United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO REVERSE THE
COMMISSIONER'S DECISION (DKT. NO. 37) AND DEFENDANT'S
MOTION TO AFFIRM THE COMMISSIONER'S DECISION (DKT. NO.
Davenport applied for Title II Disability Insurance Benefits
(“DIB”) but an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)
denied her claim after determining that she did not suffer
from a severe impairment, and the Commissioner through the
Appeals Council declined to hear her appeal. Davenport argues
that the ALJ never received certain records that would have
proven a mental health related disability. She moves for
reversal of the ALJ's determination as well as a ruling
that she is entitled to benefits. (Dkt. No. 37). The
Commissioner cross moves to affirm its decision. (Dkt. No.
41). For the reasons discussed below, the court finds no
error in the ALJ's treatment of the plaintiff's
application. Accordingly, the plaintiff's motion to
reverse will be denied and the defendant's motion to
affirm will be allowed.
April 8, 2013, the plaintiff filed an application for
disability and disability insurance benefits under Title II
of the Social Security Act. (Dkt. No. 26: Social Security
Administration Record of Social Security Proceedings, at page
108 (hereinafter “(R.)”)). The plaintiff alleged
a physical disability since April 9, 2010 due to a
work-related incident that resulted in injury to her lower
back and left leg. (R. 97). The plaintiff's date last
insured was March 31, 2011. (Id.).
September 5, 2013, the SSA denied the plaintiff's claim.
On January 9, 2014, the SSA denied the application again
after the plaintiff requested a reconsideration. (R. 121-23,
October 16, 2014, an ALJ held an administrative hearing. (R.
50). On January 13, 2015, the ALJ determined that the
plaintiff was not eligible for disability benefits because
she was not disabled since April 9, 2010, the alleged
disability onset date. (R. 21-34). On March 22, 2016, the
Appeals Council denied the plaintiff's request for review
of the ALJ's decision, making it the final decision of
the Commissioner. (R. 1-4). The plaintiff initiated this
action on May 25, 2016. (Dkt. No. 1).
Personal and Employment History
plaintiff was born in 1959 and completed the tenth grade. (R.
57, 97). She previously worked as a press operator and as a
sales clerk for a movie theatre, coffee shop, and
supermarket. (R. 295). She last worked in April of 2010 as a
barista for a Starbucks located inside of a Stop & Shop
supermarket. (Id.). The plaintiff was 50 years old
on April 9, 2010, the alleged onset date of her disability.
Her date last insured was March 31, 2011. (R. 97).
Treatment for Physical Health Related Issues
2013 application for benefits, the plaintiff alleged a
physical disability due to pain in her lower back and left
leg. With respect to records and evidence bearing on
treatment for physical matters, the record reflected as
April 9, 2010, the plaintiff presented to the Morton Hospital
emergency department with complaints of lower back pain. (R.
195-96). While at work earlier that afternoon, the plaintiff
was lifting heavy trash bags out of a barrel when she heard a
“pop” in her lower back immediately followed by
pain. (R. 197). She was released from the emergency
department that evening, and was prescribed hydrocodone,
cyclobenzaprine, and ibuprofen for the pain. (R. 195). The
following day, Dr. DeTurck, a chiropractor with the Taunton
Wellness Center, diagnosed the plaintiff with a lumbosacral
sprain. (R. 197).
April 2010 and May 2012, the plaintiff saw numerous
chiropractors and underwent a variety of treatments to
alleviate her lower back and left leg pain, including
electrical muscle stimulation, targeted physical therapy
exercises designed to ...