United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
DAVID M. LINEHAN, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Commissioner of Social Security Administration, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
PATTI B. SARIS CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
David M. Linehan, who suffers from physical and mental
impairments, moves to reverse and remand the
Commissioner's denial of his application for Social
Security Disability Insurance Benefits under 42 U.S.C. §
405(g). He claims that the Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) committed an error of law by ignoring
evidence from his treating healthcare providers.
reasons set forth below, the Court DENIES
Defendant's Motion to Affirm (Docket No. 24) and
ALLOWS, in part, Plaintiff's Motion to
Reverse (Docket No. 22).
following facts are derived from the administrative record.
Plaintiff is a 50-year-old male with a high school education,
residing with his girlfriend and their two young children in
Quincy, Massachusetts. R. 62, 179-80.
impairments that support the disability claim stem from a
series of incidents in 2012 and 2013. R. 280. First,
Plaintiff hit his head while moving a futon in September
2012, resulting in severe neck pain. R. 280. Then, on
November 6, 2012, he was involved in a low-speed motor
vehicle accident, briefly losing consciousness. R. 402. His
dizziness, fatigue, and cognitive difficulties have since
been treated as post-concussion symptoms. R. 280-81.
February 2013, after forcefully shaking a bottle of infant
formula, he sought medical treatment for severe pain in his
neck and arm. Id. On May 2, 2013, he was involved in
a second motor vehicle accident, which he described as a
“minor fender bender.” Id. His Alleged
Onset Date of disability is May 5, 2013. R. 53.
last worked a full-time job in 2007. R. 145-46. After a
period of unemployment, Plaintiff began to work part- time as
a driver for Enterprise Rental Car in 2010. R. 145. Plaintiff
stopped working some time after the November 2012 car
accident. He then attempted to return to work on an
incremental basis, beginning with a two hour shift in May
2013. R. 402. Due to fatigue, dizziness, and the inability to
concentrate, he felt that he was unable to perform his duties
as a driver and left Enterprise later that year. Id.
in March 2014 and continuing through the time of the hearing
before the ALJ on November 3, 2015, Plaintiff was working on
a per diem basis as a courier for White House
Insurance, two to three half days per week on average. R.
35-36. Due to his symptoms, Plaintiff has refused offers of
additional work. R. 45.
initially reported “dizziness and fatigue” to a
doctor on the day after the automobile accident in November
2012. R. 440. During his visit to Massachusetts General
Hospital on the day of the February 16, 2013 bottle shaking
incident, the attending physician noted that his
“neurological exam show[ed] no focal defects” and
that his motor function was “intact.” R. 324.
Later that month, Dr. Leonid Shinchuk treated him for neck
and arm pain but noted that “[h]e is independent with
activities of daily living . . . [and] [h]e demonstrates good
attention and concentration . . . .” R. 318. Also in
February 2013, Dr. Seth Herman, M.D., a traumatic brain
injury and neurological rehabilitation specialist, began to
see Plaintiff regularly. R. 606.
2, 2013, after the second automobile accident, Plaintiff
again showed no neurological defects on examination. R. 300.
One week later, Plaintiff reported some lingering
absentmindedness to his physical therapist, Marie Figueroa,
but stated that his dizziness had abated. R. 293. Later that
month, Dr. Herman noted that Plaintiff was ...