United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY ON JUDICIAL REVIEW
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE
Christopher Catlett (“Catlett”) requests judicial
review of the final decision of the Commissioner of the
Social Security Administration (the
“Commissioner”), denying his applications for
Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits
(“DIB”) under Title II of the Social Security Act
(the “Act”), and Supplemental Security Income
(“SSI”) under Title XVI of the Act.For the following
reasons, the Court REMANDS the decision of
the Commissioner for further consideration.
February 26, 2013, Catlett protectively filed applications
for DIB and SSI, alleging a disability onset date of January
6, 2012, due to multiple sclerosis, diabetes, high blood
pressure, and congestive heart failure. His claims were
initially denied on June 3, 2013, and again on
reconsideration on September 4, 2013. Catlett filed a written
request for a hearing on November 6, 2013. On December 17,
2014, a hearing was held via video conference before
Administrative Law Judge Elliott Bunce (the
“ALJ”). Catlett was present and represented by
counsel. A vocational expert, Bassey A. Duke, appeared and
testified at the hearing. On January 6, 2015, the ALJ denied
Catlett's applications for DIB and SSI. Following this
decision, Catlett requested review by the Appeals Council on
January 28, 2015. On June 3, 2016, the Appeals Council denied
Catlett's request for review of the ALJ's decision,
thereby making the ALJ's decision the final decision of
the Commissioner for purposes of judicial review. On June 24,
2016, Catlett filed this action for judicial review of the
ALJ's decision pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
time of his alleged disability onset date, Catlett was
forty-one years old, and he was forty-four years old at the
time of the ALJ's decision. Catlett graduated from high
school and attended two years of college. Prior to the onset
of his alleged disability, Catlett had an employment history
of working as a forklift driver, inventory clerk, stock
clerk, and unloader. However, Catlett stopped working because
of the pain and other symptoms associated with his
Court focuses on Catlett's impairment of depression
because this impairment is the primary focus of Catlett's
request for reversal of the ALJ's decision and remand for
further consideration. Using language from the ALJ's
decision, the Court only summarizes Catlett's other
[Catlett] has gone to the hospital for chest pain, and he
eventually had a coronary stent placed. The claimant's
brain MRIs show the presence of [multiple sclerosis], and he
reports having numbness in the legs due to diabetes mellitus.
He has had no mental health treatment other than medication
management, but he was diagnosed with a mental health
impairment during a consultative examination.
(Filing No. 13-2 at 28.)
medical records dating as early as June 2011, Catlett carried
diagnoses of depression and anxiety (Filing No. 13-8 at
110). During a cardiology office visit in June 2011, it
was noted that Catlett had an appropriate mood, memory, and
judgment. Id. at 112.
received treatment from neurologist Kuimil K. Mohan, M.D.
(“Dr. Mohan”), for back and other pain, and
during an office visit in February 2012, Dr. Mohan recorded
that Catlett had normal memory, normal attention span and
concentration, normal fund of knowledge, and normal
orientation to time, place, and person following a
neurological evaluation. It was also noted that Catlett had
no suicidal thoughts (Filing No. 13-7 at 55-56). Dr.
Mohan made the same observations of Catlett in March 2012
(Filing No. 13-18 at 15).
a cardiology office visit in February 2013, Joseph Lauer,
M.D., noted Catlett's diagnoses of depression and anxiety
and also noted that Catlett had appropriate mood, memory, and
judgment (Filing No. 13-8 at 79-81). In March 2013,
Catlett was seen by Dmitry Arbuck, M.D. (“Dr.
Arbuck”). Dr. Arbuck made note of Catlett's anxiety
and major depressive disorder and recommended that Catlett
stop taking Cymbalta and start taking Viibryd to address his
depression and anxiety (Filing No. 13-12 at 18-21).
March 2013, on his “personal data form” at
Meridian Health Group, Catlett rated his mental health as
“good, ” with the other options being average,
below average, or poor. He also reported that he had
depression but no other psychological concerns. Id.
at 2, 6. From a progress note of an office visit to Indiana
Polyclinic in April 2013, it was noted that Catlett had a
“blunted affect” and was taking his medication
for depression and anxiety. Id. at 29. At a
follow-up visit to Indiana Polyclinic in May 2013, Catlett
reported that his depression and anxiety were a
“9” on a scale of 0 to 10 and that he was
irritable and angry and experiencing hallucinations and side
effects from his medications. Id. at 30.
Catlett filed his applications for SSI and DIB, the state
disability office asked Angela Hunnicutt, Ph.D. (“Dr.
Hunnicutt”), to conduct a psychological evaluation of
Catlett in May 2013. (Filing No. 13-10 at 65.)
Catlett reported being depressed since being diagnosed with
multiple sclerosis but denied a history of depression before
the diagnosis. He reported to Dr. Hunnicutt that he had never
received therapy for his depression. He denied a history of
anxiety. Catlett “described his energy level as
intermittent, ” and explained that “he can watch
an hour of TV before his mind wanders.” Id.
Hunnicutt observed that Catlett had good eye contact and was
appropriately groomed. Dr. Hunnicutt recorded that Catlett
appeared to have average intelligence and was alert
throughout the interview. He was cooperative and had
organized thoughts, appropriate ...