United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
JOSLYN D. HOLLOWAY, Plaintiff,
ANDREW SAUL,  Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
MARILYN HEFFLEY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
D. Holloway (“Holloway” or
“Plaintiff”) seeks review, pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g), of the Commissioner of Social Security's
(“Commissioner”) decision denying her claims for
disability insurance benefits (“DIB”) pursuant to
Title II of the Social Security Act (the “Act”)
and for Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”)
pursuant to Title XVI of the Act.For the reasons discussed
below, I recommend that her Request for Review be denied.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
was born on June 5, 1988. R. at 208. She has a high school
education, id. at 212, and is able to speak, read
and understand English, id. at 210. Holloway's
past relevant work experience was as a home healthcare aide
and as a housekeeping cleaner. Id. at 213. She
applied for DIB and SSI on September 29, 2015, id.
at 14, alleging that she became disabled on July 28, 2015 due
to the following conditions: “obesity, bipolar
disorder, memory loss, acute post[-]stress disorders, acute
post[-]traumatic headaches, major depression, dysthymic
disorders, obsessions-worry, withdrawn, hostile, ”
id. at 211. At the time of her applications,
Holloway was approximately 27 years old. Id. at 27.
Holloway's applications were initially denied on May 27,
2016. Id. at 77-89, 90-102. She filed a written
request for a hearing, id. at 119-20, and an ALJ
held a hearing on her claim on February 27, 2018,
id. at 36-76. On May 30, 2018, the ALJ issued an
opinion denying Holloway's claim. Id. at 14-28.
Holloway filed an appeal with the Appeals Council, which it
denied on December 17, 2018, thereby affirming the decision
of the ALJ as the final decision of the Commissioner.
Id. at 1-7. Holloway then commenced this action in
THE ALJ'S DECISION
decision, the ALJ found that Holloway suffered from severe
impairments due to: lumbar spine degenerative disc disease,
left knee joint disease, diabetes mellitus, obesity, bipolar
disorder, depression, intellectual impairment and cannabis
use disorder. Id. at 16. The ALJ determined that
none of Holloway's impairments, nor the combination of
her impairments, met or medically equaled a listed
impairment. Id. at 17-21. The ALJ found that
Holloway had the residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) to perform:
Sedentary work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(a) and
416.967(a), meaning she can lift and carry ten pounds
occasionally, lift and carry less than ten pounds frequently,
sit for six hours, and stand and walk for two hours in and
eight-hour workday. However, she can only frequently operate
foot controls bilaterally. She can occasionally climb ramps
and stairs, balance, and stoop but never kneel, crouch,
crawl, or climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. The claimant
has no reaching, handling, fingering, feeling, visual or
communicative limitations. Additionally, she can never work
at unprotected heights and have only occasional exposure to
moving mechanical parts, humidity, wetness, extreme cold and
heat, and vibration. The claimant is also limited to simple
routine tasks, and simple work-related decisions. She can
occasionally interact with the public, supervisors, and
Id. at 21. Relying on the testimony of the
vocational expert (“VE”) who appeared at the
hearing, the ALJ determined that Holloway was capable of
performing the following occupations: type-copy examiner,
final assembler and table worker. Id. at 27.
Accordingly, the ALJ found that Holloway was not disabled and
denied her claim. Id. at 28.
HOLLOWAY'S REQUEST FOR REVIEW
Request for Review, Holloway asserts that the ALJ erred in:
(1) failing to give controlling weight to the opinion of her
treating orthopedist; (2) failing to give controlling weight
to the opinion of her treating mental health providers; and
(3) failing to properly analyze the limitations imposed by
her obesity. In addition, Holloway argues that the Appeals
Council erred in deciding that the additional evidence she
submitted after the ALJ had issued her opinion did not
warrant a remand to the ALJ for further consideration.
SOCIAL SECURITY STANDARD OF REVIEW
role of the court in reviewing an administrative decision
denying benefits in a Social Security matter is to uphold any
factual determination made by the ALJ that is supported by
“substantial evidence.” 42 U.S.C. § 405(g);
Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971);
Doak v. Heckler, 790 F.2d 26, 28 (3d Cir. 1986);
Newhouse v. Heckler, 753 F.2d 283, 285 (3d Cir.
1985). A reviewing court may not undertake a de novo review
of the Commissioner's decision in order to reweigh the
evidence. Monsour Med. Ctr. v. Heckler, 806 F.2d
1185, 1190 (3d Cir. 1986). The court's scope of review is
“limited to determining whether the Commissioner
applied the correct legal standards and whether the record,
as a whole, contains substantial evidence to support the
Commissioner's finding of fact.” Schwartz v.
