United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
Nathaniel M. Gorton United States District Judge
se plaintiff Stephanie Tresh (“plaintiff” or
“Tresh”) filed this action appealing the denial
of her application for disability benefits against defendant
Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security
Administration (“the Commissioner”). This Court
will treat plaintiff's letter to the Court (Docket No.
20) dated April 24, 2017, purporting to be a status report,
as a motion to reverse the decision of the Commissioner. Also
pending before the Court is defendant's motion to affirm.
For the reasons that follow, the motion to reverse will be
denied and the motion to affirm will be allowed.
Employment History and Alleged Disability
was born in 1967 and resides in Massachusetts. After high
school, Tresh worked as an accounting assistant, office
assistant and office manager full time while taking college
courses at night. After earning her associate's degree in
marketing and design, she worked as an intern web designer
and later as a full time employee. After obtaining her
bachelor's degree in business management, she worked as a
web designer for six years.
explains that, in 2005, while she was pregnant with her
second child, she began experiencing back pain. Eventually
she was diagnosed as having a herniated disc. She was treated
with steroid shots which made the pain more bearable but did
not resolve her symptoms completely.
to Tresh, in 2006 she was also diagnosed with rheumatoid
arthritis (“RA”) and, although it was treated,
she still had daily joint pain. She was further found to
suffer from fibromyalgia and Reynaud disease, apparently
related to her RA.
her second child was born, Tresh began experiencing migraine
headaches which resulted in vomiting and sensitivity to
light. Tresh explains that she went to emergency rooms for
the migraines because intravenous medication was the only
successful treatment. In 2011, she was hospitalized for
asserts that, because of her health problems and her
caretaking responsibilities for two young children, she quit
her employment. She has allegedly tried several treatment
regimens for her various ailments with only moderate or
December, 2012, plaintiff filed an application for Social
Security disability insurance (“SSDI”) benefits
under Title II of the Social Security Act in which she
alleges that she became disabled in November, 2007 because of
the ailments described above. In February, 2013, the Social
Security Administration (“SSA”) denied her claim
and the following August her claim was again denied after
filed a request for a hearing in October, 2013. A hearing was
held before Administrative Law Judge Eric Eklund (“the
ALJ”). Plaintiff was represented by counsel. An
impartial vocational expert also testified at the hearing.
The ALJ found that plaintiff was not disabled as defined by
the Social Security Act (“the Act”). 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g). Plaintiff timely filed a request for review
with the Appeals Council. That request was denied in
November, 2015, rendering the ALJ's determination a final
decision subject to judicial review. See Da Rosa v.
Sec'y of Health & Human Servs., 803 F.2d 24, 25 (1st
filed her complaint with this Court in April, 2016. The
Commissioner filed a motion to dismiss for lack of
prosecution in April, 2017. Plaintiff's status report
filed in June, 2017, referred to above, is treated as a
motion to reverse the Commissioner's decision. The
Commissioner filed a motion to affirm in July, 2017. Both
motions are the subject of this memorandum.
Social Security Disability Insurance Appeal ...