United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER
STEVEN WHALEN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
James William Owensby (“Plaintiff”) brings this
action under 42 U.S.C. §405(g) challenging a final
decision of Defendant Commissioner denying his applications
for Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) and
Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) under the
Social Security Act. Both parties have filed summary judgment
motions. For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's
Motion for Summary Judgment [Docket #19] is GRANTED, and
Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment [Docket #16] is
applied for SSI on October 31, 2013 and DIB on June 25, 2014
alleging disability as of July 25, 2013 and October 29, 2013
respectively (Tr. 162, 169). After the initial denial of
benefits, Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing, held
on September 3, 2015 in Mount Pleasant, Michigan (Tr. 41).
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Stephen
Marchioro presided. Plaintiff, unrepresented, testified (Tr.
51-82), as did Vocational Expert (“VE”) Mark A
Richards (Tr. 82-89). On January 20, 2016, ALJ Marchioro
found Plaintiff not disabled (Tr. 23-36). On January 7, 2015,
the Appeals Council denied review (Tr. 1-3). Plaintiff filed
for judicial review of the final decision on December 12,
born March 5, 1995, was 20 at the time of the ALJ's
decision (Tr. 36, 162). He obtained a GED at the age of 18
(Tr. 183). He alleges disability due to hearing problems,
depression, bipolar disorder, and an unspecified cognitive
impairment (Tr. 182).
unrepresented, offered the following testimony:
He stood 5' 7” and weighed 195 pounds (Tr. 51). He
was single and lived with his mother's boyfriend in
Saginaw Michigan in a single family home (Tr. 52). He had no
source of income but received a bridge card (Tr. 53). He
received childhood disability benefits for a hearing problem
which had ceased when he turned 18 (Tr. 53). His mother
received disability payments for a speech disorder and
psychological problems (Tr. 53-54). Plaintiff had a
learner's permit did not have a driver's license (Tr.
54). He did not take buses because he was “scared of
some people” (Tr. 54). He relied on others for rides
(Tr. 54). Up until an accident, he used a skateboard and
bicycle for transportation (Tr. 54).
repeated first grade and was placed in special education
classes due to hearing and speech impairments (Tr. 56). He
denied being expelled (Tr. 56). He had never received
vocational training (Tr. 57). He made money by selling blood
plasma and selling scrap metal (Tr. 58). His formal
employment history was limited to working as a salesperson
for three days (Tr. 58). He was not receiving mental health
treatment but currently took Trileptal, Zoloft, and Abilify
with good results (Tr. 59). He experienced the side effects
of dizziness and nausea (Tr. 59-60). He denied the use of
medical marijuana (Tr. 60). His right leg hurt
“constantly” since he was hit by a car (Tr. 60).
Following the accident, a metal rod was implanted in his leg
(Tr. 61). He had not received leg treatment since the surgery
(Tr. 61). He did not require the use of a cane but had to
“drag” his leg when he walked (Tr. 63). He used a
leg splint at night (Tr. 64). Since the leg surgery, he was
hospitalized for one day for kidney failure (Tr. 61). He had
not received treatment for kidney problems since being
discharged but had been advised to drink “less
pop” and eat “more veggies” (Tr. 62). He
had hernia surgery when he was 15 (Tr. 62-63).
teenager, he received inpatient mental health treatment (Tr.
65). He denied smoking or alcohol use (Tr. 65). He was fully
deaf in his left ear and his hearing went “in and
out” in the right ear (Tr. 65). He had a hearing aid
which was currently “in the shop getting fixed”
(Tr. 66). He experienced concentrational problems (Tr. 66).
Plaintiff could sit for unlimited periods but was unable to
stand for 10 minutes due to dizziness and leg pain (Tr. 66).
He passed out around twice a week (Tr. 66). He did not
experience fine manipulative problems (Tr. 69). He did not
experience problems bending (Tr. 69). He was able to lift up
to 15 pounds from a sitting position but not from a standing
position due to dizziness (Tr. 69-70).
spent most of his time playing games with his mother and
sister and video games with his brother (Tr. 70, 73). His
brother received disability due to schizophrenia (Tr. 73). He
remained friends with a former girlfriend who had moved to
California (Tr. 71-72). He interacted with other school and
neighborhood friends and sometimes read books and wrote in a
journal (Tr. 73). He was able to take care of his own
personal needs and make simple meals (Tr. 75). He used a
wheelchair when shopping for groceries (Tr. 75). He had a cat
(Tr. 76). Plaintiff stated that he was unable to work due to
hearing problems, leg pain, anger management problems, and
memory problems (Tr. 76). He would be unable to perform a
simple, sedentary job without public interaction due to his
paranoia and hallucinations (Tr. 78).
Medical Evidence and Educational Evidence
Evidence Related to Plaintiff's
December, 2012 Individualized Education Program
(“IEP”) report notes that Plaintiff could
“do grade level work;” enjoyed math and science;
and was “on task most of the time” (Tr. 223). The
same portion of the report states that Plaintiff was
“on task 50 percent of the time” in the classroom
setting (Tr. 223). The report states that Plaintiff could do
“grade level work, ” but in the next sentence,
states that he was at the 8.5 grade level in math (Tr. 223).
The report notes that Plaintiff wanted to go to college (Tr.
February, 2013 psychological intake assessment by Mohammad
Jafferany, M.D. notes “noncontributory for
musculoskeletal issues” (Tr. 279). Plaintiff appeared
appropriate with a cooperative attitude but a depressed
affect (Tr. 280). His judgment and insight were deemed intact
(Tr. 280). He demonstrated impaired concentrational and
language skills (Tr. 281). He was diagnosed with bipolar
disorder with delays in development and “unspecified
mental retardation” with worsening symptoms (Tr. 282).
He received a passing score on the GED in May, 2013 (Tr.
307). June, 2013 records by Katherine Heidenreich, D.O. note
Plaintiff's report of ongoing hearing loss (Tr. 264).
Plaintiff reported that he used hearing aids intermittently
(Tr. 264). An audiogram showed “borderline mild”
hearing loss in the right ear and “severe” loss
on the left (Tr. 264). A physical examination was otherwise
normal (Tr. 264). An MRI of the internal auditory canals was
unremarkable (Tr. 265). The same month, psychiatric treating
records note “extreme mood swings with intense and
rageful anger and aggression outwardly” (Tr. 284).
However, Dr. Jafferany's records from August, 2013 note
that Plaintiff's report of good results from Abilify (Tr.
September, 2013, Plaintiff reported that he was physically
active every day and denied depression (Tr. 275). Other
portions of the same exam note that Plaintiff reported
“severe mood swings and that most of the time he was
depressed with no motivation” (Tr. 278). He denied
problems concentrating at school (Tr. 278). The same month,
Dr. Jafferany discharged Plaintiff from semi-independent
living, noting an improvement in mood swings (Tr. 296). He
cautioned that “impulsive and high risk behavior still
remain[ed] a problem . . . .” (Tr. 296, 302). Plaintiff
was scheduled for a followup visit in two months (Tr. 306).
following month, Plaintiff received emergency treatment for
fractures of the tibia and fibula after he was struck by a
car (Tr. 341, 390). A CT of the brain was unremarkable (Tr.
343, 392). Surgery for the implantation of a rod was
performed without ...