, alleging disability as of November 4, 2010, due to diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, arthritis, neuropathy, and ruptured Achilles tendons in both legs.

FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS

After a review of the entire administrative record and the briefs filed by the parties, and pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ยง 405(g), I find that there is substantial evidence in the record to support the Commissioner's decision of non-disability and that the Commissioner's decision comports with all relevant legal standards. Anthony v. Sullivan, 954 F.2d 289, 292 (5th Cir. 1992).

In fulfillment of F.R.Civ.P. 52, I find that the Commissioner's findings and conclusions are supported by substantial evidence, which can be outlined as follows:

(1) Claimant's Medical Records.

Claimant was treated by Dr. James Noriega in 2009 for a partial Achilles tendon rupture, for which he prescribed physical therapy. (Tr. 158). After she failed to appear for her remaining three ordered and authorized visits, the physical therapist discharged her on January 4, 2010. (Tr. 163).[1]

On May 17, 2010, Dr. Noriega performed a total nail avulsion of the right great toe. (Tr. 159). Claimant canceled her last appointment. (Tr. 156).

Dr. Kenneth A. Ritter, Jr. performed a consultative examination on July 18, 2011. (Tr. 171). At that time, claimant complained of diabetes, hypertension, Achilles tendon tears causing bilateral ankle pain, stiffness and weakness, and neuropathy. She used a cane to walk, stating that her balance was off because of ankle problems. (Tr. 172). Dr. Ritter's impression was adult onset diabetes under apparently very good control, hypertension under good control, and complaints of ankle stiffness and weakness with no objective findings. (Tr. 172-73).

In the Medical Assessment of Ability to do Work-Related Activities (Physical), Dr. Ritter indicated that claimant could lift/carry up to 20 pounds occasionally and 15 pounds frequently; stand/walk for four to seven hours in an eight-hour day, and one to two hours without interruption; had no limitations as to sitting, and could rarely climb, frequently stoop and balance, and occasionally kneel, crouch and crawl. (Tr. 174).

A nerve conduction study dated March 5, 2012, showed severe peripheral polyneuropathy consistent with the history of diabetes mellitus. (Tr. 180-88).

On June 21, 2012, Dr. James M. Lipstate found that claimant was developing osteoarthritis in her hands and knees, and likely had adhesive capsulitis in the right shoulder. (Tr. 190). He noted that she had peripheral neuropathy, which was an accentuating factor for degenerative arthritis. He prescribed Naproxen, gave her samples for Cymbalta for controlling neuropathy pain and pain due to osteoarthritis, and recommended shoulder exercises.

(2) Claimant's Administrative Hearing Testimony.

At the hearing on June 13, 2012, the ALJ stated that claimant appeared pro se and had "agreed to do so." (Tr. 18). Claimant testified that she had returned to work full-time in September, 2011. (Tr. 19). She stated that she was "not being very productive right now." She reported that she had worked for the company for eight years, and she took the position although she was "hurting" and out of work.

Claimant testified that had been making about $2, 000 a month since last September. (Tr. 20). She stated that she was living in a corporate apartment on the property. She also reported that she had a home in Scott, La., in which her son resided.

Claimant stated that she had stopped working in November, 2010, because the company for which she was working closed down her apartment community. (Tr. 21). She reported that she drew unemployment until August of 2011. (Tr. 21). She testified that the company ...


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