Halter, 134 F.Supp.2d 640, 647 (E.D. Pa. 2001).
evidence is a deferential standard of review. See Jones
v. Barnhart, 364 F.3d 501, 503 (3d Cir. 2004).
Substantial evidence “does not mean a large or
considerable amount of evidence, but rather such relevant
evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to
support a conclusion.” Hartranft v. Apfel, 181
F.3d 358, 360 (3d Cir. 1999) (quoting Pierce v.
Underwood, 487 U.S. 552, 564-65 (1988)); Kangas v.
Bowen, 823 F.2d 775, 777 (3d Cir. 1987). It is
“more than a mere scintilla but may be somewhat less
than a preponderance of the evidence.” Rutherford
v. Barnhart, 399 F.3d 546, 552 (3d Cir. 2005). The
court's review is plenary as to the ALJ's application
of legal standards. Krysztoforski v. Chater, 55 F.3d
857, 858 (3d Cir. 1995).
prove disability, a claimant must demonstrate some medically
determinable basis for a physical or mental impairment that
prevents him or her from engaging in any substantial gainful
activity for a 12-month period. 42 U.S.C. §
1382c(a)(3)(A); accord id. § 423(d)(1). As
explained in the applicable agency regulation, each case is
evaluated by the Commissioner according to a five-step
(i) At the first step, we consider your work activity, if
any. If you are doing substantial gainful activity, we will
find that you are not disabled. (ii) At the second step, we
consider the medical severity of your impairment(s). If you
do not have a severe medically determinable physical or
mental impairment that meets the duration requirements in
§ 416.909, or a combination of impairments that is
severe and meets the duration requirement, we will find that
you are not disabled. (iii) At the third step, we also
consider the medical severity of your impairment(s). If you
have an impairment(s) that meets or equals one of our
listings in appendix 1 of this subpart and meets the duration
requirement, we will find that you are disabled. (iv) At the
fourth step, we consider our assessment of your residual
functional capacity and your past relevant work. If you can
still do your past relevant work, we will find that you are
not disabled. (v) At the fifth and last step, we consider our
assessment of your residual functional capacity and your age,
education and work experience to see if you can make an
adjustment to other work. If you can make an adjustment to
other work, we will find that you are not disabled. If you
cannot make an adjustment to other work, we will find that
you are disabled.
20 C.F.R. § 416.920 (references to other regulations
The Standard for Review of Opinions of Treating
focuses her attacks on the ALJ's decision, regarding both
her physical RFC and mental RFC, on her contention that the
ALJ was required to afford the opinions of her treating
physicians controlling weight. See Pl.'s Br.
(Doc. No. 11) at 2. However, the rules in effect at the
relevant time,  which afforded additional weight to the
opinions of treating physicians, were not as categorical as
Holloway portrays them to be. Applying the pre-2017 rules,
the medical opinions of a treating physician “are
entitled to substantial and at times even controlling
weight.” Fargnoli v. Massanari, 247 F.3d 34,
43 (3d Cir. 2001) (citing 20 C.F.R. § 404.1527[(c)](2)).
A treating physician's opinion on the nature and severity
of a claimant's impairment will be given controlling
weight if the opinion is “well-supported by medically
acceptable clinical and laboratory diagnostic techniques and
is not inconsistent with the other substantial evidence in
[the] case record.” 20 C.F.R. § 416.927(c)(2). In
rejecting a treating physician's assessment, an ALJ may
not make “speculative inferences from medical
reports” and may not reject a treating physician's
opinion “due to his or her own credibility judgments,
speculation or lay opinion.” Morales v. Apfel,
225 F.3d 310, 317-18 (3d Cir. 2000) (internal quotation marks
omitted). Furthermore, the ALJ must explain on the record his
or her reasons for disregarding a treating physician's
opinion. Brewster v. Heckler, 786 F.2d 581, 585 (3d
Cir. 1986). It cannot be for “no reason or for the
wrong reason.” Morales, 225 F.3d at 317
(internal quotations marks omitted).
may decide not to credit a treating physician's opinion,
however, if he or she provides an adequate explanation.
Sherrod v. Barnhart, No. 01-4731, 2002 WL 31429337,
at *3 (E.D. Pa. Oct. 29, 2002). For example, an ALJ may
reject a treating physician's opinion when it is not
supported by sufficient clinical data. Newhouse, 753
F.2d at 286; see also Salles v. Comm'r of Soc.
