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Millidge v. Colvin

United States District Court, W.D. New York

August 14, 2014

CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.


MICHAEL A. TELESCA, District Judge.

I. Introduction

Represented by counsel, Marcy M. Millidge ("Plaintiff"), 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 Supplemental Security Income ("SSI"). The Court has jurisdiction over this matter pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ยงยง 405(g), 1383(c).

II. Procedural History

Plaintiff protectively applied for SSI and Child's Insurance Benefits based on disability on July 13, 2007, alleging that she was disabled commencing on the date of her birth, July 31, 1989, due to learning disability and adjustment disorder. T. 17, 88-90, 95.[2] Those applications were denied on October 3, 2007. Plaintiff then requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"). T. 38-39. Plaintiff, represented by counsel, appeared before ALJ William Pietz on October 20, 2009. T. 242-71. Plaintiff, her foster mother, her treating social worker, and an independent Vocational Expert ("VE") testified at the hearing. Id.

On November 17, 2009, the ALJ issued a written decision finding that Plaintiff was not disabled and denying her claims for SSI and Child's Insurance Benefits. T. 17-26. The ALJ's decision became the final decision of the Commissioner when the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review on February 9, 2012. T. 4-6. This action followed. Dkt. #1.

Now pending before the Court are the parties' cross-motions for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Rule 12(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Dkt. ##13, 15. For the reasons that follow, the Commissioner's motion is granted, and Plaintiff's motion is denied.

III. Factual Background

A. Medical Evidence

1. Plaintiff's Providers

Plaintiff was examined by Robyn Steinacher, D.O., at the West Seneca Health Center on December 6, 2005, when Plaintiff was 16 years-old. T. 175-77. Dr. Steinacher reported that Plaintiff had become more "moody" and "flighty" since coming off Zoloft, anti-depressant, with a decreased attention span, degradation in personal hygiene, and weight gain. T. 21, 175. Dr. Steinacher recommended that Plaintiff see a psychiatrist. T. 176.

During a subsequent visit in July, 2006, Dr. Steinacher assessed Plaintiff has having depression and attention deficit disorder ("ADD"), but noted that Plaintiff had re-started medication and was doing well on a combination of Zoloft and Adderall. Specifically, her moods had calmed down, she became more focused, lost weight, and was doing better in school. T. 21, 173. Plaintiff reported no side effects. Id.

West Seneca Health Center treatment notes from March, 2007 show that Plaintiff had again discontinued the medications of Zoloft and Adderall. T. 170-71. Plaintiff's foster mother reported a few instances of Plaintiff "lashing out" during her menses, with no other issues. Id . Sleep symptoms and depressive symptoms were denied by Plaintiff, and there were no behavioral problems at home or school. Id.

In October, 2009, Plaintiff was seen by social worker William R. Oldfield, LCSW, who provided a Clinical Diagnostic Evaluation. T. 226-236. Therein, Oldfield diagnosed Plaintiff with adult attention deficit hyperactive disorder ("ADHD"), chronic dysthymic disorder (depression), generalized anxiety, learning disability, and Asperger's disorder. T. 235. He stated that Plaintiff had difficulty sustaining attention and completing tasks, displayed slow cognition and work pace, mental fatigue, anxiety and depression, inability to make and sustain friendships, poor personal hygiene, compulsive eating, excessive worry, and inability to manage finances. T. 227. Oldfield opined that Plaintiff would not be able to support herself or obtain gainful employment. T. 235.

2. Consultative Examinations

Plaintiff underwent a consultative psychiatric evaluation and intelligence evaluation by Thomas Ryan, Ph.D., on September 24, 2007. T. 184-87. Plaintiff reported having normal sleep patterns, normal appetite, and no problems with depression. Id . She acknowledged some irritability, but reported no social withdrawal and no thoughts of selfharm, and no unusual difficulties with memory, attention, or concentration. Id . Dr. Ryan observed that Plaintiff appeared nervous and restless, engaged in hand-wringing, but demonstrated otherwise normal motor behavior. T. 180-81, ...

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