United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
RODERICK M. COFFEE, Plaintiff,
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.
ENTRY ON JUDICIAL REVIEW
WILLIAM T. LAWRENCE, District Judge.
Plaintiff Roderick M. Coffee requests judicial review of the final decision of the Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (the "Commissioner"), denying his applications for Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB") and Supplemental Social Security Income ("SSI") under Titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act (the "Act"). The Court now rules as follows.
I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Coffee filed his applications for DIB and SSI on July 30, 2009, alleging disability beginning March 16, 2003, due to left leg pain (and later on, depression). Coffee's applications were initially denied on September 24, 2009, and again upon reconsideration on January 12, 2010. Thereafter, Coffee requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"). The hearing was held on February 17, 2011, via video conference before ALJ Linda S. Halperin. Coffee and his counsel appeared in Indianapolis, Indiana, and the ALJ presided over the hearing from Evanston, Illinois. Gail H. Franklin testified during the hearing as a vocational expert. On April 26, 2011, the ALJ issued a decision denying Coffee's applications for benefits. The Appeals Council subsequently granted Coffee's request for review and remanded the case for further consideration of Coffee's mental impairments. A second hearing was held on May 3, 2012, in Indianapolis, Indiana before ALJ Daniel J. Mages. During the hearing, Coffee amended his onset date to allege disability beginning on July 28, 2009, rather than March 16, 2003. On May 23, 2012, ALJ Mages denied Coffee's application for benefits. This time, the Appeals Council upheld the ALJ's decision and denied a request for review on June 3, 2014. This action for judicial review ensued.
II. EVIDENCE OF RECORD
In 1985, Coffee broke his wrist. The fracture required a bone graft from his left hip. He continues to experience residual pain and immobility in his left leg.
In 1987, Coffee suffered a gunshot wound to his abdomen. He still experiences residual pain in his abdomen. He also has pain in his left leg due to nerve damage from the bullet.
In April 2006, Coffee experienced a corneal abrasion in his left eye. As of August 2011, however, his vision was 20/70 in his left eye, 20/13 in the right eye, and 20/13 with both eyes.
In September 2007, Coffee was involved in a motor vehicle accident. He was diagnosed with low back pain and a muscle strain.
On September 16, 2009, Coffee underwent a physical consultative examination with Dr. Farhan Bangash. Dr. Bangash opined as follows:
[T]he patient does not have any range of motion deficits. The patient is able to walk up to two to four blocks without problems, can remain standing for hours, can climb four to five flights of stairs without problems, can lift 40 pounds in the right and left arm. The patient currently works part time in construction; however he states the pain is what affects his work. Also based on my exam, the patient has normal fine finger skills.
Tr. at 552.
On December 15, 2009, Coffee underwent a psychological consultative examination with Carrie Dixon, Ph.D. She diagnosed him with dysthymic disorder, assigned him a Global Assessment of Functioning ("GAF") of 60, and stated that he "appears capable of managing his own funds. He exhibits signs of good reality contact. He exhibits intact memory skills. He experiences only minor difficulty performing simple calculations." Id. at 558.
In January 2011, Coffee's son suffered a fatal gunshot wound, and shortly thereafter, he sought mental health treatment for stress, ...