Sec., 229 Fed.Appx. 140, 148 (3d Cir. 2007) (“A
lack of evidentiary support in the medical record is a
legitimate reason for excluding claimed limitations from the
RFC.”). “[T]he United States Court of Appeals for
the Third Circuit has also repeatedly held that when a
treating physician's notes, analyzed as a whole,
contradict the physician's opinion on a claimant's
ability to work, an ALJ may properly rely on those notes in
determining that the opinion is entitled to little or no
weight.” Smith v. Astrue, 961 F.Supp.2d 620,
643 (D. Del. 2013) (citing Dula v. Barnhart, 129
Fed.Appx. 715, 719 (3d Cir. 2005)); accord Humphreys v.
Barnhart, 127 Fed.Appx. 73, 76 (3d Cir. 2005);
Shelton v. Astrue, No. 11-75J, 2012 WL 3715561, at
*3 (W.D. Pa. Aug. 28, 2012); Petrowsky v. Astrue,
No. 10-563, 2011 WL 6083117, at *14-15 (D. Del. Dec. 6,
2011). Moreover, an ALJ may reject a treating physician's
opinion in favor of that of a non-examining physician if the
latter opinion is more consistent with the evidence.
Salerno v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 152 Fed.Appx.
208, 209 (3d Cir. 2005); Hudson v. Comm'r of Soc.
Sec., 93 Fed.Appx. 428, 431 (3d Cir. 2004).
where a physician fails to provide an explanation supporting
his or her opinion, that “by itself would justify the
ALJ's decision to accord [it] little weight.”
Cunningham v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 507 Fed.Appx.
111, 119 (3d Cir. 2012); see also Plummer v. Apfel,
186 F.3d 422, 429 (3d Cir. 1999) (opinion may be given
“more or less weight depending upon the extent to which
supporting explanations are provided”). This is
especially the case when the opinion is provided in a form
“which require[s] only that the completing physician
‘check a box or fill in a blank,' rather than
provide a substantive basis for the conclusions
stated.” Smith, 359 Fed.Appx. at 316 (quoting
Mason v. Shalala, 994 F.2d 1058, 1065 (3d Cir.
1993)). Such forms provide “‘weak evidence at
best' in the context of a disability analysis.”
Id.; see also Wise v. Comm'r of Soc.
Sec., 626 Fed.Appx. 357, 360 (3d Cir. 2015) (“[W]e
have said that ALJs are not required to give any weight to
these fill-in-the-blank and checklist portions of RFC
assessments and that their focus instead should be on the
narrative portions of the assessments where the medical
experts expound on their opinions.”).
however, determining a claimant's RFC is the province of
the ALJ and not of the treating physician. An ALJ is required
to conduct an independent analysis of the relevant evidence
and to reach his or her own determination regarding the
claimant's RFC. Chandler v. Comm'r Soc.
Sec., 667 F.3d 356, 361 (3d Cir. 2011). As the United
States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has
The ALJ-not treating or examining physicians or State agency
consultants- must make the ultimate disability and RFC
determinations. See 20 C.F.R. §§
404.1527(e)(1), 404.1546(c). Although treating and examining
physician opinions often deserve more weight than the
opinions of doctors who review records, see, e.g.,
20 C.F.R. § 404.1527(d)(1)-(2), “[t]he law is
clear . . . that the opinion of a treating physician does not
bind the ALJ on the issue of functional capacity . . .
Id. (quoting Brown v. Astrue, 649 F.3d 193,
197 n.2 (3d Cir. 2011)). Thus, the ALJ's role is not
merely to choose between the opinions of various medical
sources. “There is no legal requirement that a
physician have made the particular findings that an ALJ
adopts in the course of determining an RFC. Surveying the
medical evidence is part of the ALJ's duties.”
Titterington v. Barnhart, 174 Fed.Appx. 6, 11 (3d
Cir. 2006); see also Chandler, 667 F.3d at 362 (ALJ
could extrapolate based on evidence in record because every
fact incorporated in an RFC does not need to have been found
by a medical expert); Mays v. Barnhart, 78 Fed.Appx.
808, 813 (3d Cir. 2003) (ALJ properly determined that
claimant could perform light work based on claimant's
treatment records even though the only medical opinion in the
case was to the contrary); Kertesz v. Crescent Hills Coal
Co., 788 F.2d 158, 163 (3d Cir. 1986) (reaching the same
conclusion in a case reviewing an ALJ's determination of
eligibility for benefits under the Black Lung Benefits Act).
