United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
TIMOTHY J. ROE, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
CHARLES B. GOODWIN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Timothy J. Roe brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g) for judicial review of the final decision of
the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
(“SSA”) denying Plaintiff's application for
disability insurance benefits (“DIB”) under Title
II of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §§
401-434. The Court has reviewed the administrative record
(Doc. No. 10, hereinafter “R. ”),  and the arguments
and authorities submitted by the parties and affirms the
formerly a floor hand in the oil field, was injured on the
job on June 26, 2010, when a heavy metal object fell from an
oil derrick from a height of approximately 60 feet and hit
his right arm. He was immediately hospitalized with an open
humerus fracture and cervical nerve-root avulsion. From the
beginning, Plaintiff was unable to feel the lower part of his
right arm or move his dominant right hand. R. 12, 47, 59,
surgically repaired the fracture and performed nerve root
transplants during the following months in an effort to
restore function to Plaintiff's right arm and hand. The
nerve damage to Plaintiff's right brachial plexus was too
extensive to be repaired, however, and nineteen months after
the accident, there was no evidence of reinnervation.
Plaintiff was left unable to move his right arm except to
shrug his shoulders. R. 12-14, 292-95, 306, 327.
doctors amputated Plaintiff's arm above the elbow. R. 14,
315-18. Although he was fitted with a myoelectric prosthetic
device and underwent occupational therapy, Plaintiff
testified that he is unable to actively use the device and
rarely wears it. R. 48, 895, 897, 900-01.
application for DIB, Plaintiff listed seven medical
conditions to which he attributed his disability: right-arm
amputation, back injury and constant pain, optical nerve eye
injury, neck injury and constant pain, right-hip pain,
right-knee pain, and headaches. R. 177.
PROCEDURAL HISTORY AND ADMINISTRATIVE DECISION
protectively filed his DIB application on January 6, 2015,
alleging a disability-onset date of February 12, 2014. R. 10,
157-60. The SSA denied his application initially and on
reconsideration. R. 63-83. At Plaintiff's request, an
administrative law judge (“ALJ”) held a hearing
on June 17, 2016, R. 40-62, after which the ALJ issued an
unfavorable decision on October 21, 2016. R. 10-26. The
Social Security Appeals Counsel affirmed the ALJ's
unfavorable decision on August 10, 2017, finding no reason to
review the ALJ's decision. R. 1-5. The unfavorable
determination of the ALJ stands as the Commissioner's
final decision. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.981.
followed the prescribed five-step sequential evaluation
process in determining Plaintiff was not entitled to
disability benefits. See Wall v. Astrue, 561 F.3d
1048, 1052 (10th Cir. 2009); 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520. At
step one, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had not engaged in
substantial gainful activity from February 12, 2014, the
alleged disability-onset date, through December 31, 2015, the
date Plaintiff was last insured for DIB. R. 12. At step two,
the ALJ determined that Plaintiff has the following
status post right grade 2 open humerus fracture with cervical
nerve root avulsion injury; status post transfer of right
distal accessory nerve to suprascapular nerve; transfer of
intercostal nerves 3 through 6 to musculocutaneous nerve; and
bank medial antebrachial cutaneous nerve graft to intercostal
nerves 7 and 8, after being diagnosed with trauma and right
brachial plexus; status post right arm trans-humeral
amputation (above the elbow), as well as diagnosis of
degenerative disc disease, unsupported by objective
laboratory diagnostic findings, which singly and/or in
combination are severe.
three, the ALJ found that Plaintiff does not have an
impairment or combination of impairments that meet or
medically equal the severity of any of the presumptively
disabling impairments listed in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart
P, Appendix 1. R. 21.
next assessed Plaintiff's residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) based on all his medically determinable
impairments. The ALJ found that during the relevant period
Plaintiff had the RFC to perform light work,  except that
Plaintiff can never use right hand controls and cannot
perform overhead reaching, fine or gross manipulation, or
feeling with his right upper extremity. R. 21-24. At step
four, the ALJ found that Plaintiff unable ...