United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
For Dawn Marie Doyle, Plaintiff: William J. Gately, Jr, Fall River, MA.
For Carolyn W Colvin, Defendant: Christine J. Wichers, LEAD ATTORNEY, United States Attorney's Office MA, Boston, MA.
For Social Security Administration, Interested Party: Thomas D. Ramsey, LEAD ATTORNEY, Office of the General Counsel, Social Security Administration, Boston, MA.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
WILLIAM G. YOUNG, DISTRICT JUDGE.
The Plaintiff, Dawn Marie Doyle (" Doyle" ), brings this action under Section 205(g) of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Doyle seeks judicial review of the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security (" the Commissioner" ).
A. Procedural History
Doyle submitted an application for Disability Insurance Benefits on May 12, 2010. Soc. Sec. Admin. R./Tr. (" Admin. R." ) 120-26, ECF No. 13. Doyle alleged that she became disabled and unable to work on February 26, 2010. Id. at 120. Her claim for disability insurance benefits was denied on August 30, 2010. Id. at 49-51. On December 16, 2010, Doyle's subsequent request for reconsideration was also denied. Id. at 52-54. Doyle (accompanied by counsel) received a hearing on July 5, 2012, before an Administrative Law Judge (the " hearing officer" ). Id. at 25-46. The hearing officer denied her claim on July 19, 2012, and Doyle petitioned the Appeals Council for review of the decision. Id. at 6-17, 22. The Appeals Council denied her request for review on August 24, 2013, rendering the hearing officer's July 19 decision the Commissioner's final decision. Id. at 1-5.
Doyle filed her complaint requesting review of the Commissioner's final decision on September 26, 2013. Compl., ECF No. 1. The Commissioner filed with the Court a copy of the administrative record of Doyle's claim on February 18, 2014. See Admin. R. Doyle filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings and an accompanying memorandum in support on March 31, 2014. Pl.'s Mot. J., ECF No. 14; Pl.'s Br. Supp. Mot. J. (" Pl.'s Br." ), ECF No. 15. On May 9, 2014, the Commissioner filed her own motion for judgment and memorandum. Def.'s Mot. Affirm Decision Comm'r, ECF No. 17; Mem. Supp. Def.'s Mot. Affirm Decision Comm'r (" Def.'s Br." ), ECF No. 18.
B. Factual Background
Dawn Marie Doyle is a 47-year-old woman currently residing in an apartment in Marlborough, Massachusetts with her boyfriend. Admin. R. 28, 120. She is unemployed and last worked as a cashier in February of 2010. Id. at 29. She previously worked at Friendly's and a DVD rental store; she has also been employed as a cook. Id. at 28-29. Doyle alleges that she became disabled on February 26, 2010, as a result of costochondritis of the left costochondral junctions, sinus tachycardia, palpations/mesyncope and migraines. Pl.'s Br. 4.
II. MEDICAL EVIDENCE
The earliest piece of medical evidence of Doyle's disability to appear in the record documents Doyle's visit to Signature Healthcare on March 2, 2010. Admin. R. 386-87. She complained of pressure in her chest, pain in her chest when she moved her arms, dizziness, headaches, palpitations, and anxiety. Id. at 386. The physical exam reported that she was not in acute distress, had no cardiac murmurs, and had no wheezing or crackling in her lungs. Id. The exam did show tenderness over the left fifth and sixth costochondral junction. Id. Doyle was prescribed 800 MG ibuprofen for chest pain and discomfort and encouraged to restart salt tablets to treat her dizziness. Id. at 387.
She visited Signature Healthcare on March 19, 2010, for a two-week follow-up exam. Id. at 388. Her physical complaints included chest pain, pain when lifting gallon milk jugs, and several instances of coughing up blood. Id. The physical exam showed that she was not in acute distress, had no cardiac murmurs, and had no wheezing or crackling in the lungs. Id. There was still tenderness over the third and fifth costochondral junctions on the left side. Id.
On March 24, 2010, Doyle was again examined at Signature Healthcare for chest pain, palpitations, and shortness of breath at night. Id. at 390. The examiner noted that she was in no apparent distress and appeared comfortable. Id. Examinations of the head, heart, abdomen, and extremities were normal. Id. A chest examination showed tenderness on palpation of the left fourth costochondral junction, but was otherwise normal. Id. The report concluded that Doyle's " symptoms of chest pain are clearly musculoskeletal" and suggested rib films to rule out rib pathology. Id. at 391.
On March 31, 2010, Doyle reported to her psychiatrist that her sleep was disrupted by coughing. Id. at 322. Her psychiatrist noted that she had costochondritis and had been diagnosed with pneumonia. Id. Doyle also reported continued heart palpitations. Id.
On April 2, 2010, Doyle was seen at Signature Healthcare for chest pain and dizziness. Id. at 392. The exam showed no acute distress, cardiac murmurs, or lung concerns. Id. Doyle continued to experience pain in the fourth and fifth costochondral regions. Id .
Doyle underwent a chest scan at Brockton Hospital on April 6, 2010. Id. at 305. The scan showed a small focal linear atelectasis in the lower posterior left lung base, no focal lung mass lesion or mediastinal lymphadenopathy, and no thoracic aortic aneurysm or dissection. Id. Additionally, Doyle received a transthoracic echocardiogram that showed the left and right atria and ventricles to be of normal size, with no evidence of aortic or mitral regurgitation or stenosis. Id. at 310. The report concluded that the echocardiography was within normal limits. Id. at 311.
Doyle was seen at Signature Healthcare for migraines on April 12, 2010. Id. at 394. The physical exam showed that she was not in acute distress, and all other exams were normal. Id. at 395-96. Doyle was seen for a follow-up appointment on April 13, 2010. Id. at 398. The examiner reported that she was in no acute distress and all test results were normal. Id.
On April 17, 2010, Doyle received an MRI of the brain. Id. at 307. The report showed a normal scan with no acute cerebral infarction and no focal cerebral arterial lesion or stenosis. Id. at 307-08.
An EEG on April 27, 2010, revealed no significant abnormalities. Id. at 313. The following day, a carotid duplex examination showed normal morphology with no appreciable plaque formation or stenosis in either extracranial carotid system. Id. at 314.
Doyle sought treatment at Signature Healthcare on May 19, 2010, complaining of rib pain. Id. at 403. Again, she presented in no acute distress and with normal examination results. Id. at 404. Follow-up exams on June ...