The ALJ's RFC Findings Regarding Holloway's Physical
Limitations Were Supported by Substantial
contends that the ALJ erred in not giving controlling weight
or, at the least, great weight, to the physical limitations
stated in the opinion of her orthopedist, Dr. Corey Ruth.
Pl.'s Br. at 2, 20-21. Holloway sought treatment from Dr.
Ruth after she was injured in a collision that occurred while
she was riding on a bus in July 2015. R. at 544. Dr. Ruth
submitted responses to interrogatories posed to him by the
ALJ. Id. at 730-32. In his responses, Dr. Ruth
identified Holloway's course of treatment as including
injections, Naprosyn (Naproxen) and Flexeril as well as
physical therapy. Id. He did not prescribe narcotic
painkillers. Id.; see also id. at 542-56
(Dr. Ruth's treatment records). He further indicated that
Holloway was not a candidate for surgery at the time.
Id. at 730. Dr. Ruth stated that Holloway was obese
and answered affirmatively to a question asking whether
“the pain the patient suffered on weightbearing
activities such as standing or walking or lifting and
carrying [was] exacerbated by her weight.” Id.
at 731. He opined that, in an eight-hour workday, Holloway
could only stand for a total of one hour and could only sit
in a regular straight-back chair for a total of two hours.
Id. He further indicated that the most that she
could “lift and carry on an occasional basis (a couple
of times an hour)” was 10 pounds. Id. Dr. Ruth
also answered affirmatively to an interrogatory asking
whether Holloway had been precluded for the period from July
2015 to the time of his interrogatory responses on May 24,
2017, from performing unskilled work requiring her to travel
to and from the worksite, sit for a total of six hours in a
regular straight-back chair, stand for up to two hours and
carry up to 10 pounds in weight for up to two
hours. Id. at 732. He also stated that
Holloway would be off-task for 40 percent of an eight-hour
Ruth's treatment records and opinion are problematic for
several reasons. His treatment notes were recorded on a form
that does not appear to have been fully updated from visit to
visit. Thus, each of Dr. Ruth's notes on each of his
physical examinations of Holloway state as to his clinical
findings the following vague, generic description:
“tenderness to palpitation of over [sic] spinous
processes, PSIS, sacroiliac joints, or par spinal [sic]
musculature, ” and “[p]atient reports slight pain
w/ R.O.M., ” and those findings are repeated verbatim
for each examination, including the typographical errors.
Id. at 545, 547, 550, 552, 555, 795, 798, 801, 804,
807. Dr. Ruth included the language regarding only slight
pain with range of movement and slight muscle weakness in
Holloway's leg even at times when Holloway reported her
pain as high as 8-9 on a 10-point scale. Id. at 547,
550, 555, 795, 798. His interrogatory responses contain no
explanation of the basis for his opinions. See id.
at 730-32. Dr. Ruth stated on a number of occasions that he
intended to “continue conservative care and home
exercises.” Id. at 549, 554, 794, 797, 806.
Accordingly, he treated Holloway with monthly trigger-point
injections and prescribed only Flexeril, a muscle relaxant,
and Naproxen. Id. at 730. When Holloway found her
medications to be ineffective, he instructed her to take
Extra Strength Tylenol instead. Id. at 48, 807-08.
Dr. Ruth's form used for each of Holloway's
examinations included the following legend at the bottom:
“Plan: home exercises, ice, elevation, and rest,
analgesics return for f/u in 4-6 weeks.” Id.
at 545, 547, 550, 553, 555, 795-96, 799, 802, 805,
He gave no indication of the frequency with which he believed
Holloway should elevate her legs, although the fact he
recommended exercises and the fact he sent her to physical
therapy, see, e.g., id. at 546, indicate
that he did not require her to elevate them all of the time.
Moreover, even when Dr. Ruth had additional plans specific to
Holloway, he added those plans as a separate entry under a
separate legend for “Plan” immediately preceding
the standard “Plan” legend, but did not alter the
standard form language that appeared at the bottom of each
treatment note or combine it with his additional
“Plan[s].” See id. at 545, 552-53,
Ruth was similarly sparse in his responses to the ALJ's
interrogatories. Despite the extreme limitations that he
assigned to Holloway, which would have precluded her from
performing even sedentary work, he provided no explanation of
the basis for his assigned limitations other than a diagnosis
of “L3-S1 herniated disc and sciatica.”
