Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Calloway v. Commissioner of Social Security

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

July 10, 2019

LATISHA CALLOWAY, Plaintiff
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

          HON. ARTHUR J. TARNOW U.S. District Court Judge

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          R. STEVEN WHALEN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff Latisha Calloway (“Plaintiff”) brings this action under 42 U.S.C. §405(g), challenging a final decision of Defendant Commissioner (“Defendant”) denying her claim for Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) under Title XVI of the Social Security Act. Both parties have filed summary judgment motions which have been referred for a Report and Recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B). For the reasons set forth below, I recommend that Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment [Docket #20] be GRANTED, and that Plaintiff's Amended Motion for Summary Judgment [Docket #16] be DENIED.

         I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On July 15, 2015, Plaintiff filed an application for SSI, alleging disability as of August 31, 2013[1] (Tr. 200). After the initial denial of the present claim, Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing, held in Oak Park, Michigan before Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Timothy J. Christensen (Tr. 56). Plaintiff, represented by attorney Andrea Hamm, testified (Tr. 61-77), as did Vocational Expert (“VE”) Scott B. Silver (Tr. 77-80). On June 28, 2017, ALJ Christensen found that Plaintiff was not disabled (Tr. 18-30). On February 28, 2018 the Appeals Council denied review (Tr. 1-3). Plaintiff filed for judicial review of the final decision on April 23, 2018.

         II. BACKGROUND FACTS

         Plaintiff, born December 26, 1970, was 46 when the ALJ issued his decision (Tr. 51, 200). She completed 11th grade and worked as a housekeeper at a Residence Inn (Tr. 224). She alleges disability due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”), chronic pain, rheumatoid arthritis, anxiety, depression, nerve damage, hypertension, and bipolar disorder (Tr. 222).

         A.Plaintiff's Testimony

         Prior to Plaintiff's testimony the ALJ found that Plaintiff's former work activity as stated in her application for benefits did not rise to the level of Substantial Gainful Activity (Tr. 61).

         Plaintiff then offered the following testimony:

         She did not attend school after 11th grade (Tr. 61). She received gunshot wounds in 2008 (Tr. 61). She was currently receiving both mental health treatment and treatment for physical problems (Tr. 61). She stood 5' 5" and weighed around 213 pounds (Tr. 62). Her weight fluctuated due to her eating habits and medication (Tr. 62). She had lived with her mother since 2008 (Tr. 62). Her 24-year-old daughter lived with them (Tr. 63).

         Plaintiff was able to care for her personal needs (Tr. 63). Her medication caused her to sleep most of the day (Tr. 63). The sleepiness was caused by a combination of Seroquel and Viibryd (prescribed respectively for nightmares about the shooting and depression) and opiates (Tr. 64). She typically fell asleep after eating breakfast (Tr. 65). She relied on her daughter to perform laundry chores but was able to fold her own clothes (Tr. 65). She experienced “a phobia” about leaving the house since experiencing a panic attack resulting from the shooting (Tr. 65).

         Plaintiff experienced good results from mental health counseling while in jail and continued to receive treatment after being released (Tr. 65). At the time of the hearing, she received mental health treatment once a month and pain management treatment once every two months (Tr. 66). While at home, she did not sit on either the front or back porch due to her fear of being shot (Tr. 67).

         Plaintiff's worst physical problem was right knee limitations due to a bullet wound and arthritis (Tr. 67-68). She experienced “unbearable pain” when not taking medication (Tr. 68). She could walk but not run, adding that she was able to walk one block before experiencing severe knee pain (Tr. 68-69). Her pain was eased by propping her right leg up to hip level (Tr. 69). She was unable to sit for more than 30 minutes due to back pain (Tr. 69-70). After sitting for half an hour, she was required to recline for two hours (Tr. 70). Her back pain, also due to a gunshot wound, was not as bad as the knee pain but created left upper extremity limitations (Tr. 71). She was unable to lift more than five pounds with the left arm (Tr. 71). She was unable to stand for more than 10 minutes at a time due to back and knee pain (Tr. 71).

         Plaintiff socialized with her daughter and sister (Tr. 72). Due to the medication side effect of sleepiness, Plaintiff was unable to focus for the length of a 30-minute television program (Tr. 72). She was able to watch a movie but was prone to falling asleep before the end, adding that she typically recorded movies for later viewing (Tr. 73). She did not experience problems falling asleep at night but before starting Seroquel, experienced nightmares (Tr. 73-74). She also experienced daily headaches lasting for up to a few hours (Tr. 75). In response to questioning by the ALJ, Plaintiff testified that her doctors were aware of her daily headaches and that she spent approximately 17 daytime hours sleeping every day (Tr. 76-77).

