United States District Court, E.D. Texas, Sherman Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Christine A. Nowak, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
brings this appeal under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) for judicial
review of the final decision of the Commissioner of Social
Security (“Commissioner”) denying her claim for
disability insurance benefits and supplemental security
income [Dkt. 1]. After reviewing the Briefs submitted by the
Parties, as well as the evidence contained in the
Administrative Record, the Court finds that the
Commissioner's decision should be
I. Procedural History Of The Case
Jae Roberts (“Plaintiff”) filed her application
for Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) under
Title II of the Social Security Act (“Act”) on
June 25, 2012, and her application for supplemental security
income (“SSI”) under Title XVI of the Act on
August 2, 2012, alleging an onset of disability date of May
7, 2012 in each application. Plaintiff's applications
were initially denied by notice on October 5, 2012, and again
upon reconsideration on January 14, 2013, after which
Plaintiff requested a hearing before an administrative law
judge (“ALJ”). Id. at 138-43, 150-62.
The ALJ conducted a hearing on November 4, 2013
(“Hearing”), and heard testimony from Plaintiff
and Vocational Expert LaKedra Parker (“Ms.
Parker” or “VE”). Id. at 28-76.
Plaintiff was represented by counsel at Hearing. Id.
On January 28, 2014, the ALJ issued his decision denying
benefits, and found Plaintiff not disabled at Step Five of
the prescribed sequential evaluation process (discussed
infra). Id. at 10-27. Plaintiff requested
that the Appeals Council review the ALJ's decision, and
on June 26, 2015, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff
request for review, making the decision of the ALJ the final
decision of the Commissioner. Id. at 1-9.
August 21, 2015, Plaintiff filed her Complaint with this
Court [Dkt. 1]. On December 21, 2015, the Administrative
Record was received from the Social Security Administration
(“SSA”) [Dkt. 12]. On December 22, 2015, this
case was assigned to the undersigned by consent of all
Parties for further proceedings and entry of judgment [Dkt.
13]. Plaintiff filed her Brief on March 4, 2016 [Dkt. 20]. On
May 3, 2016, the Commissioner filed her Brief in Support of
the Commissioner's Decision [Dkt. 21]. Plaintiff filed
her Reply brief on May 13, 2016 [Dkt. 22].
Of Relevant Facts
.Age, Education, and Work Experience
was born on August 27, 1967, making her forty-four years old
at the alleged disability onset date (and classified as a
“younger person”) [TR at 23, 191, 193].
See 20 C.F.R. § 416.963(c). Plaintiff asserts
that her onset date of disability is May 7, 2012 [TR at 191,
193]. Plaintiff has at least a high school education.
Id. at 23, 32-33. Plaintiff has past relevant work
experience as a cashier, clerical worker, guest services,
photographer in an amusement park, food service supervisor,
post master, teller, stocker, and an amusement park
decorator. Id. at 69.
Medical Record Evidence
Physical Health Treatment
was treated at Lake Cities Medical Center from 2010 through
2012 for conditions including hypertension, obesity,
hypothyroidism, headache and myalgias [TR at 382-486].
Plaintiff underwent polysomnogram testing in 2010 that
revealed moderate to severe sleep apnea. Id. Records
from Presbyterian Hospital shows that Plaintiff presented
twice in 2011 with complaints of headache and chest pain.
Id. at 291-381. In September 2011, an MRI of the
cervical spine showed a small herniated disc with mild cord
impression, and Plaintiff was diagnosed with headache,
precordial chest pain, history of thyroid cancer and
uncontrolled hypertension. Id. at 291-336.
was referred to Paramount Cardiovascular Associates in
February 2011 to evaluate her complaints of sharp chest pain
and dizziness. Id. at 382-591. Dr. Stephen Glaser
noted a history of cerebrovascular accident in 2005. The
record also contains notes from Rheumatology Associates and
Dr. Zoran Kurepa dated from 2012 showing diagnoses of
fibromyalgia, hypertension, hypothyroidism, obesity, and
depressive disorder. Id. at 592-618. Plaintiff
reported symptoms of severe body pain, morning stiffness,
fatigue, insomnia, decreased memory, and feeling itch, and
her physician noted the presence of 18/18 positive tender
points. Id. In 2012 and 2013, Dr. Tya-Mae Julien
treated Plaintiff, and Dr. Julien diagnosed Plaintiff with
hypertension, diabetes, coronary artery disease, morbid
obesity, fibromyalgia, hypothyroidism, depression, anxiety,
chronic fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, and multiple joint
pains. Id. at 671-94, 707-35. Additionally,
Plaintiff was treated at Primary Care Clinic of North Texas
for conditions including fibromyalgia, hypertension,
headaches, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome and depression.
Id. at 753-57.
Mental Health Treatment
underwent three individual counseling sessions in 2012 and
2013 for depression and posttraumatic stress related to prior
sexual assault. Id. at 701-06, 747-52. Denton County
MHMR treated Plaintiff in October 2013 for major depressive
disorder, anxiety disorder NOS, posttraumatic stress disorder
and panic disorder. Id. at 736-46. Plaintiff was
assigned an initial Global Assessment of Functioning score of
45. Id. On September 6, 2012, Dr. Kim Johnson
performed a psychological consultative examination of
Plaintiff. Id. at 619-24. Dr. Johnson diagnosed
Plaintiff with major depressive disorder, severe with
psychotic features, panic disorder with agoraphobia and
generalized anxiety disorder. Id.
State Agency - Drs. Ward, Rowley, ...