United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
KEITH BALL UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
cause is before the Court regarding the appeal by Lonnie
Edmonds of the Commissioner of Social Security's final
decision denying Edmonds's application for Disability
Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) and Supplemental
Security Income (ASSI") benefits. In rendering this
Memorandum Opinion and Order, the Court has carefully
reviewed the Administrative Record  regarding
Edmonds's claims (including the administrative decision,
the medical records, and a transcript of the hearing before
the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ")), Plaintiffs
Motion for Summary Judgment , Memorandum Brief , and
Defendant's Motion for an Order Affirming the
Commissioner's Decision  with supporting memorandum
. The parties have consented to proceed before the
undersigned United States Magistrate Judge, and the District
Judge has entered an Order of Reference . 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(c); Fed.R.Civ.P. 73.
reasons discussed in this Memorandum Opinion and Order, the
Court finds that the Commissioner's decision should be
affirmed. Accordingly, Plaintiffs appeal is denied, and
Defendant's Motion for an Order Affirming the Decision of
the Commissioner  is hereby granted as set forth in this
October 14, 2010, Edmonds filed for DIB and SSI, asserting an
onset date of October 1, 2009.  at 290, 326. Edmonds was born
on May 8, 1962, and he was forty-eight years of age as of the
date of his application. Id. at 321. Thus, he was
considered a “younger person” under the
regulations. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1563(c). During the
pendency of his application, he turned 50 years old, and he
became classified as a “person closely approaching
advanced age.” 20 C.F.R. § 404.1563(d). Edmonds
attended school until twelfth grade in regular classes, but
he did not graduate, and he never achieved a GED.  at 153.
In his request for disability, Edmonds alleged that he is
disabled due to a broken pelvic bone, stomach problems, chest
pain, and knee problems. Id. at 326. Edmonds last
worked in October 2009 as a chicken catcher, id. at
401, and he worked primarily in the chicken industry from
1983 to 2009. Id. at 331.
Social Security Administration denied Edmonds's
application initially and upon reconsideration. Id.
at 241, 252. Edmonds requested a hearing, which was held on
September 5, 2012. Id. at 145. On December 28, 2012,
the ALJ issued a decision finding that Edmonds was not
disabled. Id. at 221. After an appeal, the Appeals
Council remanded the case to the ALJ for reconsideration on
December 3, 2013. Id. at 236. After two more
hearings on April 15 and September 16, 2014, id. at
31-60, 80-125, with consideration of additional medical
evidence, the ALJ issued the unfavorable decision on appeal
in this case on October 14, 2014. Id. at 9.
medical records are comprised primarily of emergency room
visits and consultative examinations performed during the
application for benefits process. According to the records,
in January 2010 he told a consultative physician, Dr. William
M. Lewis, that he was unable to work because of pain in old
pelvic fractures, shortness of breath, and his right knee
giving out. Id. at 401. After examining Edmonds, Dr.
Lewis gave the following diagnoses: hypertension, cigarette
smoker, dizziness of unknown cause, osteoarthritis of the
right knee, sacroiliac and posterior iliac crest pain since a
fracture greater than ten years prior to the examination, and
status postop laparotomy for stab wound to the abdomen.
Id. at 403.
30, 2010, Edmonds sought emergency care when a log rolled
onto his left foot. Id. at 448. X-rays taken at that
time showed no abnormality, but the examining doctor fitted
him with an orthopedic splint, gave him pain medication, and
concluded that Edmonds had fractured his left foot.
Id. at 447, 449. Three days later, complaining of
pain and swelling in his left foot, Edmonds sought care from
the University of Mississippi Medical Center
(“UMMC”). Id. at 409. X-rays at that
time showed closed fractures of the left fourth metatarsal,
left first cuneiform, and left second cuneiform. Id.
at 411. He was discharged with instructions to follow up with
the University orthopedics clinic two weeks later.
Id. He testified that doctors fitted him with a boot
that he wore about six months, and that he took it off on his
own when it improved. Id. at 161.
January 26, 2011, consultative x-ray of his left knee showed
mild to moderate arthritis, a “bony protuberance
arising off the outer margin of the superior portion of the
medial femoral condyle, ” and a small calcification
that reflected a chronic MCL injury. Id. at 430.
2, 2011, Edmonds was treated for closed fractures of his
right fibula and tibia. Id. at 443-445, 451, 459.
