United States District Court, W.D. New York
DECISION AND ORDER
MICHAEL A. TELESCA United States District Judge.
by counsel, Michael Carter (“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”) denying his application for supplemental
security income (“SSI”). The Court has
jurisdiction over this matter pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
405(g). Presently 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. For the
reasons discussed below, plaintiff's motion is granted to
the extent that this matter is remanded to the Commissioner
for further administrative proceedings consistent with this
Decision and Order.
record reveals that in January 2012, plaintiff (d/o/b July
28, 1989) applied for SSI, alleging disability beginning
September 1, 1997. After his application was denied,
plaintiff requested a hearing, which was held before
administrative law judge Brian Kane (“the ALJ”)
on May 16, 2014. On June 11, 2014, the ALJ issued an
unfavorable decision. The Appeals Council denied review of
that decision and this timely action followed.
Summary of the Evidence
record, which is relatively sparse, includes treatment notes
from plaintiff's treating psychiatrist, Dr. Prakash
Reddy, treating therapist Denise Lampo, MSW, and treating
therapist Kathleen Simpson. The record also contains records
of a consulting examination performed by state agency
psychologist Dr. Yu Ying Lin and opinions from state agency
reviewing psychologist Dr. E. Kamin.
was referred to Catholic Family Center (“CFS”) by
New York's Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program
(“CD Program”) for a determination of the
appropriateness of outpatient treatment. He underwent an
initial evaluation on February 3, 2012 with Ms. Lampo, at
which he reported frequent mood swings, a history of
attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
(“ADHD”), cannabis dependency, and a fear of
reporting his symptoms due to the stigma associated with
mental health conditions. Plaintiff reported frequent
hallucinations, including hearing voices and “jail
bells” in his head. Ms. Lampo opined that he met the
diagnostic criteria for bipolar disorder, not otherwise
specified (“NOS”) and possibly shizoaffective
disorder. Ms. Lampo referred plaintiff to Dr. Reddy for
psychiatric treatment and medication monitoring.
initial mental status examination (“MSE”) on
February 23, 2012 with Dr. Reddy, plaintiff presented as
“hypertalkative, ” reported visual and auditory
hallucinations and paranoia, and demonstrated a depressed,
irritable, and angry affect. T. 197. Dr. Reddy diagnosed him
with bipolar disorder, NOS and prescribed plaintiff Seroquel
(an antipsychotic often used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar
disorder, and depression).
March 2012, plaintiff reported to Dr. Reddy that Seroquel had
“not been helping his mood swings and anger
problems” and made him excessively sleepy. T. 205. Dr.
Reddy discontinued Seroquel and prescribed Risperdal, another
antipsychotic medication. In March 2012, plaintiff reported
to his therapist Kathleen Simpson that his mother and sister
both carried diagnoses of bipolar disorder. Ms. Simpson
recorded that plaintiff had a depressive affect to a
“notable” degree. T. 207. In April 2012,
plaintiff reported no adverse side effects from his
medications; Dr. Reddy increased his Risperdal dosage. A July
2012 treatment note signed by Ms. Simpson indicated that
plaintiff's treatment plan was reviewed and goals
included “focus[ing] thoughts on reality” and
sustaining recovery from substance abuse. T. 200.
was referred by the CD Program to personalized
recovery-oriented services (“PROS”), and on
August 27, 2012, social worker Kelly Murrell evaluated him
for this program. Plaintiff reported that he had not seen Dr.
Reddy in several months and therefore did not have
medication. He also reported continued auditory
hallucinations and depression. He was scheduled to attend
orientation for a GED program, and Ms. Murrell noted that
this would be his third attempt at a GED since dropping out
of school in the ninth grade.
April 26, 2012, Dr. Yu-Ying Lin completed a consulting
psychiatric evaluation at the request of the state agency.
Plaintiff reported completing the eighth grade in a special
education program for learning disability and ADHD. Plaintiff
reported both manic and depressive symptoms as well as
continued visual and auditory hallucinations and paranoia. On
MSE, plaintiff's “[m]anner of relating was
poor”; motor behavior was lethargic; affect was
dysphoric and mood dysthymic; he was “oriented to
person, but not place and not date”; attention and
concentration were “moderately impaired due to limited
intellectual functioning and emotional distress [due] to
current psychiatric disorder”; recent and remote memory
skills were impaired; intellectual functioning appeared to be
below average; and insight and judgment were poor. T. 158-60.
Plaintiff reported that he did not perform any cooking,
cleaning, or laundry because he made mistakes or did not know
how; he did not shop because he made mistakes or “[got]
into altercations with others”; he did not drive
because he had no license; and he did not take public
transportation due to paranoia. He stated that his mother and
girlfriend helped him as needed with daily activities. T.
diagnosed plaintiff with bipolar disorder with psychotic
features and generalized anxiety disorder. In Dr. Lin's
opinion, plaintiff could follow and understand simple
directions and instructions, perform simple tasks with
supervision, maintain a regular schedule, and learn new
tasks. However, in Dr. Lin's opinion, plaintiff could not
maintain concentration, perform complex tasks independently,
make appropriate decisions, relate adequately with others, or
appropriately deal with stress. According to Dr. Lin, these
difficulties were “caused by psychotic symptoms and
lack of motivation.” Id.
Kamin reviewed plaintiff's medical record at the request
of the state agency and completed a psychiatric review
technique (“PRT”) form and mental residual
functional capacity (“RFC”) assessment. According
to Dr. Kamin, plaintiff was moderately limited in several
areas involving understanding and memory, sustained
concentration and persistence, social interaction, and
adaptation. Dr. Kamin opined that plaintiff had overall mild
restrictions in activities of daily living
(“ADLs”); moderate restrictions in ...