standards set forth above. Plaintiff argues that he may, through
his own testimony, establish a disabling impairment. Plaintiff
notes, in addition to the facts stated above, that he cannot
drive a car, he cannot ride in a car for long periods and sit for
very long, his TENS machine provides only marginal relief from
pain, the pain does not go away even if he sits down to relieve
pain when standing, the medications he takes to control pain make
him drowsy all of the time, he cannot help with housework, his
treatment has not helped over the past one and one-half years in
that he basically has the same pain that he had at the time of
his injury, and vocational rehabilitation indicated that they
could not help him.
Plaintiff argues that even if he must produce convincing
factual or clinical findings to support a conclusion that he has
a disabling impairment, such medical evidence is in the record.
All of his doctors agree that he has low back pain, and all note
difficulties with radiation of that pain primarily into the lower
left extremity. With respect to some of the physicians' belief
that Mr. Walton could have been malingering, Plaintiff points to
the psychiatric evaluation performed at Mayo Clinic which ruled
out malingering and functional overlay as a problem.
Plaintiff argues that the fact that all of his doctors make
specific findings of back pain with radiation down the left leg
would of itself lead to a conclusion that Plaintiff is unable to
return to work. Plaintiff contests the analysis by a state agency
physician who found, on May 17, 1982, that the Plaintiff could
handle light work. Plaintiff states that at that time, he had
continued to experience severe pain since his injury, Mayo Clinic
had found that he was in a great deal of pain, his myelogram
showed a slight defect at L5-S1 and one doctor at Mayo Clinic
indicated that "prudence would suggest a limited work schedule."
Plaintiff points out that the myelogram findings are an objective
Plaintiff refers to additional evidence constituting objective
medical findings supporting his testimony. The report from
Northwestern Memorial Hospital revealed an S-1 radiculopathy and
decreased sensation to light touch in the lower left extremity.
The report of Dr. Perlmutter on May 7, 1982 indicated that he did
not feel the Plaintiff would be able to do any work for at least
six months. Dr. Shaefer stated that the Plaintiff is qualified
for a disability from the time when he first saw him in October
of 1982. Dr. Shaefer noted sacralizations of the lumbar vertebra
which he thought could be a cause of pain in the lower back.
Plaintiff again states that this is an objective medical finding.
Dr. Malvitz on January 6, 1983 found that Plaintiff is "unable to
work" and recommended further training through vocational
rehabilitation. The University of Iowa hospital found cog wheel
weakness in the major lower muscle groups of the left leg and a
decreased left ankle jerk.
Plaintiff also points to the March 3, 1983 report of the State
of Illinois Department of Rehabilitation Services which found
that the Plaintiff was not a good candidate for rehabilitation
training. The report stated that the Plaintiff's condition was
"too severe" to benefit from rehabilitation services. This
report, Plaintiff argues, was completely ignored by the ALJ and
neither the ALJ nor the Secretary present clear and convincing
reasons for rejecting the vocational evidence. Finally, Plaintiff
notes that the ALJ felt that his own observations of the
Plaintiff did not support the severity of pain of which the
Plaintiff complains. However, Garland, supra, specifically
rejected the use of the "sit and squirm index" in evaluating the
credibility of the Plaintiff.
The Secretary argues that substantial evidence supports the
Secretary's decision that minimally, the Plaintiff has the
residual functional capacity for sedentary work and is therefore
not disabled. The Secretary refers to the history of the
Plaintiff's illness. She points out that subsequent to his
surgery, his leg pain disappeared and he had a complete recovery
of objective peripheral signs. Examination in February
of 1982 revealed marked improvement in the Plaintiff's condition.
In April of 1982, his examination was entirely normal and
Plaintiff stated that his back and leg pain were gone. Defendant
notes that on July 1, 1982, Dr. Reed from the Mayo Clinic stated
that with the exception of heavy lifting, there was no reason why
the Plaintiff could not return to an ordinary job. Again, in
August of 1982 when Plaintiff saw Dr. Sandok at the Mayo Clinic,
the doctor found that the Plaintiff had no objective impairment
of neurologic function upon which disability could be
recommended. The Secretary refers to assessments by other doctors
finding an absence of abnormalities in the Plaintiff's condition.
The Secretary argues that taken as a whole, the medical
evidence establishes consistently and overwhelmingly that
Plaintiff is able to perform work at the sedentary exertional
level. Defendant further maintains that the Plaintiff has failed
to even minimally objectify his complaints of severe and
Plaintiff's argument that subjective testimony as to pain and
suffering may serve as a basis for establishing disability even
when unaccompanied by objective medical evidence must be rejected
based on the Social Security Disability Benefits Reform Act of
1984. Section 3(a)(1) of that Act amends § 223(d)(5) of the
Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(5), by adding that:
"An individual's statement as to pain or other
symptoms shall not alone be conclusive evidence of
disability as defined in this section; there must be
medical signs and findings, established by medically
acceptable clinical or laboratory diagnostic
techniques, which show the existence of a medical
impairment which results from anatomical,
physiological, or psychological abnormalities which
could reasonably be expected to produce the pain or
other symptoms alleged and which, when considered
with all evidence required to be furnished under this
paragraph (including statements of the individual or
his physician as to the intensity and persistence of
such pain or other symptoms which may reasonably be
accepted as consistent with the medical signs and
findings), would lead to a conclusion that the
individual is under a disability. Objective medical
evidence of pain or other symptoms established by
medically acceptable clinical or laboratory
techniques (for example, deteriorating nerve or
muscle tissue) must be considered in reaching a
conclusion as to whether the individual is under a
Under the standard established by the statute and based on the
evidence in this case, the Court concludes that the Secretary's
findings are supported by substantial evidence. There do not
exist medical findings showing the existence of a medical
impairment which could reasonably be expected to produce the pain
alleged and which, when considered with all evidence furnished,
leads to the conclusion that the Plaintiff is under a disability.
Further, while there are statements in the record by a couple of
physicians that the Plaintiff is under a disability, there are
also findings by a number of both treating and reviewing
physicians that the Plaintiff is under no disability or is only
slightly disabled and can return to work.
1. The Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment is DENIED.
2. The Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED.
3. The decision of the Secretary is AFFIRMED.
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