United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, London
MARVIN G. WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
C. REEVES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is pending for consideration of cross-motions for
summary judgment filed by Plaintiff Marvin G. Williams
[Record No. 12] and Defendant Nancy A. Berryhill, Acting
Commissioner of Social Security (“the
Commissioner”) [Record No. 15]. The Commissioner's
motion will be granted and the relief that Williams seeks
will be denied for the reasons that follow.
filed applications for disability insurance benefits
(“DIB”) and supplemental security income
(“SSI”) in June 2013, alleged a disability onset
date of February 6, 2013. [Tr. 242] The applications were
denied initially and on reconsideration. [Tr. 172, 179]
Williams requested an administrative hearing, which was held
on January 29, 2015, before Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) Roger Lott. [Tr. 70-118, 194] ALJ Lott
determined that Williams had not been disabled from the
alleged onset date through the date of his decision, May 15,
2015. [Tr. 65] The Appeals Council denied review. [Tr. 1]
Williams has exhausted his administrative remedies and this
case is ripe for review pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g)
was 47 years old on the alleged onset date of disability.
[Tr. 242] He has a tenth-grade education a prior work
experience as a water treatment worker, sewage disposal
worker, maintenance worker, milling machine operator,
janitor, supervisor, forklift operator, and lumber handler.
[Tr. 307, 113] Williams alleged that he became disabled due
to hypertension, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary
disease (“COPD”), and heart failure. [Tr. 306]
Georges Damaa began treating Williams for complaints of chest
and right arm pain in August 2012. [Tr. 356-371] Dr. Damaa
diagnosed Williams during the August visit with ischemia.
[Tr. 358] He again saw Williams in September 2012. Following
a stress test, Dr Damma reported that Williams had
nonobstructive coronary artery disease. [Tr. 364]
Additionally, an x-ray showed no active cardiopulmonary
process with signs of chronic bronchitis. [Tr. 519] Dr. Damaa
reported that Williams's lungs were clear. [Tr. 363] In
October 2012, Dr. Damaa advised Williams, a daily cigarette
smoker, that he should refrain from smoking. [Tr. 365] Dr.
Damaa also advised Williams that he was cleared to return to
normal activity. [Id.]
pulmonary function study from January 2013 showed minimal
obstructive lung defect and that Williams's lung volume
was within the normal limits. [Tr. 420] Treatment notes from
the Clover Fork Clinic in January and February 2013 indicate
that Williams's lungs were clear without wheezes, rales,
or rhonchi and that his breathing was not labored. [Tr. 450]
He was assessed with bronchitis and benign hypertension. [Tr.
451, 456] The Clinic's physicians saw Williams in July
and August 2013 and reported that Williams continued to
smoke, that his COPD was stable, and that his lungs remained
clear without wheezes, rales, rhonchi. [Tr. 458-65] Williams
denied any side effects from his medication during this
period. [Id.] Later reports indicate that
Williams's COPD and hypertension were controlled. [Tr.
Nagabhushanam Bollavaram treated Williams for shortness of
breath associated with cough and wheezing in February 2014.
[Tr. 514] Dr. Bollavaram noted good bilateral air entry with
expiratory wheezing in all lung zones. [Tr. 516] Dr.
Bollavaram advised Williams that his problems would worsen if
he continued to smoke. [Tr. 518] Williams saw Dr. Bollavaram
again in March and reported that his breathing symptoms had
worsened. [Tr. 509] Dr. Bollavaram noted a pulmonary function
study that showed moderate COPD and no hyperinflation, no
restrictions, and normal diffusion. [Tr. 509-12] Dr.
Bollavaram concluded that Williams did not qualify for home
oxygen therapy. [Id.]
continued to obtain treatment from the Clover Fork Clinic
from September 2014 through December 2014. [Tr. 555] Williams
stated during his December 2014 visit that he was satisfied
with his current treatment. [Id.] His BMI at this
time was 38.69 kg/m2. [Id.] Treatment notes show
mild expiratory wheezes throughout the lung fields, but the
claimant had normal oxygen saturation. [Id.]
Williams denied any side effects from his medication but
continued to smoke daily. [Tr. 555, 556] Treatment notes
indicated that Williams's lungs were clear. [Tr. 556]
Williams was prescribed an albuterol inhaler, Imdur,
Neurontin, aspirin, Cozaar, Paxil, simvastatin, Daliresp,
Spiriva, Symbicort, hydroxyzine, and prednisone at this time.
agency physician Dr. Delsadie Callins concluded that Williams
had the Residual Functional Capacity (“RFC”) to
perform medium work in July 2013. [Tr. 127] Dr. Callins noted
his heart disease, COPD, obesity, and degenerative disc
disease, and applied various exertional limitations to
reflect these conditions, such as limiting the amount of time
that Williams could sit and stand or walk in an 8-hour work
day, the weight that he could lift, and his ability to climb.
[Tr. 124-25] However, Dr. Callins ultimately determined that
Williams was not disabled. [Tr. 127]
agency physician Dr. Donna Sadler also concluded that
Williams was not disabled in October 2013. [Tr. 149] She
concluded that Williams's statements regarding the
severity of his symptoms were only partially credible because
they were not consistent with the objective evidence.
[Id.] For example, Williams complained of worsening
breathing problems but medical records showed that his lungs
were clear and his breathing was not labored. [Id.]
She affirmed Dr. Callins's RFC finding. [Tr. 153]
testified during the administrative hearing before the ALJ
that he had chest pain approximately two or three times a
week and that the chest pain was generally associated with
exertion. [Tr. 89] He further stated that he has had
increasing problems breathing that result in him
“[g]etting out of breath and getting exhausted.”
[Tr. 90] Williams testified that he is able to drive, takes
care of his own personal needs, makes some of his own meals,
performs some household chores, goes grocery shopping, and
socializes with a friend occasionally. [Tr. 97-103]
vocational expert concluded that a hypothetical person of
Williams's age and education level as described by the
ALJ with various limitations on the ability to lift, move,
and breathe in certain environments, could not perform any of
Williams's past jobs. [Tr. 114] However, that there were
jobs in the national economy that Williams could perform.
found severe impairments of COPD, obesity, ischemic heart
disease, and essential hypertension. [Tr. 55] However,
Williams did not have an impairment or combination of
impairments that met or medically equaled the severity of a
listed impairment. [Tr. 58] The ALJ concluded that Williams
had the RFC to perform light work with limitations associated
with lifting, ...