         B. Medical Evidence[2]

         1. Treating Sources

         February, 2015 records by University Pain Clinic note Plaintiff's report of low back and buttock pain since sustaining gunshot wounds in 2008 (Tr. 303). On a scale of one to ten, Plaintiff reported level “six” pain at the time of the examination and a maximum of level “ten” pain (Tr. 303). She exhibited normal judgment, mood, and affect (Tr. 304). Plaintiff reported that she was not interested in more aggressive treatment (Tr. 306). She denied medication side effects (Tr. 307). She denied fatigue or sleeping problems but reported anxiety and depression (Tr. 308). In April and June, 2015 Plaintiff again denied medication side effects (Tr. 310, 313). She appeared fully oriented (Tr. 311, 315).

         June, 2015 records by psychiatrist John Head, D.O. note that Plaintiff spent two years in prison for assault during which time she was diagnosed with PTSD, depression, and anxiety (Tr. 453). He assigned her a GAF of 46 due to depression, PTSD, and educational, occupational, social, and legal problems[3] (Tr. 453). Counseling sessions from the same month note that Plaintiff was fully oriented with a cooperative manner and clear speech (Tr. 433). July, 2015 physical treating records note a normal range of motion and normal neurological and psychological examinations (Tr. 463). Plaintiff reported that her primary concern was hypertension (Tr. 462). Dr. Head's August and September, 2015 records note her report of “no complaints” or medication side effects (Tr. 403, 411). Dr. Head's October, 2015 records note complaints of “racing thoughts” but no side effects (Tr. 397). Physical treating records from the following month note that Plaintiff was scheduled for a partial hysterectomy (Tr. 469). Physical and psychological examinations were unremarkable (Tr. 470). In November and December, 2015, Plaintiff again denied medication side effects or psychological symptoms (Tr. 381, 389). Physical treating records from the same month note normal strength and movement and unremarkable neurological and psychiatric examinations (Tr. 473).

         January, 2016 pain management records note that a straight leg raise test was negative (Tr. 536). Plaintiff demonstrated a normal gait and was “fully awake, alert, appropriate, and talkative” (Tr. 536). She report level “five” pain (Tr. 535). Dr. Head's January and February, 2016 records note no medication side effects or symptoms (Tr. 363, 373). March, 2016 pain management records note that lower back and right knee pain was improved with medication (Tr. 526). Plaintiff denied medication side effects (Tr. 526). Dr. Head's April, 2016 note her report of “hearing voices” (Tr. 350). His records from later the same month note that Plaintiff had no complaints, side effects, or symptoms (Tr. 341). In May, 2016, Dr. Head assigned Plaintiff a GAF of 50 due to depression, PTSD, and educational, occupational, social, and legal stressors (Tr. 331). He noted that Plaintiff had a 25-year history of marijuana abuse (Tr. 331). A medication review from the same month noted “no complaints, ” “no symptoms, ” and a denial of medication side effects (Tr. 332).

         April and July, 2016 treating records note normal movement and normal neurological and psychiatric examinations (Tr. 475, 477). October, 2016 physical treating records note a normal range of motion and a normal neurological examination (Tr. 479, 483). January, 2017 records note a full range of motion in all extremities and a normal neurological examination (Tr. 486). Plaintiff complained of headaches due to the use of Norvasc (Tr. 485). Pain management records from the same month note that pain interfered with her daily activities but that she did not experience medication side effects (Tr. 518). She declined a recommended CAT scan, stating that she was not interested in surgery (Tr. 518). She requested a right knee injection, noting that the knee pain was worse in cold weather (Tr. 518). February, 2017 physical treating records also note Plaintiff's report of headaches due to the use of Norvasc (Tr. 492). A knee injection was performed without complications in March, 2017 (Tr. 504).

         In March, 2017, Dr. Head composed a letter on behalf of the Plaintiff's application for SSI, opining that she was “unable to work due to her chronic mental health symptoms” (Tr. 566).

         2. Consultative and Non-Examining Sources

         In October, 2015, Julia A. Czarnecki, M.A., LLP, under the direction of Nick Boneff, Ph.D, performed a consultative psychological examination (Tr. 324-328) noting Plaintiff's report that she underwent three years of physical therapy following the 2008 shooting but continued to experienced lower back and buttocks pain (Tr. 324). Plaintiff reported that she was taken to an emergency room in 2012 after experiencing a panic attack (Tr. 324). She denied episodes of self harm or inpatient psychiatric treatment (Tr. 324). She reported that anxiety was ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.