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Ronnie G. Perrine v. Michael J. Astrue

January 30, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Byron G. Cudmore, U.S. Magistrate Judge:


Monday, 30 January, 2012 05:13:32 PM

Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD


Plaintiff Ronnie G. Perrine appeals from the denial of his application for Supplemental Security Income ( "Disability Benefits") under the Social Security Act. 42 U.S.C. § 1381a, and 1382c. This appeal is brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c). Perrine has filed a Brief in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment (d/e 11) (Motion for Summary Judgment), and Defendant Commissioner of Social Security has filed a Memorandum in Support of Motion for Summary Affirmance (d/e 12) (Motion for Summary Affirmance).*fn1 The parties consented, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), to have this matter proceed before this Court. Consent to Proceed Before a United States Magistrate Judge, and Order of Reference entered April 15, 2011 (d/e 8). For the reasons set forth below, the Decision of the Commissioner is reversed and remanded for further proceedings.


Perrine was born on August 15, 1954. Answer to Complaint (d/e 6),attached Certified Transcript of Record of Proceedings Before the Social Security Administration (R.), at 9. Perrine completed the eleventh grade. Perrine previously worked as an ironworker and foreman for more than twenty years beginning in 1974. He also worked from 1990 to 1992 as a hog seller. R. 9. On November 24, 2004, Perrine had left carpal tunnel release surgery, and later returned to work as a ironwork foreman. On October 13, 2005, he fell while he was at work and injured his neck.

R. 413.

Shortly after the October 2005 accident, Perrine received an epidural injection for the pain. The injection relieved about ninety-five percent of the pain. R. 414. On November 22, 2005, Perrine underwent a cervical spine MRI. The MRI showed mild to moderate diffuse spondylosis and central canal and neural foraminal stenosis at multiple disc levels. R. 307. Perrine underwent physical therapy in October and November 2005.

R. 357-93. He reported that the physical therapy provided no relief from his pain. R. 414.

On January 5, 2006, and January 26, 2006, Perrine received epidural injections for pain. R. 325, 332. The injection relieved the pain until March 2006, when Perrine noticed an increase in neck pain after raking leaves.

R. 414.

On May 22, 2006, Dr. Arden F. Reynolds, Jr., M.D., performed a microdiscectomy and anterior fusion from C3 to C6 in Perrine's cervical spine. R. 441-43. As of June 5, 2006, Perrine reported minimal neck pain.

R. 418. Perrine reported that his prescription pain medication helped.

R. 418. On August 1, 2006, Perrine reported to Dr. Reynolds that he had no neck pain. R. 420.

On September 7, 2006, Perrine reported to Dr. Reynolds that he had increased neck pain and headaches after he resumed his job as an ironworker and began digging post holes. R. 421-22. On October 9, 2006, Perrine stopped working and resumed therapy because he was having severe pain and headaches. R. 422. On October 23, 2006, Perrine reported to Dr. Reynolds that his headaches occurred every two to three days. R. 424.

On December 7, 2006, Perrine told Dr. Reynolds that physical therapy provided some pain relief, but he still had moderate trapezius muscle spasms. Dr. Reynolds observed that Perrine had a fifty percent loss in his range of motion in right and left rotation, flexion, extension, and right and left lateral bending. R. 423. Dr. Reynolds observed full or near full strength in Perrine's deltoid, biceps and triceps muscles. R. 423.

Dr. Reynolds left Perrine on no-work status because he could not look up and down satisfactorily. R. 426.

On February 13, 2007, Perrine reported some headaches.

Dr. Reynolds observed normal upper body strength and no muscle spasms, and told Perrine he could resume work that did not involve repetitive shoveling, climbing ladders, or repetitive reaching above shoulder level. R. 425.

On April 24, 2007, Perrine reported dramatic limitations in turning his neck, and that he could not drive a tractor or truck for very long because he got severe headaches. He also reported severe headaches if he turned his head to the right. He reported that his hands fatigued and he occasionally dropped things. Dr. Reynolds found that Perrine's grip strength was fifty percent of normal. On examination, Perrine's range of motion in his neck was about five degrees, which Dr. Reynolds noted was a small percentage of normal. Right and left lateral rotation of his neck was about fifteen degrees which Dr. Reynolds noted was less that fifty percent of normal. Flexion was about ten degrees which Dr. Reynolds noted was less than fifty percent of normal. R. 428. Dr. Reynolds stated that Perrine could not return to work because of the limited range of motion in his neck and the risk that he would be to others. R. 438.

On April 24, 2007, Dr. Reynolds completed a form for Perrine's union in which Dr. Reynolds opined,

As a result of this examination, the patient was found to be totally and permanently disabled pursuant to the following definition: . . . . "Must be totally disabled by bodily injury or disease so as to be prevented thereby from engaging in further work as an IRONWORKER or any other type of Building Trades Craftsman, and such disability will be permanent and continuous form the remainder of his/her lifetime."

R. 501. Dr. Reynolds also stated in his notes on April 24, 1007, Additionally, because of the weakness in the hands and a rotator cuff problem with the left shoulder which is probably due to repetitive trauma from his work, he ...

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