United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
F. LEESON, JR. United States District Judge.
NOW, this 20th day of June, 2017, upon
consideration of Plaintiff Paula Stewart's Complaint, ECF
No. 1, Defendant Carolyn Colvin's Answer, ECF No. 7,
Stewart's Motion for Summary Judgment and Brief and
Statement of Issues in Support of Request for Review, ECF No.
8, Colvin's Response to Request for Review, ECF No. 9,
and Stewart's Reply, ECF No. 13, and after de novo
review of the Report and Recommendation
(“R&R”) of David R. Strawbridge, United
States Magistrate Judge, ECF No. 15, Stewart's Objections
to the R&R, ECF No. 16, Colvin's Response to the
Objections, ECF No. 18, Stewart's Reply, ECF No. 19, and
the complete Administrative Record, ECF No. 6,  IT IS ORDERED
Stewart's Objections to the Report and Recommendation,
ECF No. 16, are OVERRULED.
Court adopts the R&R issued by Magistrate Judge
Strawbridge, and writes separately only to address a few of
Plaintiff's objections to the R&R.
Stewart objects and argues that it was inconsistent for
Magistrate Judge Strawbridge to “discount” Dr.
Park's records that were based on a single visit but to
not do the same for Dr. McMillan. Pl.'s Obj. 5, ECF No.
16. Stewart asserts that more weight should have been given
to Dr. Park's opinion that Stewart was unable to work
because Dr. Park had repeated his opinion multiple times over
the course of a year. Id. Dr. Park gave his opinion
on March 13, 2006, that Stewart was disabled due to lumbar
spine discogenic pain, L4-5 disc disease beginning January 9,
2006, and reconfirmed this opinion on July 14, 2006, and
March 2, 2007. R. 23.
to Stewart's argument, some treating source opinions,
including opinions of “disability” or an
“inability to work, ” are not controlling or even
considered medical opinions. 20 C.F.R § 404.1527(d)
(2017). Magistrate Judge Strawbridge did not err by finding
that “the forms completed by Dr. Park and his note
excusing Stewart from work do not reflect any awareness of
what Stewart's work entailed or what capacities were
necessary, nor did he document particular limitations
pertinent to her work. R&R 17, ECF No. 15. Pursuant to 20
C.F.R. § 404.1527(c)(3), “[t]he better an
explanation a source provides for an opinion, the more weight
we will give that opinion.” 20 C.F.R. §
404.1527(c)(3) (2017). Dr. Park did not give an explanation
of his opinions in regards to why Stewart would not be able
to work. After de novo review, this Court adopts Magistrate
Judge Strawbridge's findings and recommendations that the
record permitted the Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) to give Dr. Park's opinion's
regarding an inability to work no probative weight.
Stewart asserts that less weight should have been given to
Dr. McMillan, who also based his opinion on a single visit.
Pl.'s Obj. 5, ECF No. 16. Pursuant to 20 C.F.R. §
404.1527(c)(1), Dr. McMillan is an examining source because
he examined Stewart. Magistrate Judge Strawbridge correctly
found that Dr. McMillan's opinion regarding Stewart's
limitation showed “supportability” in that he
presented relevant findings. R&R 19. Supportability is
described as “[t]he more a medical source presents
relevant evidence to support an opinion, particularly medical
signs and laboratory findings, the more weight we will give
that opinion, ” and “[t]he better an explanation
a source provides for an opinion, the more weight we will
give that opinion.” 20 C.F.R. § 404.1527(c)(3)
(2017). Dr. McMillan noted that Stewart was able to walk in
the exam room without the use of her four-wheeled walker she
brought with her; she was able to get on and off of the
examination table; and she could go from a sitting to a
supine position without assistance. R. 296. Dr. McMillan
opined that based on Stewart's history and the
examination Stewart could do light work and would need use of
an ambulatory device for long distances, but would not be
able to engage in activities that require frequent bending,
stooping, crouching, climbing, or kneeling. R. 297. Thus,
this Court agrees that the ALJ did not err in giving
“substantial probative weight” to the statement
of Dr. McMillan.
Report and Recommendation, ECF No. 15, is APPROVED and
Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment and Petition for
Review, ECF No. 8, is DENIED.
final order of the Commissioner of Social Security is
Judgment is ENTERED in favor of Defendant Carolyn W. Colvin,
Acting Commissioner of Social Security, and against Plaintiff
case is CLOSED.