Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Wedlaw v. Astrue

January 22, 2009

JOANN WEDLAW, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Stephen J. Hillman United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

I. PROCEEDINGS

Plaintiff filed an Application for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits on August 30, 2005, which Application was denied initially and upon reconsideration. A hearing before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") was held on March 12, 2007. Following receipt of a Decision denying benefits, plaintiff sought review to the Appeals Council. The Appeals Council declined review on December 17, 2007. This action followed. The parties filed a Joint Stipulation, and have consented to the jurisdiction of the magistrate judge. Plaintiff makes two claims of error. For the reasons shown below, the Commissioner's decision denying benefits is affirmed.

II. DISCUSSION

ISSUE No. 1

Plaintiff asserts that the ALJ improperly evaluated whether plaintiff met or equaled Listing 1.02. First, Plaintiff asserts that she meets or equals the requirements of Listing 1.02 because in 2001 she was found to have degenerative joint disease of the right knee, and in 2005 she was found with the inability to walk on uneven terrain. Plaintiff also asserts that her right ankle, which she fractured and had surgery on prior to 2005, causes problems that contribute to her disability. Thus, according to plaintiff, the dysfunctions in her right knee and ankle resulted in the inability to ambulate effectively.

Second, plaintiff asserts that because she suffers from obesity, the ALJ should have considered it as a factor in determining whether she meets or equals Listing 1.02. Plaintiff asserts that the ALJ's awareness of plaintiff's weight at the hearing, and the absence of discussion regarding obesity in his decision, indicates that he failed to satisfy his burden.

Listing 1.02 requires the following:

"1.02 Major dysfunction of a joint(s) (due to any cause): Characterized by gross anatomical deformity (e.g., subluxation, contracture, bony or fibrous ankylosis, instability) and chronic joint pain and stiffness with signs of limitation of motion or other abnormal motion of the affected joint(s), and findings on appropriate medically acceptable imaging of joint space narrowing, bony destruction, or ankylosis of the affected joint(s). With:

A. Involvement of one major peripheral weight-bearing joint (i.e. , hip, knee, or ankle), resulting in inability to ambulate effectively, as defined in 1.00B2b[.]" 20. C.F.R. § 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 § 1.02.

Plaintiff's Right Knee Condition

The record indicates that at least from 2001 to the time of the hearing in 2007, plaintiff's primary place of diagnosis and treatment was the Martin Luther King Jr./ Drew Medical Center ("MLK"). On January 11, 2001, Dr. J. Owens and Dr. A. Boorman, physicians from MLK, jointly prepared a reading of the AP and lateral views of the right knee. They found plaintiff's bone mineral density and bony trabecular pattern to be within normal limits; no acute fractures, sublaxations, or dislocations; anatomic alignment; unremarkable soft issue structures; and the absence of radiopaque foreign bodies. AR 153. The findings also noted asymmetric narrowing of the femoral tibial compartments, with lateral being greater than medial, as well as osteophytes on the tibial eminences. Based on these findings, the doctors concluded an impression of degenerative joint disease of the right knee. AR 153.

On July 20, 2001, Dr. J. Owens and Dr. Thuyen Tran, also a MLK physician, prepared a reading of x-rays of both knees. They found moderate narrowing of the lateral compartments of both the left and right knee; mild narrowing of the medial compartments of both the left and right knee; moderate narrowing of the patellofemoral spaces bilaterally; spurring of the tibial eminences bilaterally; bony structures that demonstrate a normal density and trabecular pattern; no fractures, sublaxations, or dislocations; no intra-articular loose bodies and no foreign body; and that the soft tissues appear normal. Based on these findings, the doctors concluded an impression of degenerative joint disease of both knees. AR 144.

On June 6, 2005, Dr. Satish Kadaba of East West Medical Group conducted a complete orthopedic evaluation of plaintiff at the request of the Department of Social Services. AR 78. There were no medical records available for review at this appointment. Dr. Kadaba performed a physical examination regarding all areas of complaint. Specifically regarding the right knee, he found that the flexion was 0-140ยง, but otherwise normal . AR 81. Dr. Kadaba noted crepitation on the right patella and pain on range of motion of the right knee. Dr. Kadaba also ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.