Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Robbins v. Colvin

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

August 1, 2014

ICKIE L. ROBBINS, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM

DAVID D. NOCE, Magistrate Judge.

This action is before the court for judicial review of the final decision of the defendant Commissioner of Social Security denying the application of plaintiff Vickie L. Robbins for disability insurance benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act (the Act), 42 U.S.C. §§ 401, et seq., and for supplemental security income under Title XVI of that Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1381, et seq. The parties have consented to the exercise of plenary authority by the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). (Doc. 7.) For the reasons set forth below, the decision of the Administrative Law Judge is affirmed.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Vickie L. Robbins, born April 26, 1960, filed applications for Title II and XVI benefits on July 10, 2007. (Tr. 225-34.) She alleged an onset date of disability of October 20, 2007, due to depression, right leg pain, and high blood pressure. (Tr. 342.) Plaintiff's applications were denied initially on November 20, 2007, and she requested a hearing before an ALJ. (Tr. 106-15.)

On April 27, 2010, following a hearing, the ALJ found plaintiff not disabled. (Tr. 87-96.) On October 27, 2011, the Appeals Council remanded the case to the ALJ. (Tr. 102-04.) On April 30, 2012, following another hearing, the ALJ found plaintiff not disabled. (Tr. 14-24.) On June 11, 2013, the Appeals Council denied plaintiff's request for review. Thus, the second decision of the ALJ stands as the final decision of the Commissioner.

II. MEDICAL HISTORY

On September 5, 2000, plaintiff reported doing well after months without Celexa.[1] However, she lost her job, resulting in depression and anxiety, and began Celexa ten days prior to the date of the report. She had since suffered mania and a racing mind. Pathways Family Mental Health staff assessed that plaintiff suffered a pattern of leaving effective treatment programs and subsequently returning to the office seeking help. She agreed to follow through with treatment and received prescriptions for lithium, Celexa, and Risperdal.[2] (Tr. 643.)

On September 19, 2000, plaintiff complained of severe memory lapses. Pathways Family Mental Health staff opined that lithium caused the memory lapses. She received instructions to discontinue lithium and to increase the Celexa dosage. (Tr. 644.)

On October 3, 2000, plaintiff reported improvement with her thinking and speech but no change in mood. She further reported that Risperdal improved her sleep and mood stabilization. Her clinical social worker described her mood as mildly depressed and affected by stress. Pathways Family Mental Health staff assessed stable bipolar process and described her depression as reactive. (Tr. 645.)

On November 7, 2000, plaintiff reported stable mood but complained of stress and poor concentration. She also reported that she had ADHD. Pathways Family Mental Health staff observed calm, appropriate mood, prescribed Wellbutrin, and decreased her Risperdal dosage.[3] Plaintiff further described her daughter as out of control. (Tr. 646-47.)

On December 5, 2000, plaintiff arrived an hour late to her Pathways appointment and had missed an earlier appointment. Plaintiff reported that she had ADHD and that Wellbutrin improved her focus. (Tr. 648.)

On January 2, 2001, plaintiff reported that she obtained employment at Mid-Missouri Graphics, received insurance coverage, and returned to school. Her social worker expressed concern about plaintiff's abusive boyfriend. Pathways Family Mental Health staff described plaintiff as more motivated. (Tr. 649.)

On February 6, 2001, plaintiff described herself as tired due to overtime hours and abnormal work hours. She further intended to leave school due to work. Her social worker discussed the frequency of her meetings with plaintiff, and plaintiff agreed to meet more often. (Tr. 650.)

On March 6, 2001, plaintiff reported that she felt "really good." She planned to return to school and to work in the mental health field. She further reported that her boyfriend treated her and her children with respect. Pathways Family Mental Health staff discontinued Wellbutrin due to inability to pay. (Tr. 651.)

On April 3, 2001, plaintiff reported insomnia and that she averaged five hours of sleep per night. She received a prescription for Wellbutrin and an increased dosage of Risperdal. (Tr. 652.)

