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KLETT v. BARNHART

February 19, 2004.

CHRISTOPHER KLETT, Plaintiff -against- JO ANNE B. BARNHART, Commissioner of Social Security Defendant


The opinion of the court was delivered by: VICTOR MARRERO, District Judge

DECISION AND ORDER
Plaintiff Christopher Klett ("Klett") brings this action pursuant to § 205(g) of the Social Security Act (the "Act"), 42 U.S.C. § 405 (g), seeking judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (the "Commissioner") denying his claim for Children's Insurance Benefits under Title II of the Act. Klett argues that he presented substantial evidence of his disability during a hearing on his claim before an administrative law judge (the "ALJ"). Klett alleges that the ALJ erred by ascribing insufficient weight to this evidence, and that therefore the Commissioner's decision to adopt the ALJ's ruling denying Klett's claim was erroneous. The parties have filed cross-motions for judgment on the pleadings. For" the reasons stated below, Klett's motion is denied and the Commissioner's cross-motion is granted. Page 2

I. ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEEDINGS

  Klett filed an application for Disabled Child's Insurance Benefits in 1998 as the disabled child of a retired wage earner. Klett claimed that he was disabled as of August 1, 1985, when he was 21 years old. After his application was denied initially and upon reconsideration, Klett requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. The ALJ conducted a hearing on February 9, 2000, and subsequently issued a decision denying Klett's application. The ALJ's decision became the final decision of the Commissioner on September 28, 2001, when the Appeals Council of the Social Security Administration denied Klett's request for review.

  II. BACKGROUND

  Klett argues that he is entitled to recover Child's Insurance Benefits pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 402(d) because he became disabled before reaching age 22 and is the child of an individual entitled to old-age benefits. Klett asserts that he became disabled as of August 1, 1985, thirty-eight days before his twenty-second birthday on September 8, 1985.

  Klett suffers from Tourette's Syndrome*fn1 and chronic Page 3 depression. He has been receiving Supplemental Security Income benefits based on this disability since June 24, 1993.

 A. PERSONAL HISTORY

  Klett graduated high school in 1981 after completing a college preparatory program. He attended Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut and graduated in 1985 with a B plus grade point average. Klett spent the spring semester of his junior year of college in 1984 studying in England.

  During his first year of college, he worked for one semester at the circulation desk of the college library. For six weeks during the summer after his first year of college and for three weeks after his second year he assisted a salesman stocking grocery store shelves. At the hearing before the ALJ, Klett indicated that he had difficulty performing his summer jobs because he repeatedly became lost while driving to different stores and frequently became anxious and frustrated. For two months in the summer of 1993 Klett worked as a county park monitor but left due to anxiety and fear over confrontations. Klett began working as a library clerk in March 1997 but left that job in October 1997 due to anxiety over interacting with people. He has no other Page 4 work history. Klett is now 40 years old, has never married, lives at home with his parents, and has never supported himself financially.

 B. MEDICAL EVIDENCE BEFORE AUGUST 1. 1985

  The record before the ALJ substantiated Klett's lengthy history of psychiatric problems. When Klett was nine years old, Minna Genn ("Germ"), a psychological consultant, evaluated him after he displayed nervous tics and expressed unhappiness in school. Genn found Klett to be introverted and insecure, and recommended that Klett receive psychotherapy. Klett did not present any evidence at the hearing that he received psychotherapy based on that recommendation. Genn did not diagnose Klett in 1972, but in 1999 she reviewed her records from the 1972 evaluation and stated that she would have diagnosed him as suffering from Major Depressive Disorder, recurrent, severe; Generalized Anxiety Disorder; and Chronic Motor Tic Disorder.

  No other evidence was presented to the ALJ relating to any psychological treatment Klett received before August 1, 1985, but Klett did present reports from several urologists who treated him between June 1984 and August 1, 1985. Dr. Roger Riechers ("Riechers") diagnosed Klett with probable prostatitis in August 1984 after treating Klett for three months for penile pain. Klett attributes much of this pain to Page 5 a self-inflicted injury incurred during his time studying in England in the Spring of 1984. In his description of Klett, Riechers noted that he was "acutely depressed and anxious over his problem." (Report re. Christopher Klett dated Aug. 2, 1984 by Roger Riechers, M.D., at Tr. 192.) Dr. Jeffrey Rabuffo ("Rabuffo") saw Klett in September and October 1984 for prostatitis and urethritis. Rabuffo noted that Klett's symptoms "`seemed to be out of proportion to the physical findings." (Letter dated Oct. 15, 1984 from Jeffrey Rabuffo to Gordon Williams, at Tr. 195.) Dr. John Birkhoff treated Klett between October 1984 and March 1986 for acute prostatitis.

 C. MEDICAL EVIDENCE BETWEEN AUGUST 1, 1985 AND SEPTEMBER 8, 1985

  Klett presented no evidence of any medical treatment between August 1, 1985 ...


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