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Collins v. Colvin

United States District Court, District of Delaware

February 25, 2014

Angela Marie Collins, Plaintiff;
Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

Angela Pinto Ross, Esq., Wilmington, DE, Attorney for Plaintiff.

Charles M. Oberly, III, United States Attorney, Wilmington, DE; Heather Benderson, Special Assistant United States Attorney, Philadelphia, PA, Attorneys for Defendant.


ANDREWS, U.S. District Judge

Plaintiff, Angela Marie Collins, appeals the decision of Defendant Carolyn W. Colvin, the Commissioner of Social Security (the "Commissioner"), denying her claim for Social Security Disability Insurance ("SSDI") benefits. This Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), which grants original jurisdiction to the District Courts to review a final administrative decision by the Commissioner.

Presently pending before the Court are cross-motions for summary judgment filed by Collins and the Commissioner. (D.I. 9, 13). For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment, denies the Commissioner's motion, and remands for further proceedings.


A. Procedural History

Collins filed her application for SSDI on February 11, 2009, alleging disability commencing on January 31, 2007, due to bipolar disorder, anxiety and depression, broken shoulder, back pain, high blood pressure, pain or numbness on standing, sitting, and movement and inability to concentrate. (D.I. 7 ("Transcript" and hereafter "Tr.") at 132-33, 168, 181). Her application was initially denied and a hearing was held before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") on August 27, 2010. (Tr. 26, 28, 88-92, 95-99, 101). The ALJ determined that Ms. Collins is not disabled in a decision dated October 20, 2010. (Tr. 13-24). Ms. Collins requested a review of the decision of the ALJ on November 12, 2010. (Tr. 7, 219-221). The Appeals Council denied the Request for Review on August 3, 2012, after which the decision of the ALJ became the Commissioner's final decision. (Tr. 1-3). Collins filed this suit on October 2, 2012. (D.I. 1).

B. Plaintiffs Medical History, Condition, and Treatment

At the time of the ALJ's decision, Collins was 41 years old and defined as a "younger person" under 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1563(c), 416.963. (Tr. 24, 33, 132, 168). Collins has a high school education and was licensed as a beautician after attending cosmetology school. (Tr. 35, 187). Ms. Collins worked as a beauty shop owner and hairdresser from 1992 to 2007. (Tr. 78, 151-53, 181, 209, 216).

Collins' detailed medical history is contained in the record, but a brief summary is in order. Ms. Collins suffers from degenerative rotator cuff tendonosis with a tear of the bursal surface in her right shoulder as well as limited range of motion. (Tr. 401-02, 405-06, 448, 553, 561, 570, 581, 612). Collins is not a candidate for surgical repair of the rotator cuff tear because of her history of radical mastectomy. (Tr. 342).

Ms. Collins has a history of two suicide attempts. (Tr. 229, 258, 416-18, 481, 485). She was hospitalized after a "multidrug" overdose and "true attempt to take her life" in April 2006, and after a Benadryl overdose and suicidal gesture in January 2007. (Tr. 229, 416-18). Collins has been treated for major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and obsessive compulsive disorder by her psychiatrist, Jeanette M.S. Zaimes, M.D. since 2005. (Tr. 470-90, 535-39). Progress notes from June 26, 2008 to August 24, 2010 indicate ongoing symptoms of mental health impairment including anhedonia, decreased concentration, unfocused speech, anxiety, and tearfulness. (Tr. 473-77, 535-37). Dr. Zaimes indicates that Ms. Collins has marked restriction of activities of daily living and concludes that "Bipolar II depression combined with obsessive compulsive disorder and her medical condition render the patient completely incapable of functioning independently or on an adult level." (Tr. 532).

C. ALJ Decision

The ALJ found that Plaintiff had the severe impairments of history of breast cancer, history of right shoulder fracture, degenerative joint disease of the right shoulder with rotator cuff tear, dental abscess with osteomyelitis, bipolar disorder, and depression. (Tr. 15, Finding No. 3). The ALJ further found that while Plaintiffs impairments did not meet a Listing (Tr. 15, Finding No. 4), they limited her to a reduced range of light work. (Tr. 18, Finding No. 5). Therefore, Plaintiff could not perform her past relevant work (Tr. 22, Finding No. 6), but could perform "light work" with limitations, such as collator operator, order caller, inspector, copy examiner, surveillance system monitor, and microfilm document preparer. (Tr. 23). Accordingly, the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff was not disabled within the meaning of the Act. (Tr. 34).


A. Standard of Review

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