United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Southern Division
ROBERT K. WILSON PLAINTIFF
CAROLYN W. COLVIN DEFENDANT
OPINION AND ORDER
Michael T. Parker United States Magistrate Judge.
Robert Keith Wilson brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g) seeking judicial review of a final decision of
the Commissioner of Social Security Administration denying
Wilson's claim for disability insurance benefits and
supplemental security income. The matter is now before the
Court on the Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment
. Having considered the pleadings, the record, and the
applicable law, the Court finds that the Plaintiff's
Motion for Summary Judgment  should be DENIED, the
Commissioner's final decision should be AFFIRMED, and
this action should be DISMISSED.
December 20, 2012, Plaintiff applied for disability insurance
benefits and supplemental security income payments under the
Social Security Act, alleging disability as of April 15,
2012, due to “numbness from nose to toes, neuropathy,
depression, headache, ” dizzy spells, memory loss, and
acid reflux. See  at 57. Plaintiff's claim
was denied initially on May 16, 2013, and upon
reconsideration on August 9, 2013. Id. at 103.
Thereafter, he requested a hearing before an Administrative
Law Judge (“ALJ”). Id. at 8. On
September 23, 2014, a hearing was convened before ALJ Laurie
H. Porciello. Id. at 29. The ALJ heard testimony
from Plaintiff and Ray Burger, a vocational expert.
Id. at 30. On February 19, 2015, the ALJ issued a
decision finding that Plaintiff was not disabled.
Id. at 13. Plaintiff appealed the ALJ's
decision, and on April 15, 2016, the Appeals Council denied
review, rendering the ALJ's decision the final Agency
decision. Id. at 5.
filed the complaint appealing that decision in this Court on
August 17, 2016. See . The Commissioner answered
the complaint, denying that Plaintiff is entitled to any
relief. See . Plaintiff has now moved for
Summary Judgment . The parties briefed the issues in this
matter pursuant to the Court's Order , and the matter
is now ripe for decision.
AND MEDICAL HISTORY
was 41 years old at his alleged disability onset date.
See  at 37. He completed two and a half years of
college and previously worked as a table game dealer in a
casino. Id. According to Plaintiff, he has a history
of back pain and spasms, leg pain, and pain and numbness in
his hands and feet related to polyneuropathy,  cervicalgia,
cervical radiculopathy,  lumbago,  lumbar radiculopathy,
bulging discs in the lumbar spine with nerve root compression
at ¶ 3. Id. at 326-337. Additionally, he claims
to have neuralgia,  restless leg syndrome, hypertension,
headaches, depression, and insomnia. Id.
November and December 2010, Plaintiff sought treatment from
Timothy J. Murphy, D.C., a chiropractor, for lower back pain,
left side sciatica, and possible discopathy. Id. at
240-44. In December 2010, Plaintiff spoke to Dr. Joseph D.
Hull at Primary Care Medical Center PLLC and complained of
sciatica and pain radiating down his hip to his thigh and
knee. Id. at 245-53. Between January and April 2012,
Plaintiff sought treatment from Dr. Edward Aldridge at Oncall
Medical Clinic for back, foot, and neck pain and bilateral
arm numbness radiating down to the fingers. Id. Dr.
Aldridge diagnosed Plaintiff with back pain and depression.
January and April 2012, Dr. Hull assessed idiopathic
peripheral neuropathy and recommended that Plaintiff see a
neurologist. Id. at 286. In February 2013, Plaintiff
complained of ongoing numbness in his extremities and short
term memory issues, and Dr. Hull assessed hypertension,
polyneuropathy, and organic periodic limb movement sleep
disorder. Id. at 281. Dr. Hull referred Plaintiff to
neurologist Dr. Diane Ross. Id.
3, 2013, Plaintiff saw Dr. Ross with complaints of numbness
and tingling. Id. at 22, 328. He described the
numbness and tingling as a severe dull aching. Id.
He stated the pain was a sharp, stabbing, piercing, shooting,
and burning sensation. Id. Dr. Ross found that
Plaintiff had decreased perception to light touch and
observed his gait to be “reeling, ” slow, and
unsteady. Id. She diagnosed him with progressive
idiopathic neuropathy due to alcohol use and a displacement
of a lumbar disc without myelopathy. Id.
