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Anglemyer v. Colvin

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division

April 2, 2014

JAMIE S. ANGLEMYER, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, [1] Defendant.

OPINION AND ORDER

CHRISTOPHER A. NUECHTERLEIN, Magistrate Judge.

On September 5, 2012, Plaintiff Jaime S. Anglemyer, ("Anglemyer") filed a Motion for judicial review in this Court requesting reversal or remand of the decision of the Commissioner denying Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB") and Supplemental Security Income ("SSI"). On April 26, 2013, Anglemyer filed his opening brief and, on August 2, 2013, Carolyn Colvin, the acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, ("Commissioner") responded. Anglemyer filed a reply brief on August 29, 2013. This Court may enter a ruling in this matter based on the parties' consent, 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), and 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3).

I. PROCEDURE

On August 24, 2009, Plaintiff, Jaime S. Anglemyer, filed applications for SSI and DIB, alleging that he had become disabled on June 30, 2008, due to symptoms associated with a head injury, a back injury, and hip problems. Anglemyer later amended his alleged disability onset date to August 24, 2009. His applications were denied initially on December 21, 2009, and upon reconsideration on March 1, 2010. On March 30, 2010, Anglemyer filed a written request for a hearing, which occurred on April 18, 2011. Anglemyer appeared at the hearing with counsel and testified before an administrative law judge ("ALJ"). A vocational expert ("VE") also testified at the hearing.

On July, 22, 2011, the ALJ issued an opinion denying Anglemyer's request for benefits. The ALJ found that Anglemyer had not engaged in substantial gainful employment at any time since the onset date of his alleged disability. The ALJ then concluded that Anglemyer suffered from the following severe impairments: degenerative disc disease, sleep apnea, personality disorder, depression, and obesity. However, the ALJ also found that none of Anglemyer's severe impairments or combination of impairments met or medically equaled any of those included in the Listing of Impairments at 20 C.F.R. pt. 404, subpt. P., app. 1. The ALJ found that Anglemyer's statements concerning the intensity, persistence, and limiting effects of his symptoms were not credible and determined that Anglemyer retained the residual functional capacity ("RFC") to perform a full range of unskilled, light work.[2] Based on this finding, the ALJ found that Anglemyer could not perform any of his past relevant work, but could perform jobs that existed in significant numbers in the national economy. Therefore, the ALJ determined that Anglemyer was not disabled and that his claim for benefits should be denied.

On August 14, 2012, the Appeals Council denied Anglemyer's request for review of the ALJ's decision. This made the ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner. See C.F.R. §§ 404.981, 416.1481.

II. RELEVANT BACKGROUND

A. Facts

Anglemyer was 44 years old at the time of the ALJs decision. Anglemyer is approximately five feet, six inches tall and two hundred and forty pounds. Anglemyer completed tenth grade, but did not obtain a GED. He is married and resides with his wife and a female roommate for the purposes of paying the bills.

During the last fifteen years, Anglemyer worked full time as a temporary worker, arc welder, or trailer assembler. Anglemyer received vocational training at a career center. In 2008, Anglemyer was working as a temporary worker until he sustained a head injury after falling out of a truck at work. Anglemyer's resulting head injury caused concentration and memory problems. Anglemyer had also worked as a welder and as a trailer assembler. Anglemyer exhausted his unemployment benefits after he stopped working. Since his last job, Anglemyer has looked for new employment and explored the possibility of returning to school to learn a new trade, both to no avail.

B. Medical Background

Anglemyer's medical records date back to October 26, 1991, when he saw Dr. Paul Yoder at Oaklawn Psychiatric Center ("Oaklawn") for a psychological evaluation and treatment. Anglemyer's therapist, Robert Wert, ACSW, had referred him to Dr. Yoder, as had the court in response to criminal charges that Anglemyer faced at that time. Dr. Yoder noted that Anglemyer had "a long history of troubled behavior and emotional problems." (Tr. 250). Anglemyer underwent testing that yielded diagnoses of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder ("PTSD"), cannabis dependence, dysthymia[3], major depression, personality disorder, and developmental arithmetic and reading disorders. Then in 1999, Anglemyer was again treated at Oaklawn for major depression, cannabis dependence, and personality disorder. In August of 1999, Dr. Yoder noted that Anglemyer had been upset that his disability application had been denied but that he needed treatment compliance before he could qualify for disability. In 2002, Anglemyer applied for Medicaid benefits and consequently underwent further evaluation by Linda Bertsche, a psychiatric clinical nurse specialist, who diagnosed him with psychotic disorder NOS, a history of alcohol and cannabis dependence in full remission, and personality disorder NOS. Bertsche, however, listed a Rule PTSD diagnosis suggesting a lack of certainty at that time as to whether a PTSD diagnosis was accurate.

Anglemyer's record also shows treatment on July 15, 2009, at the emergency room for headaches and back pain. Anglemyer told the emergency room doctor, Eugene Huang, M.D., that he believed that his headaches and back pain were the result of a fall from a truck at work about a year and a half earlier. Anglemyer thought the fall may have been caused by a seizure. Anglemyer stated that he experienced pain two times a week at first, but the pain increased in frequency to daily pain. Dr. Huang's exam of Anglemyer showed lower back discomfort/numbness but no point tenderness or other conditions. Furthermore, a CT scan performed revealed no acute abnormalities to Anglemyer's head.

On July 17, 2009, Anglemyer began to see a primary care physician, Dr. Pranjalkumar Patel. During this visit, Anglemyer did not report any difficulties with light sensitivity or headaches, but did say he had "mild headache[s] off and on." (Tr. 271-72). Anglemyer also informed Dr. Patel that he may have had a seizure the day before his visit. Nonetheless, Dr. Patel noted headaches, possible migraines, possible seizure activity, and rectal bleeding possibly from hemorrhoids. Dr. Patel referred Anglemyer to a neurologist and gastroenterologist for further evaluation and ordered an electroencephalogram ("EEG"). Anglemyer, however, refused to seek further evaluation despite Dr. Patel's warning about the possible outcomes.

On October 30, 2009, Dr. Randal Horton, a state agency psychological consultant, completed Psychiatric Review Technique and Mental Residual Functional Capacity Assessment forms regarding Anglemyer. Dr. Horton opined that Anglemyer was able to "drive, give rides, do chores, prepare some meals, maintain hygiene, shop, handle money, engage in leisure interests, socialize, and has within normal limits in regards to comprehension/attention." (Tr. 292). Furthermore, Horton noted that ...


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