United States District Court, D. Minnesota
E. Osterhout and Edward C. Olson, for Plaintiff.
Gregory G. Booker, Assistant United States Attorney, for
FRANKLIN L. NOEL UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Gerald Janssen seeks judicial review of the final decision of
the Acting Commissioner (“Commissioner”) of the
Social Security Administration (“SSA”), who
denied Jill Janssen, his now deceased wife's, application
for supplemental security income under Title XVI of the
Social Security Act. This Court has jurisdiction over the
claim pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and
1383(c)(3), 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), and Rule 73 of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The parties have submitted
cross-motions for summary judgment. See ECF Nos. 16
and 18. For the reasons set forth below, the
Commissioner's decision is AFFIRMED and
the case is DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
24, 2013, Janssen filed an application for supplemental
security income (“SSI”). Administrative Record
[hereinafter “AR”] 81, ECF No. 14. Janssen
alleged that she became disabled on June 1, 2013. AR 189.
Janssen application was denied initially and again on
reconsideration. AR 10-23, 1-5. On April 28, 2015, an
administrative hearing was held before Administrative Law
Judge (“ALJ”) Michael D. Quayle. AR 40-61. On
February 2, 2012, the ALJ denied Janssen's applications
for SSI. AR 62-72. On January 9, 2013, the SSA Appeals
Council denied Janssen's request for review, rendering
the ALJ's decision final for purposes of judicial review.
AR 78-80, 5; see 20 C.F.R. § 404.981. On
October 3, 2016, Janssen commenced this civil action, seeking
a remand for further proceedings pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3). Compl., ECF No. 1.
STATEMENT OF FACTS
was 51 years old when she filed her applications for SSI. AR
81. Janssen claimed that the following severe impairments
prevented her from securing and maintaining competitive
employment: depression, anxiety, back problems, and kidney
problems. AR 81-82, 187. Janssen did not have any past
relevant work experience, and only identified previously
working as a funeral home telemarketer. AR 90, 188, 204.
Janssen had a kidney transplant in 2004. See AR 187.
On October 18, 2016, Jannsen passed away and a motion for
substitution of Plaintiff was granted by this Court on
November 4, 2016. See ECF Nos. 7, 10.
11, 2013, Janssen met her primary care physician Steven
Sumey, M.D. complaining of low back pain after slipping in
the kitchen. AR 303. During her visit, Dr. Sumey advised
Janssen to apply topical heat and do physical therapy at
home. Id. Janssen visited podiatrist Richard Erbest,
DPM, on August 20, 2013, complaining of bilateral painful
toes. AR 261. Dr. Erbes diagnosed Janssen with bilateral
hammertoes and severe osteoporosis, and told her to obtain a
follow-up after getting a bone density scan. AR 263.
January and May of 2014, Janssen received treatment for
bilateral shoulder pain. AR 519-25. On January 9, 2014,
Janssen visited Dr. Sumey at the SMART Clinic for a refill of
her pain medication. AR 519. It was noted during her visit
that, other than her bilateral shoulder pain, Janssen had no
new problems, and was generally feeling well. Id.
Janssen visited Dr. Sumey again on February 6, 2014, and
March 6, 2014, complaining of shoulder pain. AR 521-23.
During each visit, Dr. Sumey refilled Janssen's
medication, and noted that she was generally feeling well.
August 29, 2014, Janssen visited the FA Fairmont Hospital
Emergency Department complaining of general weakness, and
fatigue. AR 401. Janssen was diagnosed with a urinary tract
infection with sepsis and cystitis. AR 406. During her visit,
a CT scan revealed large pericardial effusion, and Janssen
was transferred to St. Mary's Rochester for tertiary
care. AR 407. On September 4, 2014, Janssen visited the FA
Fairmont Hospital with dull abdominal pain and symptoms of
nausea and vomiting. AR 418-43. Urinalysis was conducted on
Janssen which showed no signs of infection, and she was
discharged with a prescription for potassium. Id. On
January 22, 2015 Janssen again visited FA Fairmont Hospital
for abdominal pain. AR 453. Janssen was given pain and nausea
medication and discharged on the same day. Id.
Janssen returned to the hospital on January 26, 2015, with
moderate abdominal pain which she stated began six days
prior. AR 348. Due to an abnormal EKG, Janssen was
transferred to the coronary care unit at Mayo Clinic. AR 386.
On January 29, 2015, however, Janssen was discharged and
assessed as asymptomatic. Id.
February 2, 2015, Janssen visited Courtney Keith, M.D.,
complaining of her legs jumping at night causing her
difficulty in sleeping. AR 503. Janssen expressed no symptoms
of epigastric pain, shortness of breath, or chest pain.
Id. Dr. Keith encouraged Janssen to increase her
hydration, and use of heat and massage for her muscle spasms.
February 5, 2015, Dr. Keith diagnosed Janssen with
depression, coronary artery disease with stenting, diabetes,
hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and status post kidney
transplant. AR 505. Dr. Keith opined that Janssen's
conditions were lifelong and that she would not be able to
perform any employment in the foreseeable future.
Id. Dr. Keith also completed a Medical Source
Statement on March 11, 2015, providing that Janssen was able
to lift less than 10 pounds, and stand and walk less than 2
hours in a 8 hour day, and that Janssen would need to
periodically alternate between sitting, standing, and
walking. AR 515. Dr. Keith also opined that Janssen required
care for walking, and could not kneel, crawl, or crouch. AR
517. Janssen would also be absent from work more than three
times a month. Id. According to Dr. Keith, these
limitations were due to Janssen's chronic kidney disease,
status post kidney transplant, hypertension, low back pain
(degenerative disc disease), depression, coronary artery
disease, and diabetes. AR 515.