United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
WILLIAM F. GLACKEN, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
Nathaniel M. Gorton United States District Judge
Glacken (“Glacken” or “plaintiff”)
seeks judicial review of the denial of his application for
disability insurance benefits by Nancy A. Berryhill
(“the Commissioner” or “defendant”),
the Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
(“the SSA”). Pending before the Court are
plaintiff's motion for an order reversing the
Commissioner's decision (Docket No. 11) and
defendant's motion to affirm that decision (Docket No.
12). For the reasons that follow, plaintiff's motion will
be denied and the Commissioner's motion will be allowed.
Employment History and Alleged Disability
was born in 1961. He has at least a high school education and
served in the armed forces during the 1980s. After military
service, Glacken worked in customer service at Home Depot in
the plumbing department. He also worked as a truck driver
delivering cheese to local grocery stores. In May, 2008,
Glacken suffered his first heart attack. That is the alleged
onset date for purposes of his application for disability
insurance benefits. Glacken attempted to work for a short
period during the summer of 2011 as a dump truck driver
delivering mulch to local nurseries but was forced to stop
because of his alleged physical impairments. He has not
attempted to work since that time and has not engaged in any
substantial gainful employment since his alleged onset date.
reports from September, 2012, to November, 2013, establish
that Glacken suffers from type II diabetes, hypertension,
chest pain from coronary heart disease, high cholesterol and
hereditary hemochromatosis (the excessive buildup of iron in
the body). He was also diagnosed with degeneration of the
cartilage or meniscus of the knees during that time period
and was taking pain medication. His hemochromatosis was
reported as stable and cardiovascular examinations
demonstrated no heart murmurs and normal rate and rhythm.
October, 2013, Glacken reported that he had been caring for
his 14-month old grandson despite his various medical issues.
A physical examination at that time revealed no cardiac
issues. He reported experiencing some knee pain but
demonstrated normal gait and no focal deficits. He was
advised to see a hematologist for his high iron level.
November, 2014, Glacken was diagnosed with major depressive
disorder. He did not begin treatment for his depression,
however, until October, 2015, when he began attending
individual therapy sessions and medication management. Mental
status examinations performed thereafter were unremarkable
and demonstrated that plaintiff was alert and fully oriented
and had no cognitive impairments. Glacken requested
evaluation for symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder
(“PTSD”) in March, 2016.
February, 2017, plaintiff suffered a second heart attack and
a pacemaker was installed in his chest a few weeks later.
October, 2015, Glacken had a consultative examination with
Alice Armstrong, Ph.D (“Dr. Armstrong”). Her
physical and mental examinations of plaintiff were
unremarkable. She found no impairment of judgment in daily
activities or social situations but did note that he reported
a trend toward social isolation and somatic focus. She
concluded that he had a mild to moderate level of depression
that seemed to be secondary to his knee pain and heart
concerns. Glacken scored a 28 out of 30 on a Mini Mental
Examination and was assessed a Global Assessment of
Functioning (“GAF”) score of 55, indicating
moderate psychological symptoms and limitations in social or
December, 2015, a state agency consultant reviewed
plaintiff's mental health records and determined that his
alleged mental disability was not severe prior to his date
last insured. She also opined that he had mild limitations in
social functioning and maintaining concentration, persistence
and pace. In April, 2016, another state agency consultant
reviewed plaintiff's mental health records and affirmed
the earlier conclusion.
March, 2016, another state agency consultant reviewed
plaintiff's medical records and determined that he could
perform work activity at the light exertional level with the
additional exertional, postural and environmental limitations
of: 1) occasionally lifting and/or carrying 20 pounds; 2)
frequently lifting and/or carrying 10 pounds; 3) standing
and/or walking no more than 4 hours in an 8-hour work day; 4)
sitting no more than a total of 6 hours in an 8-hour work
day; 5) occasionally climbing ramps or stairs; 6) never
climbing ladders, ropes or scaffolds; 7) occasionally
balancing, stooping, kneeling, crouching and crawling; 8)
avoiding concentrated exposure to extreme cold, extreme heat,
vibration, fumes, odors, dusts, gases and poor ventilation;
and 9) avoiding even moderate exposure to hazards, including
machinery and heights.
April, 2017, plaintiff's treating cardiologist, Dr.
Sherif Labib, determined that Glacken was disabled from his
second heart attack in February, 2017, and that his
disabilities emanating from that incident were permanent.
Application for ...