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Worrell v. Colvin

United States District Court, Southern District of Mississippi, Northern Division

February 20, 2015

VICTOR L. WORRELL
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY

ORDER ACCEPTING MAGISTRATE JUDGE’S RECOMMENDATION

KEITH STARRETT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

This cause is before the Court on Commissioner’s’s Motion to Affirm [10], Report and Recommendation by Magistrate Judge Michael T. Parker [14], Objection to Report and Recommendation [15] filed by Victor Worrell, Reply thereto filed by Commissioner Colvin [16], and the Court considering the pleadings, the record, and said documents, does hereby find as follows:

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On September 27, 2011, Plaintiff applied for disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income, alleging disability as of August 15, 2009, due to mental impairment. (Administrative Record [8] at 55-56, 170-77.)[1] Plaintiff’s claim was denied initially and upon reconsideration. ([8] at 25-26, 178-79.) Thereafter, Plaintiff requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”).

On February 25, 2013, a hearing was convened before ALJ Willie L. Rose. The ALJ heard testimony from Plaintiff and Bruce Braumer, a vocational expert (“VE”). ([8] at 190-202.)

On April 3, 2013, the ALJ issued a finding that Plaintiff was not disabled. ([8] at 16-24.) Plaintiff appealed this decision and submitted additional evidence to the Appeals Council. The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff’s request for review, rendering the ALJ’s decision the final decision of the Commissioner. ([8] at 7-11.)

On December 2, 2013, Plaintiff filed a Complaint in this Court, seeking an order reversing the Commissioner’s final decision and directing the Commissioner to award benefits to Plaintiff. (Complaint [1].) The Commissioner answered the Complaint, denying that Plaintiff is entitled to any relief. (Answer [7].) The parties have briefed the issues in dispute, and this matter is now ripe for decision.

II. ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE’S REVIEW

Plaintiff was fifty-two years old at the time of the hearing before the ALJ. ([8] at 193.) He completed the third grade and attended special education classes. ([8] at 109-10.) Plaintiff’s past work history includes employment as a security guard, maintenance man, construction laborer, tact welder, grass cutter, ditch digger, forklift operator, carpet cutter and loader, and janitor. ([8] at 89-96, 110.) Plaintiff worked for over thirty years and was employed at Vicksburg Chemical for approximately twenty years. ([8] at 148.) At the time Plaintiff applied for benefits, he stated that his ability to work is limited because “I cannot read at all, and cannot think clearly.” ([8] at 109.)

After applying for disability benefits, Plaintiff was referred to Dr. Joseph Dunn for a psychological evaluation. During the evaluation, Plaintiff reported no history of psychiatric hospitalization, substance abuse, or out-patient mental health treatment. Plaintiff stated that he can dress and groom himself and perform household chores. Plaintiff stated that he has a drivers license and is able to drive. Plaintiff also stated that he pays some of the household bills and is able to dial the phone, but is unable to use a phone directory. He identified his favorite activities as photography and carpentry. Plaintiff described his mood as depressed as a result of being unemployed. Plaintiff reported that he is seeking employment but has not been able to find a job. ([8] at 148-50.)

Dr. Dunn administered the WAIS-IV intelligence test, and Plaintiff received a Full Scale I.Q. of 65, Verbal Comprehension score of 66, Perceptual Reasoning score of 79, Working Memory score of 71, and Processing Speed score of 62. However, Dr. Dunn indicated that the results appeared to be a “slightly low estimate” of Plaintiff’s level of functioning. Dr. Dunn concluded that Plaintiff has a learning disorder and suffers from “[m]ild mental retardation versus borderline intellectual functioning.” ([8] at 148-50.)

III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

When a party objects to a Report and Recommendation this Court is required to “make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). See also Longmire v. Gust, 921 F.2d 620, 623 (5th Cir. 1991) (Party is “entitled to a de novo review by an Article III Judge as to those issues to which an objection is made.”) Such review means that this Court will examine the entire record and will make an independent assessment of the law. The Court is not required, however, to reiterate the findings and conclusions of the Magistrate Judge. Koetting v. Thompson, 995 F.2d 37, 40 (5th Cir. 1993) nor need it consider objections that are frivolous, conclusive or general in nature. Battle v. United States ...


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