United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS
S. VANCE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Court, having reviewed de novo the
complaint, plaintiff’s motion for summary
judgment, defendant’s cross-motion for summary
judgment,the record, the applicable law, the
Magistrate Judge’s Report and
Recommendation, and plaintiff’s
objections, hereby approves the Magistrate
Judge’s Report and Recommendation and adopts it as its
has three objections to the Report and Recommendation. First,
plaintiff argues that the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)
erred in according little weight to the opinion of
plaintiff’s treating psychiatrist, Dr.
Jackson. Dr. Jackson completed two check-the-box
mental capacity assessments indicating that plaintiff has
moderate to marked limitations in understanding, remembering,
and carrying out simple instructions and marked to extreme
limitations in social interaction, concentration,
persistence, and adaption. The ALJ concluded that these
limitations were not consistent with Dr. Jackson’s own
treatment notes reflecting the plaintiff’s intact
thought processes and cooperative behavior, were contradicted
by and outweighed by the opinion of examining physician Dr.
Arseneau, and were inconsistent with other evidence in the
argues that Dr. Jackson’s opinion was supported by
treatment notes indicating flashbacks, paranoid delusions,
intrusive thoughts, nightmares, an up-and-down mood, and only
fair judgment and insight.But these symptoms do not directly
relate to plaintiff’s concentration and persistence or
his ability to understand, remember, and carry out
instructions. Moreover, the ALJ took into account
plaintiff’s psychiatric concerns in concluding that he
suffers from a severe impairment of anxiety disorder that
somewhat limits his ability to engage in direct contact with
others. The Magistrate Judge properly concluded
that the ALJ had good cause to accord little weight to Dr.
Jackson’s opinion because it was conclusory and
unsupported by evidence. See Newton v. Apfel, 209
F.3d 448, 456 (5th Cir. 2000); Leggett v. Chater, 67
F.3d 558, 566 (5th Cir. 1995).
plaintiff contends that the ALJ erred in giving limited
weight to the opinion of his treating physician Dr.
Gaines. The ALJ found that some of the
exertional limitations identified by Dr. Gaines were
inconsistent with the objective evidence, including
examination records indicating plaintiff’s minimally
restricted range of motion and plaintiff’s ability to
walk without assistance. The ALJ pointed to specific medical
evidence in the record, including the findings of examining
physician Dr. Bienert, to support the conclusion that
plaintiff does not experience all the exertional limitations
identified by Dr. Gaines. The Magistrate Judge correctly
found that substantial evidence supports the weight that the
ALJ accorded to the opinions of both Dr. Jackson and Dr.
plaintiff objects to the ALJ’s credibility
findings. The ALJ concluded that plaintiff’s
statements about the intensity and persistence of his
symptoms were not entirely credible because, among other
reasons, plaintiffs account was inconsistent with his mild
clinical findings and his minimal or delayed
treatment. The ALJ also noted that plaintiffs
credibility was diminished by his use of a cane during
consultative examinations despite his observed ability to
walk without assistance.Contrary to plaintiffs
contentions, the ALJ did not base her credibility
finding only or primarily on plaintiffs ability to engage in
daily activities. The ALJ had the “benefit of
perceiving first-hand the claimant at the hearing” and
was best positioned to make credibility determinations.
Falco v. Shalala, 27 F.3d 160, 165, 164 n.18 (5th
Cir. 1994). The Court finds that the ALJ’s denial of
plaintiffs claim was supported by substantial evidence.
defendant’s cross-motion for summary judgment is
GRANTED. Plaintiffs motion for summary judgment is DENIED and
plaintiffs complaint is DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
 R. Doc. 1.
 R. Doc. 12.
 R. Doc. 15.
 R. Doc. 16.