United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
LAWRENCE F. STENGEL, C.J.
NOW, this 19th day of April, 2018, upon
independent consideration of the plaintiff's request for
review (Doc. No. 15), the defendant's response (Doc. No.
16), and the plaintiff's reply (Doc. No. 18), and after
review of the thorough and well-reasoned Report &
Recommendation of U.S. Magistrate Judge Carol Sandra Moore
Wells, IT IS ORDERED that:
1. Upon de novo review, plaintiff's objections
2. The Report & Recommendation is
APPROVED and ADOPTED; 2.
The plaintiff's request for review is
DENIED; 4. Judgment is entered in favor of
the defendant; and 5. The Clerk of Court shall mark this case
 Plaintiff timely filed Objections to
the Report and Recommendation on April 6, 2018. For the
following reasons, I will overrule the Objections, approve
and adopt the Report and Recommendation, and enter judgment
in favor of the defendant.
I will review de novo the portions of the
Report and Recommendation to which plaintiff objects and I
may “accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part,
the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate
judge.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).
Plaintiff's sole objection concerns Judge
Wells' finding that the ALJ committed no error by
disregarding plaintiff's physical impairments and, more
specifically, plaintiff's bilateral carpal tunnel
syndrome. It is undisputed that plaintiff did not allege that
her physical impairments were disabling. And yet, plaintiff
argues that “it is possible that her physical
impairments, when combined with her mental impairments, could
have resulted in a finding at Step 5 that there was no work
Plaintiff could perform.” (Objections at P. 2.) Judge
Wells concluded that the ALJ did not err in evaluating
plaintiff's Residual Functional Capacity
(“RFC”), reasoning that “plaintiff
confirmed that she was not disabled based upon any physical
impairment.” (Report and Recommendation at 9) (citing
Rutherford v. Barnhart, 399 F.3d 546, 556 (3d Cir.
I find that Judge Wells did not err in concluding that
the ALJ committed no error in her RFC assessment. It is
well-established that “the determination of [a]
claimant's RFC is the exclusive responsibility of the ALJ
. . . [and] the ALJ need only include in the RFC those
limitations which he finds credible.” Garrett v.
Commissioner of Social Sec., 274 Fed.Appx. 159, 2008 WL
1748284 (3d Cir. April 17, 2008). An ALJ may conclude that a
claimant has mild limitations at step two of the analysis,
but then conclude that these limitations do not require any
necessary restrictions in the RFC analysis. Bullock v.
Colvin, 2015 WL 3999520 (E.D.Pa. Jul. 1, 2015); see
also Kelly v. Colvin, 2014 WL 4925089 n. 1 (W.D.Pa.
September 30, 2014) (an ALJ's finding that plaintiff had
mild limitations of concentration, persistence or pace in his
paragraph B analysis at step two did not require the ALJ to
incorporate some restriction into the RFC. “[T]he ALJ
explained that those findings were not an RFC assessment and
found that plaintiff's depression did not cause more than
minimal limitations in plaintiff's ability to perform
basic mental work activities.”).
Here, at step two, the ALJ found that plaintiff's
mood disorder was a severe impairment. The ALJ also expressly
analyzed plaintiff's physical impairments and concluded
that these were not severe. Then, the ALJ provided an
extensive RFC assessment that considered “all
symptoms” and concluded that plaintiff was capable of
the full range of work with non-exertional limitations. The
record does not suggest that the ALJ ignored evidence of
plaintiff's physical impairments. See Bullock,
2015 WL 3999520 at *9. What is more, the plaintiff did not
allege that her carpel tunnel syndrome was a severe
impairment. In fact, plaintiff testified that there were no
physical impairments that affected her ability to return to
work. (R. 64.) I find that the ALJ did not err in concluding
that although plaintiff had “some physical
impairments” these did not cause more than minimal
limitations and did not require a restriction in the RFC
Plaintiff submits that Judge Wells' reliance on
Rutherford is misplaced arguing that here, unlike in
Rutherford, there is evidence of plaintiff's
“significant physical limitations.” (Objections
at P. 2.) Plaintiff points to EMG test results that
demonstrated “mild carpal tunnel syndrome on the right,
and nothing on the left, though Dr. Margraf noted carpal
tunnel syndrome on the left could not be ruled out as a
possibility.” (Id.) This limited evidence
hardly demonstrates “significant physical
limitations” and does not undermine the ALJ's
credibility determination that plaintiff's alleged
physical impairments, including carpal tunnel syndrome, did
not require a restriction in the RFC.
I find that the ALJ appropriately considered all of
plaintiff's severe and non-severe limitations, and the
RFC assessment is supported by substantial evidence.