United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division
CRYSTAL R. GREENWOOD, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security Administration, Defendant.
FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
HARRIS TOLIVER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and the district judge's
Order of Reference, Doc. 18, this case has
been referred to the undersigned magistrate judge for
findings of fact and recommended dispositions of the
parties' cross-motions for summary judgment. For the
reasons that follow, Plaintiff's Motion for Summary
Judgment, Doc. 15, should be
DENIED, Defendant's Motion for
Summary Judgment, as construed from her response brief,
Doc. 16,  should be GRANTED, and
the Commissioner's decision should be
Crystal R. Greenwood seeks judicial review of a final
decision by the Commissioner denying her claim for disability
insurance benefits (DIB), and supplemental security income
(SSI) under the Social Security Act (“the Act”).
Doc. 15 at 3. In November 2013, Plaintiff filed for
benefits, claiming that she became disabled in June 2012, due
to lupus and aplastic anemia. Doc. 13-6 at 2,
9; Doc. 13-7 at 2, 6. Plaintiff
later amended her disability onset date to November 4, 2013.
Doc. 13-3 at 42. Her application was denied at all
administrative levels, and she now appeals to this Court
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Doc. 13-3
at 2, 10-21.
was 31 years old on her claimed disability onset date.
Doc. 13-3 at 42; Doc. 13-6 at 2. She is a
college graduate and has past relevant work experience as a
store manager, operations manager, loan manager, and front
desk associate. Doc. 13-7 at 7.
November 2013, Dr. Stephanie Menes, M.D., began treating
Plaintiff for reflux, arthritis and asthma. Doc. 13-8 at
3-5, 40; Doc. 13-12 at 17. In February
2014, Dr. Menes referred Plaintiff to Dr. Shadan Mansoor,
M.D., for her anemia. Doc. 13-8 at 45. Dr. Mansoor
subsequently found that Plaintiff's white blood cell
count and platelet count did “not suggest aplastic
anemia, ” but nevertheless ordered that she undergo
intravenous iron therapy, which consisted of two weekly
infusions and was completed in February 2014. Doc. 13-8
at 47, 62. At several follow-up appointments,
Dr. Mansoor noted that the results of Plaintiff's blood
tests were “completely normal, ” and that he
explained to Plaintiff that there was no evidence she
suffered from aplastic anemia and, instead, her iron
deficiency was due to heavy menstrual periods. Doc. 13-9
at 5, 8, 12. In September 2014, Dr.
Mansoor ordered another round of intravenous iron infusion
therapy. Doc. 13-9 at 5. The therapy consisted of
four weekly infusions and was completed in October 2014.
Doc. 13-16 at 9.
June and November 2014, Plaintiff complained to Dr. Menes of,
inter alia, bilateral leg pain related to her lupus.
See Doc. 13-12 at 7, 9,
12, 15; Doc. 13-13 at 25,
28. At each visit (1) Plaintiff reported difficulty
walking but noted that her leg pain was relieved by
medication; (2) Dr. Menes observed that Plaintiff had an
antalgic gait and used a cane for ambulation; and (3)
Plaintiff was found to have 5/5 strength in her lower
extremities, described as “[v]ery active, not couch
potato, ” and advised to “[e]xercise 2-3
times/week.” Doc. 13-12 at 7-9,
10-12, 14-17; Doc. 13-13 at 25-27,
December 2014, a hearing was held before an administrative
law judge (“ALJ”). See Doc. 13-3 at
28-45. Plaintiff testified that, since 1992, she had
received intravenous iron infusion therapy “every two
to three months.” Doc. 13-3 at 36-37. She
testified that each round of therapy consisted of four weekly
infusions, lasting between four and six hours each. Doc.
13-3 at 36. Plaintiff averred that, per Dr. Menes'
recommendation, she uses a cane “to help walk”
and to assuage her fear of falling. However, she admitted the
cane was not prescribed by a doctor. Doc. 13-3 at
in February 2015, Plaintiff was examined by Dr. M. Iqbal
Mughal, M.D., at the request of Disability Determination
Services. See Doc. 13-16 at 37-50. Dr.
Mughal noted that Plaintiff walked with a cane and limped
without one, and found that she exhibited “global
weakness around 3/5.” Doc. 13-16 at 39-40. Dr.
Mughal further noted that Plaintiff's lupus
“appear[ed] to be in remission” and that, based
on her blood test results, Plaintiff's “[h]istory
of anemia . . . sounds more like iron deficiency anemia
secondary to menorrhagia rather than aplastic anemia.”
Doc. 13-16 at 40. He also completed a Medical Source
Statement regarding Plaintiff's ability to perform
physical work-related activities. See Doc. 13-16
at 45-50. He opined that Plaintiff could occasionally
lift up to twenty pounds and carry up to ten pounds, and, in
an 8-hour work day, sit for six hours, stand for three hours,
and walk for one hour. Doc. 13-16 at 45-46. Dr.
Mughal further determined that Plaintiff's use of a cane
was medically necessary, but that she could walk “1/4
of a block” without it, and that she could never stoop
or “walk a block at a reasonable pace on rough or
uneven surfaces.” Doc. 13-16 at 46,
The ALJ's Findings
2015, the ALJ denied Plaintiff's application for
benefits. Doc. 13-3 at 10. The ALJ found that
Plaintiff had not performed substantial gainful activity
since the disability onset date, and had the severe
impairments of systemic lupus erythematosus, microcytic
hypochromic anemia, iron deficiency anemia, and obesity.
Doc. 13-3 at 15. The ALJ found that none of
Plaintiff's impairments met or equaled a listed
impairment, however. Doc. 13-3 at 16. The ALJ
concluded that Plaintiff had the residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) to perform the full range of sedentary
work on a sustained basis and, thus, could return to her past
relevant work as a loan manager. Doc. 13-3 at 16;
Doc. 13-3 at 21-22. Accordingly, the ALJ concluded
that Plaintiff was not disabled. Doc. 13-3 at 22.