Id. at 730-32. That failure “by itself”
justified the ALJ's decision to afford Dr. Ruth's
opinion little weight. Cunningham, 507 Fed.Appx. at
119; see also Wise, 626 Fed.Appx. at 360 (directing
reviewing courts to focus on the sufficiency of the
“narrative portion of [physicians'] assessments
where the medical experts expound on their opinions”).
the ALJ also had before her the report and opinion of a
consultative examiner, Dr. Joel Marmar. R. at 417-26. Dr.
Marmar examined Holloway on March 16, 2016. Id. She
reported to him that, despite receiving injections and
physical therapy, her low-back pain continued to cause her
pain daily, ranging in intensity from a five to a nine on a
10-point scale. Id. at 417. She further reported
that she had to ascend 23 steps from the sidewalk to reach
her bedroom, she could walk one block, and she took public
transportation but did not drive. Id. Holloway also
reported that she could cook, clean, shower and dress
herself, but she needed help with shopping and laundry
because they put strain on her back. Id. at 418. As
to his clinical examination of Holloway, Dr. Marmar noted
that she “appear[ed] to be in no acute distress,
” her gait was normal, she could stand on heels and
toes and could perform 40 percent of a full squat.
Id. He further noted that she did not need an
assistive device to walk, needed no help in changing for the
examination or getting on and off the examination table and
was able to rise from a chair without difficulty.
Id. Dr. Marmar found as to her musculoskeletal
system that she had “[n]o scoliosis, kyphosis, or
abnormality in the thoracic spine” and that seated
leg-raise testing was negative bilaterally. Id. at
419. Holloway's joints had no deformity or tenderness or
any redness, heat or effusion. Id. Her extremities
had no cyanosis, clubbing or edema, her reflexes were
physiological and equal in her upper and lower extremities
and her strength was “5/5” in both. Id.
Dr. Marmar opined that Holloway could lift and carry up to 20
pounds frequently but could never lift more than 20 pounds.
Id. at 421. He further indicated that she could sit
or stand for up to four hours at a time each, but that she
could only walk continuously for one hour. He stated that, in
an eight-hour workday, she could sit or stand for up to seven
hours each but could only walk for a total of two hours.
Id. at 422.
reaching her decision, the ALJ extensively examined
Holloway's treatment records and her subjective
allegations regarding her back problems. See id. at
21-24. In analyzing Holloway's physical limitations, the
ALJ accepted Dr. Ruth's opinions as to Holloway's
limitations on standing and walking because she found them
consistent with Holloway's treatment records,
“which document consistent back pain despite
treatment.” Id. at 24. Although she did not
specifically address Dr. Ruth's opinion that Holloway
could not sit for a total of more than two hours in a day in
the portion of her decision discussing Dr. Ruth's
findings, she did address Holloway's physical limitations
again later in her decision. Id. at 26. In
summarizing her findings regarding Holloway's physical
limitations, the ALJ acknowledged that Holloway had undergone
consistent treatment since her injury during the accident in
July 2015. Id. She noted, however, that
Holloway's records reflected that her treatment was
limited to medication, physical therapy and lumbar injections
and that she had not required surgery. Id. In other
words, as Dr. Ruth had stated repeatedly, her treatment
remained conservative. Id. at 549, 554, 794, 797,
806. The ALJ also noted that, even when Holloway experienced
an exacerbation of her back pain in November 2015, her range
of motion remained full, her gait remained normal, and
physical examination revealed only moderate tenderness.
Id. at 22. Indeed, the record is devoid of evidence
of Holloway ever needing the use of an assistive device in
walking or of developing an abnormal gait. Nevertheless,
taking into account Holloway's subjective allegations
regarding her symptoms, even though she found them to be
“not entirely consistent with the medical
evidence” and with Holloway's daily activities,
id., the ALJ determined that Holloway should be
limited to sedentary work, id. at 26. By definition,
that exertion level would require Holloway to be able to sit
for six hours in a day. SSR 83-10, 1983 WL 31251, at *5 (Jan.
1, 1983). The ALJ reasoned that the “clinical findings
in evidence document[ed] that she maintained a normal gait
and the diagnostic imaging revealed only mild to moderate
issues.” R. at 24
ALJ's view that the clinical findings were inconsistent
with greater limitations than those that apply to sedentary
work is supported by Dr. Ruth's repeated findings on
physical examination that Holloway had only “tenderness
to palpitation of over [sic] spinous processes, PSIS,
sacroiliac joints, or par spinal [sic] musculature.”
