United States District Court, W.D. New York
DECISION & ORDER
JONATHAN W. FELDMAN United States Magistrate Judge
Makesha Jimmeson ("plaintiff" or
"Jimmeson'') brings this action pursuant to
Title XVI of the Social Security Act seeking review of the
final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security (the
"Commissioner") denying her. application for
disability ' insurance benefits. See Complaint
(Docket #1). Presently before the Court are competing motions
for judgment on the pleadings. See Docket ## 13, 19.
For the reasons that follow, plaintiff's motion for
judgment on the pleadings (Docket #13) is granted and the
Commissioner's motion for judgment on the pleadings
(Docket # .19) is denied.
and Procedural History
filed an application for supplemental security income on June
18, 2012, with an alleged onset 'date of March 4, 2010.
Administrative Record, Docket # 8 ("AR"), at 161.
She alleged that she suffered the following illnesses,
injuries, or conditions: anxiety, depression, bipolar, high
blood pressure, and broken ankle. AR at .8 9. Her claims were
initially denied on September' 13, 2012. " AR at
100-102. On October 11, 2012, plaintiff filed a' written
request for a hearing. AR at 112. Plaintiff, who was
represented by an attorney, testified at a hearing on March
19, 2014, before Administrative Law Judge Connor O'Brien
(the "ALJ"). AR at 26-88. Vocational Expert Carol
G. McManus (the "VE") also testified. On July 17,
2014, the ALJ issued an unfavorable decision. AR at 12-21.
Plaintiff requested that the Appeals Council review the
ALJ's decision, (which review the Appeals
Council denied oh December 7, 2015. AR at 1-3.
filed her complaint on February 2, 2016 (see Docket
# 1), and her motion for judgment on the pleadings on August
29, 2016 (see Docket # 13) . The Commissioner filed
a cross-motion for judgment on the pleadings on November 28,
2016 (see Docket # 19) . This Court heard oral
argument on February 13, 2017 (see Docket # 24).
Health Treatment Records: Plaintiff has an extensive
history of mental illness replete with references to violent
ideations, impulse control problems, and bipolar disorder.
Plaintiff's hostile affect was noted in the record as
early as October 27, 2010. AR at 356. On May 23, 2011,
plaintiff told Physician's Assistant Sandra Williams that
she had "never [been] told she has bipolar." AR at
412. Nevertheless, on September 22, 2011, plaintiff presented
to Dr. Prakash Reddy with violent ideations and stated that she
"ha[d] always struggled with anger." Dr. Reddy
diagnosed plaintiff with bipolar disorder and impulse control
disorder. AR at 3 07-308, 313.
bipolar disorder - and its effects on her mental health
"' are also referenced by multiple therapists in
repeated treatment notes. AR at 430, 732, 774, 779, 784. On
several occasions, her bipolar disorder was listed as under
sub-optimal control. AR at 772; AR at 7 93; AR at 799.
violent thoughts and inability to control her impulses are
also well-documented in the record. See AR at 431
(plaintiff stated she had no desire to harm anyone, but would
do so if she became angry-);- -AR at 503 (Therapist Rebecca-
Boone noted plaintiff's history of violence and
impulsivity but assessed her as a low risk for violence); AR
at 511 (Therapist Boone documented plaintiff's
"willingness to protect herself in self defense but
actively avoid situations in which she may become triggered
for violence.")- For example, on September 17, 2013,
plaintiff reported that she had wanted to hurt someone since
her son's murder. AR at 568. However, she appreciated the
moral and legal implications of any such action and advised
that she did not have any intention of hurting anyone. AR at
on July 5, 2013, Dr. Bolduc saw plaintiff, who was aggressive
and hostile. She denied being previously seen by Dr. Bolduc,
who advised her that a urine screen was negative for the
opiates she had been prescribed, leading Dr. Bolduc to opine
that plaintiff was misusing the opiates. AR at 788. Plaintiff
became agitated at the suggestion that she was not taking her
prescribed drugs and stated that she was going to get a new
doctor. The entire incident happened in front of her young
son. AR at 78 8. She again appeared enraged when she reported
to Unity Health System on November 22, 2013, for a pregnancy
test. She waited for over two hours and when she was seen by
a student, .she became irate and cursed at the doctor and his
student. AR at 600.
therapy sessions with Kelly Murrell at the Catholic Family
Center between May and July, 2014 also shed light on the
scope of her mental impairments. AR at 834; AR at 851-74. She
began therapy because her son had recently been murdered.
Throughout the sessions, she noted that she had a history of
being violent and had an inability to control her emotions
and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and depression.
Therapist Murrell assigned her a GAF of 50. AR at 848.
Plaintiff reported not liking to be around other people. And
she had difficulty sleeping and concentrating and a poor
appetite. AR at 851. Plaintiff reported hitting her
seven-year-old son with a belt. AR at 853. She also reported
frustration with her medical providers who she believed were
expecting too much from her. AR at 855.
21, 2014, plaintiff was angry and reported to Therapist
Murrell that she was trying to confront two women who had
been harassing her son. She identified homicidal ideation. AR
at 857. But the following week, plaintiff was calm and
pleasant and reported that there were no further issues with
harassment. On June 13, 2014, plaintiff reported that her
nephew came to visit her and stated that he had information
about her son's death but would not divulge the details.
Plaintiff got angry and wanted to kill her nephew but family
members intervened. AR at 865. On July 22, 2014, plaintiff
again reported feeling angry, this time due to a not-guilty
verdict in her son's murder case. This prompted her to
become excessively involved in sexual behaviors (intercourse,
pornography) because it gave her a "rush." AR at
868. Plaintiff acknowledged that she engages in impulsive,
and reckless behavior when feeling stressed. AR at 868.
are several references in the record to instances in which
plaintiff discontinued or failed to appear for treatment. For
example, in the spring of 2 012, plaintiff failed to appear
several times for scheduled therapy. See AR at 340-341.
Shortly thereafter, plaintiff presented to outpatient mental
health treatment due to self-reported depression and mood
lability. Therapist Kelly worked to manage plaintiff's
feelings of anger in an effort to decrease violent behavior.
AR at 323. However,, plaintiff told her physician, Dr.
Donahue, that she did not believe her needs were being met.
AR at 371.. She was discharged on July 25, 2012 per her own
request, because she did not believe treatment was helpful.
AR at 323, 339. On August 8, 2012, plaintiff reported to
Unity Family Medicine at St. Mary's where she stated,
that she was unable to reach her therapist, a ...