The medical records indicate that Edwards sustained the
injuries when he fell off a horse, but Edwards testified that
he was trampled by some horses and cows. Id. at
163-166. One day later, he underwent surgery in which doctors
at UMMC inserted a plate to reduce the fractures and aid in
healing. Id. at 519-522. The records indicate that
he sought follow-up care from UMMC, and June 9, 2011,
doctor's notes indicate that he was “doing well
overall.” Id. at 533.
Edmonds's first hearing on September 5, 2012, the ALJ
ordered consultative x-rays. On September 26, 2012, x-rays
were obtained of Edmonds's right and left knees, and his
spine at the Madison River Oaks Medical Center. Id.
at 541. The radiologist found “[m]ild tricompartmental
degenerative change” present about both knees.
Id. In addition, the radiologist noted a healing
fracture on the right proximal fibula, but also commented
that the area was only partially imaged. Id. The
doctor recommended formal imaging of the fibula. Id.
The x-rays of the lumbar spine revealed “a number of
chronic changes, but no acute pathology” was
identified. Id. at 546. On the same date, a CT of
the head without contrast was performed and indicated
“no acute intracranial abnormality.” Id.
Robert E. Tatum performed consultative orthopedic
examinations of Edmonds on October 6, 2012, and May 10, 2014.
Id. at 553, 580. In October 2012, Dr. Tatum's
impression was that Edmonds's history of a fractured
pelvis was a mild impairment to him, although he had some
arthritic complaints. Id. at 555. Dr. Tatum gauged
Edmonds's right knee problem, status post-surgery, to be
a moderate impairment “with respect to bending,
standing, stooping, lifting, reaching, pushing, pulling,
kneeling, crouching, etc.” Id. The doctor also
found that the right knee problem affects Edmonds's
“ability to reach, push, pull, stand, lift, etc.”
Id. As an orthopedist, Dr. Tatum noted Edmonds's
complaints of chest pain and recommended further evaluation
of the complaints. Id.
part of the exam, Dr. Tatum completed a “Medical Source
Statement (Physical).” Id. at 549-552. Dr.
Tatum found that Edmonds could occasionally lift and carry
(including upward pulling) a maximum of twenty (20) pounds
for a total of about one-third of an eight-hour workday.
Id. at 550. The doctor stated that Edmonds could
frequently lift and carry a minimum of ten (10) pounds for a
total of about two-thirds of an eight-hour workday.
Id. Dr. Tatum found that Plaintiff could stand and
walk a total of three hours in an eight-hour work day, for
thirty (30) minutes without interruption. Id. He
also concluded that Edmonds did not need the use of a cane to
ambulate. Id. The doctor described that Edmonds
could sit for a total of five hours and forty-five (45)
minutes without interruption. Id. at 549.
Tatum found that Edmonds's postural activities were
affected by his physical condition. The physician concluded
that Edmonds should balance and crawl only occasionally
during the day. And he determined that Edmonds should never
climb, stoop, crouch, or kneel. Id.
Tatum found that Edmonds's physical functions were also
limited by his impairments. Edmonds's reaching,
pushing/pulling, and seeing were described as occasionally
limited. Id. at 549, 551. The doctor determined that
Edmonds's handling (gross manipulation) and fingering
(fine manipulation) were frequently limited by his
impairments. Id. The doctor marked that
Edmonds's feeling (skin receptors) were constantly
affected by his condition. Id. at 551. The doctor
found that Plaintiff's hearing and speaking were not
affected by his impairments. Id. He commented that
the patient has moderate osteoarthritis in hands, shoulders,
and knees, supported by clinical findings of decreased range
of movement in hands, knees, and hips, as well as crepitation
in right greater than left knee, and right greater than left
shoulder, with tenderness in his joints. Id.
doctor also concluded that the following environmental
restrictions were caused by his impairments: heights, moving
machinery, and temperature extremes. Id. at 552. Dr.
Tatum found no environmental restrictions regarding dust,
odors, fumes, pulmonary irritants, noise, humidity, and
vibration. Id. Dr. Tatum determined that the
limitations, to the degree listed in the report, are normally
expected from the type and severity of the diagnoses in the
case. Id. The doctor stated that the diagnoses in
the case were confirmed by objective findings. Id.