Id. at 545, 547, 550, 552, 555, 795, 798, 801, 804,
807. Insufficient clinical findings to support an opinion
regarding a claimant's limitations justifies an ALJ's
rejection of a treating physician's opinion.
Newhouse, 753 F.2d at 286. The ALJ also noted that,
even when Holloway experienced an exacerbation of her back
pain in November 2015, her range of motion remained full and
her gait remained normal, and physical examination revealed
only moderate tenderness. R. at 22. Indeed, the record is
devoid of evidence of Holloway ever needing the use of an
assistive device in walking or of developing an abnormal
ALJ's decision not to fully adopt Dr. Ruth's opinion
also is consistent with Dr. Ruth's decision to give
Holloway only conservative treatment. “The extent of
treatment prescribed is a factor that the applicable
regulations instruct ALJ's to consider in evaluating
claimants' subjective testimony regarding the extent of
their symptoms.” Gladden o/b/o Hyman-Self v.
Berryhill, No. 17-1832, 2018 WL 1123763, at *8 (E.D. Pa.
Feb. 28, 2018) (citing 20 C.F.R. § 404.1529); Proper
v. Astrue, No. 10-238 ERIE, 2011 WL 5360296, at *10
(W.D. Pa. Nov. 7, 2011).
addition, although the ALJ did not accept the findings of the
consultative examiner, Dr. Marmar, that Holloway could sit
for up to seven hours in a workday, his opinion provided
medical evidence contrary to Dr. Ruth's opinion and
provided additional evidentiary support for the ALJ's
decision not to fully credit Dr. Ruth's opinion.
Northington v. Berryhill, No. 17-2922, 2018 WL
2159923, at *1 n.1 (E.D Pa. May 10, 2018); see also Lewis
v. Berryhill, No. CV 17-2270, 2018 WL 3447177, at *4
(E.D. Pa. July 17, 2018) (finding that an ALJ's RFC
determination was supported by “an opinion which, if
fully accepted, supported a less restrictive RFC than that
assessed by the ALJ”); Armbruster v. Colvin,
No. 14-CV-3026, 2016 WL 5930913, at *7 (E.D. Pa. Oct. 12,
2016) (same). An ALJ is not required to adopt or reject each
of the specific limitations a physician deems necessary
regardless of the weight he or she gives to the
physician's opinion as a whole. See Wilkinson v.
Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 558 Fed.Appx. 254, 256 (3d Cir.
2014); (“[N]o rule or regulation compels an ALJ to
incorporate into an RFC every finding made by a medical
source simply because the ALJ gives the source's opinion
as a whole ‘significant' weight.”);
accord Pascarello v. Berryhill, No. 18-3406, 2019 WL
2288233, at *8 (E.D. Pa. May 28, 2019); Northington,
2018 WL 2159923, at *1 n.1; Lucas v. Berryhill, No.
17-3005, 2018 WL 6737376, at *3 (E.D. Pa. Nov. 20, 2018).
ALJ's determination that Dr. Ruth's opinion was not
supported by Holloway's activities of daily living,
see R. at 24, also is supported by the record. Her
finding that Holloway's ability to care for her
eight-year-old daughter was not consistent with Dr.
Ruth's opinion that she was incapable of performing even
sedentary work was reasonable, notwithstanding the fact she
received assistance from her mother, who lived with her.
Id. Other activities that the ALJ noted included
Holloway's ability to regularly travel to medical
appointments and physical therapy by public transportation
without accompaniment or assistance. Id. Moreover,
although the ALJ did not further elucidate the daily
activities that she found inconsistent with the extreme
limitations set out in Dr. Ruth's opinion, the record
contains additional evidence regarding Holloway's daily
activities that supports her finding. For example, there were
23 steps between Holloway's bedroom and the sidewalk,
id. at 417, but she reported that she still left her
home daily, id. at 233. Furthermore, the treatment
notes of her psychotherapist, April Morgan, recorded
statements by Holloway that she took “brisk
walks” around a local track as a “coping strategy
used to manage her mood-stated [sic].” Id. at
643; see also id. at 635 (Holloway reporting that
she used long walks in her neighborhood as a means of
managing her stress and emotions); id. at 675
(same). The therapist's records also reflect numerous
instances of her complimenting Holloway for using walking as
a stress-reliever and urging her to continue to do so.
See id. at 635, 639, 643, 645, 655, 665, 667, 685,
691, 853. It is well established that an ALJ may properly
discount a treating physician's opinion if he ...