24, 2013, Dr. Ross completed a residual functional capacity
form and stated that Plaintiff had progressive idiopathic
neuropathy, persistent insomnia, polyneuropathy, lumbago, B
complex deficiency, alcoholic polyneuropathy, and lumbar disc
displacement. Id. at 23; 342. Dr. Ross noted the
Plaintiff's polyneuropathy, back pain, and leg weakness
prevented him from standing for six to eight hours and
recommended minimal standing time. Id. at 23;
343-44. Dr. Ross reported that he could rarely reach above
his shoulders, reach down to waist level, reach down towards
the floor, or carefully handle objects. Id. at 23;
344. She opined that Plaintiff could not bend, squat, or
kneel and could only turn parts of his body with difficulty.
Id. at 23; 345. She stated that Plaintiff could not
drive because he could not feel the pedals and could not sit
for long periods of time. Id. Dr. Ross also opined
that Plaintiff's pain was daily, severe, and unlikely to
change. Id. at 23; 345-46.
of Plaintiff's lumbar spine showed mild degenerative
changes, but the disc spaces were adequate and there were no
acute abnormalities. Id. at 23; 319. A magnetic
resonance imaging scan (“MRI”) of his lumbar
spine showed L3-4 left lateral disc protrusion, compressing
the existing L3 nerve root; L5-S1 subligamentous disc
protrusion, without focal neural compression; and bilateral
L4-5 annulus tears. Id. at 23; 338.
April 24, 2013, Dr. Harold Todd Coulter examined Plaintiff on
a consultative basis. Id. at 23; 321. Plaintiff
stated that he was not able to sit or stand for 15 minutes at
a time. Id. Dr. Coulter noted that Plaintiff walked
into the examination room without assistance, sat comfortably
across from the examiner, and was able to get on and off the
examination table. Id. at 23; 322. Dr. Coulter
observed that all range of motion measurements were found to
be within normal limits. Id. at 23; 323. On physical
examination, there was no evidence of a positive
Tinel's or Phalen's sign or any relevant
testing. Id. Additionally, Dr. Coulter stated that
there was no evidence of any paravertebral muscle spasm,
tenderness, crepitus, effusion, or deformity. Id.
Motor strength was 5/5 in the upper extremities and his grip
strength was 5/5. Id. No weakness or atrophy was
noted by Dr. Coulter. Id. Dr. Coulter found
Plaintiff capable of lifting and carrying 50 pounds
occasionally and 25 pounds frequently and did not find any
other limitations. Id.
agency consultant, Dr. Madena Gibson, reviewed
Plaintiff's medications and medical records as of May 15,
2013. Id. at 23; 57. She found Plaintiff capable of
performing medium exertional work with occasional climbing of
ramps and stairs but no climbing of ladders, ropes, or
scaffolds. Id. at 23; 64. Additionally, she found
Plaintiff capable of occasional balancing, stooping,
kneeling, crouching, and crawling, but she stated that
Plaintiff should avoid exposure to hazards such as moving
machinery and unprotected heights. Id. Dr. Robert
Culpepper, a consultative physician, affirmed Dr.
Gibson's opinion on August 9, 2013. Id. at 23;
Harrell v. Bowen, the Fifth Circuit detailed the
shifting burden of proof that applies to disability
individual applying for disability and SSI benefits bears the
initial burden of proving that he is disabled for purposes of
the Social Security Act. Once the claimant satisfies his
initial burden, the [Commissioner] then bears the burden of
establishing that the claimant is capable of performing
substantial gainful activity and therefore, not disabled. In
determining whether or not a claimant is capable of
performing substantial gainful activity, the [Commissioner]
utilizes a five-step sequential procedure set forth in 20
C.F.R. § 404.1520(b)-(f) (1988):
1. An individual who is working and engaging in substantial
gainful activity will not be found disabled regardless of the
2. An individual who does not have a ‘severe
impairment' will not be found to be disabled.
3. An individual who meets or equals a listed impairment in
Appendix 1 of the regulations will be considered disabled