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Haymond v. Colvin

United States District Court, W.D. New York

May 19, 2014

CAROLYN COLVIN, Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.


MICHAEL A. TELESCA, District Judge.

I. Introduction

Plaintiff Krystal Kay Haymond ("Plaintiff"), represented by counsel, brings this action pursuant to Title XVI of the Social Security Act ("the Act"), seeking review of the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security ("the Commissioner")[1] denying her application for Social Security Insurance ("SSI"). This Court has jurisdiction over the matter pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ยงยง 405(g), 1383(c). Presently before the Court are the parties' motions for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Rule 12(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

II. Procedural History

Plaintiff protectively filed an application for SSI on December 19, 2008, alleging disability beginning on September 8, 1984. T.115.[2] After the application was denied on initial review, Plaintiff filed a request for a hearing. She appeared, along with her attorney representative, before Administrative Law Judge William E. Straub ("the ALJ") on October 21, 2010. T.33-54. The ALJ left the record open until November 1, 2010, for Plaintiff's attorney to submit additional medical records. On December 22, 2010, Plaintiff's attorney submitted a supplemental brief. There also appears to be newly submitted records from, inter alia, Roswell Park Cancer Institute. See T.55-113. On November 22, 2010, the ALJ issued a decision finding that Plaintiff not disabled. T.18-28. That decision became the Commissioner's final decision when the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review. T.1-3. This timely action followed.

III. Summary of the Administrative Record

A. Medical Evidence

On April 1, 2009, gastroenterologist Dr. Kevin T. Robillard saw Plaintiff due to her complaints of difficulty swallowing, a recent change in her bowel habits, and rectal bleeding. T.271. Prior CT scans showed hepatic lesions, hydrosalpinx, heterogeneity to the uterus, and asymmetric thickening of the lower esosphagus. See T.274-75. An MRI showed that the hepatic lesions were benign hemangiomata. T.271; see also T.273. Dr. Robillard recommended an upper endoscopy to rule out esophageal cancer.

On April 2, 2009, Plaintiff underwent a transvaginal and limited transabdominal pelvic ultrasound with doppler study at Windsong Radiology Group in Hamburg, New York, based upon a CT scan which showed a possible right hydrosalpinx. T.268-69. Dr. Cynthia Fan stated that there was a tubular, fluid-containing structure which could represent a small hydrosalpinx versus a right paraovarian cyst; a follow-up pelvic ultrasound was recommended. T.268.

On April 9, 2009, Dr. Robillard performed an upper endoscopy on Plaintiff, following her abnormal CT scan "suggestive of potentially esophageal neoplasm and dysphagia." T.264; see also T.265-66. The endoscopy revealed some inflammation and edema at the GE junction. The biopsies showed Barrett's esophagus[3], see T.267. Dr. Robillard noted he would try dilating the lower esophagus at a later date. T.264.

On November 9, 2009, Dr. Joseph G. Cardamone performed a right carpal tunnel release on Plaintiff. T.381. When Dr. Cardamone saw Plaintiff in follow-up on December 28, 2009, she was doing "fairly well" with a "bit of swelling" and "some tingling" in her right hand. T.387. Dr. Cardamone noted that she was still unable to work at that time. Id . He suggested having surgery to release the left hand in Spring 2010. Id.

On August 24, 2010, Plaintiff was seen by Dr. Annette Sunga at Roswell Park Cancer Institute regarding her liver hemangiomas. T.63-65. She had experiencing right upper quadrant abdominal pain for over a year, worsening after eating and with breathing, and unrelieved by pain medication.

Plaintiff returned to Roswell on August 31, 2010, noting that the pain now was radiating posteriorly and flank. T.66. Although she has confirmed hemangiomas, her symptoms could be caused by cholelithiasis or cholecystitis; accordingly, an ultrasound and other tests were ordered to rule out these conditions. T.67; see also T.68-69.

Plaintiff was seen at Roswell again on September 9, 2010, T.58-61, and September 21, 2010, T.55-57, by Dr. Boris Kuvshinoff. In addition to the abdominal pain, she was having chest pain. She apparently had a coronary angiogram at Millard Fillmore Gates on July 14, 2010. T.58. Dr. Kuvshinoff noted that he spent considerable time discussing treatment options for what appears to be a very symptomatic giant hemangioma. Plaintiff also appeared to have an active infection in her left lower lung, which was treated with Cipro. The plan was to perform a laparoscopic right hepatectomy on October 18, 2010. T.56. However, the administrative hearing was held on October 21, 2010. There are no further records regarding treatment Plaintiff received for her hemangioma.

B. Psychiatric Records

On October 11, 2007, Dr. Kalalselvi Rajendran dictated a discharge summary for Plaintiff upon her release from the Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center ("NFMMC") psychiatric unit. T.253-54. She had been admitted on October 3, 2007. With regard to the events leading up to the hospitalization, Plaintiff stated that after leaving her abusive common-law husband and five children in Canada in April 2007, Plaintiff was deported to the United States because he "pulled her sponsorship." T.253. The common-law husband allegedly stabbed her in the leg and "put a nail through her head" and had been sexually abusing her for years. Id . She stated that the day before her admission to NFMMC, she had been raped by the owner of the Passport Inn motel. Plaintiff went to the casino and complained about the assault, and an employee called the hospital. It is unclear from Dr. Rajendran's note whether Plaintiff was brought to the hospital or came on her own volition. In any event, she was admitted to the psychiatric floor for further evaluation of suicidal ideation and depression. T.253; see also T.255-56. Her intellectual function was average; insight and judgment were poor. She was "very depressed, afraid of losing control, very nervous, anxious, tense." T.256. Dr. Rajendran's Axis I diagnoses were adjustment disorder ...

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