United States District Court, D. Maryland
Stephanie A. Gallagher United States Magistrate Judge
pending is Plaintiff David Anthony Schenning's Motion to
Reconsider the Court's December 22, 2016 Letter Order,
which, inter alia, granted Defendant Social Security
Administration's (“the Commissioner”) Motion
for Summary Judgment. [ECF No. 26]. I have also reviewed the
Commissioner's opposition. [ECF No. 27]. Mr. Schenning
asks the Court to reconsider granting the Commissioner's
Motion, again arguing that the ALJ provided an inadequate
Listing analysis. [ECF No. 26]. No hearing is necessary.
See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the reasons
set forth below, Mr. Schenning's motion is DENIED.
November 13, 2015, Mr. Schenning petitioned this Court to
review the Social Security Administration's final
decision to deny his claims for Disability Insurance Benefits
and Supplemental Security Income. [ECF No. 1]. Mr.
Schenning's sole argument on appeal was that the ALJ
provided an inadequate Listing analysis. [ECF No. 18].
Specifically, Mr. Schenning argued that the ALJ failed to
apply specific record evidence to the Listing criteria, in
violation of the dictates in Fox v. Colvin, 632 F.
App'x 750 (4th Cir. 2015). Id. However, the
Court found that the ALJ did not violate Fox because
the ALJ noted a lack of evidence to support a finding that
Plaintiff suffered from nerve root compression, as cited in
Listing 1.04A. [ECF No. 25]. Accordingly, the Court denied
Mr. Schenning's Motion for Summary Judgment, granted the
Commissioner's Motion for Summary Judgment, and affirmed
the Commissioner's judgment pursuant to sentence four of
42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Id. Subsequently, on
January 3, 2017, Mr. Schenning filed his Motion to
Reconsider. [ECF No. 26].
motion, Mr. Schenning contends that this Court failed to
properly evaluate the ALJ's Listing analysis under
Fox. Specifically, Mr. Schenning contends that the
Court failed to evaluate the evidentiary requirements of
nerve root compression. [ECF No. 26]. For the reasons
discussed below, the ALJ's Listing analysis was proper,
and summary judgment in favor of the Commissioner was
Schenning argues that this Court erred by affirming the
ALJ's judgment under Fox because “there
[was] no evidence in the record of [nerve root
compression].” Id. (citing [ECF No. 25]).
Specifically, Mr. Schenning contends that the Court failed to
evaluate the symptoms of nerve root compression, including
neuro-anatomic distribution of pain, limitation of motion of
the spine, motor loss (atrophy with associated muscle
weakness or muscle weakness accompanied by sensory or reflex
loss), and positive straight leg raising tests (sitting and
supine). Id. (citing 20 C.F.R. § Pt. 404,
Subpt. P, App. 1, Listing 1.04A). To support his argument,
Mr. Schenning cites the Court's holding that,
“because there is a lack of evidence to support a
finding that [Mr. Schenning] suffered from nerve root
compression…I express no opinion as to whether the ALJ
correctly analyzed the remaining subparts of Listing 1.04A,
such as muscle weakness, sensory loss, or positive straight
leg raising tests.” Id. (citing [ECF No.
25]). However, contrary to Mr. Schenning's
assertion, the ALJ conducted a proper Listing analysis, and
summary judgment in the Commissioner's favor was
appropriate. Although Mr. Schenning correctly notes that
nerve root compression can be characterized by-i.e.,
distinguished by-the four symptoms listed above, Radford
v. Colvin, 734 F.3d 288, 298 (4th Cir. 2013), the
presence of those symptoms does not automatically warrant a
finding of nerve root compression under the Listing. As the
Fourth Circuit concluded in Radford, “Listing
1.04A requires a claimant to show only what it requires him
to show: that each of the symptoms are present, and
that the claimant has suffered or can be expected to suffer
from nerve root compression continuously for at least 12
months.” Radford, 734 F.3d at 294 (emphasis
added). That excerpt from Radford is written in the
conjunctive, indicating that a showing that each of the
symptoms are present does not necessarily mean that the
claimant has suffered or can be expected to suffer from nerve
the ALJ provided substantial evidence to support his
determination that Mr. Schenning “[did] not have
evidence of nerve root compression” to meet or
medically equal the criteria of Listing 1.04A. (Tr. 26).
Indeed, as noted in the Letter Order, Mr. Schenning was never
diagnosed with nerve root compression, and no objective
testing reflected impingement of a nerve root. In addition,
the ALJ noted that Mr. Schenning's “physical
examinations…were relatively normal, ” revealed
“very mild degenerative disc disease at ¶ 4-L5,
” and “showed no acute findings, ”
including “no compression fractures or
spondylolisthesis.” (Tr. 28). The ALJ also noted that,
on examination, Mr. Schenning demonstrated
“normal” gait and station, “normal”
upper and lower extremity strength, and “full strength
in his lower extremities.” (Tr. 29). Furthermore, the
ALJ noted that Mr. Schenning “was able to ambulate
without [an] assistive device, ” “was able to do
a full squat without assistance, ” and demonstrated
“continued activities of daily living” that
“belie[d] a debilitating condition.” Id.
As a result, the ALJ concluded that “the medical
evidence of record confirms a continued back impairment, but
not a completely debilitating condition.” Id.
Considering the ALJ's evidence in support of his Listing
analysis, and Mr. Schenning's lack of evidence to the
contrary, I find that the ALJ's Step Three analysis was
proper, and summary judgment in the Commissioner's favor
was appropriate. Therefore, Mr. Schenning's Motion to
Reconsider is denied.
reasons set forth herein, Mr. Schenning's Motion to
Reconsider, (ECF No. 26), is DENIED. The Commissioner's
judgment is AFFIRMED pursuant to sentence four of 42 U.S.C.
the informal nature of this letter, it should be flagged as
an opinion and docketed as an order.