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Davenport v. Berryhill

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

March 7, 2018

CORLEEN DAVENPORT, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, [1]Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration. Defendant.

          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. 41)

          CABELL, U.S.M.J.

         Corleen 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.

         I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On 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.).

         On 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, 125-27).

         On 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).

         II. FACTS

         A. Personal and Employment History

         The 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).

         B. Medical History

         i. Treatment for Physical Health Related Issues

         In her 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 follows.

         On 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).

         Between 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 ...


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