He also stated that he did not base his opinion on the
patient's subjective complaints. Id.
May 10, 2014, consultative evaluation of Edmonds, Dr. Tatum
again noted Edmonds's history of a broken pelvis,
characterizing it as a “mild impairment to the claimant
who would benefit from being on nonsteroidal
anti-inflammatory medications.” Id. at 582.
The doctor stated that Edmonds's knee problems were a
“moderate impairment to the claimant with respect to
standing, sitting, squatting, stopping, etc. He likely has
some ligament laxity that is noted.” Id. Dr.
Tatum described claimant's chest pain as “more mild
in nature and likely what the claimant needs is an EKG and/or
some lab work to assess for cardiovascular disease.”
Id. Dr. Tatum stated that a chest x-ray would be
“appropriate, ” related that he could give no
further assessment as to cardiovascular issues, and stated
that claimant's history of hypertension “also
likely plays as well.” Id.
addition, Dr. Tatum also completed another “Medical
Source Statement (Physical).” Id. at 584. In
the May 2014 assessment, Dr. Tatum found that some of
Edmonds's conditions had degraded from the October 2012
evaluation, while others had improved. Dr. Tatum determined
that Edmonds could occasionally lift and carry (including
upward pulling) a maximum of ten (10) pounds for a total of
about one-third of an eight-hour workday. Id. at
584. The doctor found that he could not assess Edmonds's
ability to frequently lift and carry. Id. On the
other hand, Dr. Tatum concluded that Plaintiff could stand
and walk a total of four hours in an eight-hours work day,
for thirty (30) minutes without interruption, versus the
total of three hours that he found in 2012. Id. Dr.
Tatum again discussed that Edmonds did not need the use of a
cane to ambulate, and he also found that Edmonds could use
his free hand to carry small objects, whereas in 2012, the
doctor did not complete that part of the form. Id.
at 584, 585. The doctor reasoned that Edmonds could sit for a
total of six hours, and one hour without interruption, which
was an improvement. Id. at 585.
2014, Dr. Tatum found that Edmonds's postural activities
were affected by his physical condition. The physician
determined that Edmonds should balance, crouch, and kneel
only occasionally during the day. He also noted that Edmonds
should never climb, stoop, or crawl. Id.
Tatum again concluded in 2014 that Edmonds's physical
functions were also limited by his impairments. Edmonds's
reaching and pushing/pulling were described as occasionally
limited. Id. at 585-586. The doctor determined that
Edmonds's handling (gross manipulation), fingering (fine
manipulation), feeling (skin receptors), seeing, hearing, and
speaking were not limited by the impairments. Id.
doctor also determined that the following environmental
restrictions were caused by his impairments: heights, moving
machinery, temperature extremes, and humidity. Id.
at 587. Dr. Tatum found no environmental restrictions
regarding dust, odors, fumes, pulmonary irritants, noise, and
vibration. Id. Dr. Tatum confirmed, once again, that
the limitations, to the degree listed in the report, are
normally expected from the type and severity of the diagnoses
in the case. Id. The doctor stated that the
diagnoses in the case were confirmed by objective findings,
and he again stated that he did not base his opinion on the
patient's subjective complaints. Id.
meantime, Edmonds was involved in an all-terrain vehicle
accident on August 31, 2013, in which he suffered a closed
“comminuted fracture of the distal radius with palmar
displacement and angulation of the distal fracture fragments,
” or a fractured left wrist. Id. at 562.
Bullet fragments were also identified within the soft tissue
of his left hand. Id. He was initially treated at
the Baptist Medical Center - Leake, located in Carthage,
Mississippi. Id. Four days later, he sought
treatment for worsening pain related to this injury at UMMC.
Id. 564-574. Doctors confirmed the fractures with
additional x-rays, fitted him with another splint, discharged
him with pain medications, and directed him to follow up with
the hand clinic in one week. Id. at 566, 570.
5, 2014, x-rays were taken of Edmonds's left wrist and
both knees. Id. at 577-578. Based on the three views
taken of the left wrist, the radiologist noted a
“cortical irregularity about the distal radial
metaphysis consistent with a fracture” and evidence of
an old healed fracture of the proximal 4th
metacarpal. Id. at 577. The radiologist also noted
several small metallic densities along the mid hand, which
were previously identified as bullet fragments. Id.
at 562, 577.