On June 5, 2001, plaintiff reported that she took Risperdal often after working overtime hours. Pathways Family Mental Health staff indicated that she missed her last appointment. (Tr. 653.)

On August 7, 2001, plaintiff reported that her employer terminated her but opined that she would be rehired. She planned to enroll at the Metro Business College. She reported no side effects from her medication, good mood, and good sleep. (Tr. 654.)

On October 2, 2001, plaintiff reported her intent to leave her boyfriend, whom she described as abusive. According to plaintiff, she had lived with her boyfriend for two years, and he held a knife to her throat. Pathways Family Mental Health staff described plaintiff as tearful. She received a prescription for Depakote and a decreased dosage of Celexa.[4] (Tr. 655.)

On November 6, 2001, her social worker discussed with plaintiff the need for improved compliance. Plaintiff reported that she could not tolerate Depakote due to headaches and that she and her boyfriend had attended religious counseling. She had also scheduled a vocational rehabilitation assessment. (Tr. 656.)

On December 21, 2005, plaintiff complained of hyperparathyroidism. She received an assessment of hyperparathyroidism and recommended a neck MRI scan. (Tr. 446.)

On December 28, 2005, plaintiff returned for a follow-up examination of her "failed back syndrome" after an L5-S1 fusion.[5] She reported that epidural injections did not alleviate her pain. Jeffrey W. Parker, M.D., indicated that the nerve conduction studies and electromyography of the legs revealed no abnormalities. A spinal CT scan revealed anterior pseudoarthrosis with loosening of the screws near the anterior interbody graft. (Tr. 447.)

On January 4, 2006, plaintiff complained of nausea and mild epigastric discomfort and reported that Celexa controlled her depression. She further complained of continued lumbosacral pain that radiated to the legs. Richard Daugherty, M.D., assessed gastritis, lumbosacral pain, hyperparathyroidism, stress, and depression. He instructed her to discontinue anti-inflammation medication, encouraged plaintiff to stop smoking, and prescribed Prilosec, Vicodin, and Flexeril.[6] (Tr. 434-36.)

On February 6, 2006, plaintiff reported increased depression and requested an increased dose of Celexa. She further reported moderate back pain but that an injection five days earlier had improved the pain. She reported right leg weakness and that she had scheduled parathyroid surgery on February 23, 2006. Dr. Daugherty encouraged plaintiff to stop smoking and assessed lumbosacral pain with radiculopathy, gastroesophageal reflux disease, hyperparathyroidism, depression, bipolar disorder, and allergic rhinitis. He prescribed Xanax, Zyrtec, hydrochlorothiazide, and potassium chloride, and increased her dosage of Celexa.[7] (Tr. 431-32.)

On February 23, 2006, plaintiff underwent a parathyroidectomy to remove an adenoma. Michael Simmons, M.D., performed the procedure and indicated no complication. (Tr. 452-54.)

On March 1, 2006, plaintiff reported recovering well following the surgery. Dr. Simmons diagnosed hyperparathyroidism. (Tr. 445.)

On March 7, 2006, plaintiff complained of coughing, nasal congestion, feeling faint, and fever. Dr. Daugherty assessed influenza, prescribed Amibid DM and Tamiflu, and excused plaintiff from work for two days.[8] (Tr. 429-30.)

On March 20, 2006, plaintiff complained of coughing and shortness of breath and that over-the-counter medication did not provide relief. Dr. Daugherty assessed sinusitis and prescribed Amoxil and Robitussin.[9] (Tr. 428.)

On March 23, 2006, chest X-rays revealed no active intrathoracic disease. (Tr. 448.)

On August 8, 2006, plaintiff complained of increased allergic symptoms and increased depression and requested a medication change. She rated her back pain as four or five of ten and that medication relieved only about ten percent of the pain. Dr. Daugherty informed her that she required surgery and advised her to discontinue smoking. He assessed chronic lumbosacral pain with radiculopathy, depression, bipolar disorder, gastroesophageal reflux disease, allergic rhinitis, fatigue, and tobacco use. He referred her to a spinal specialist, discontinued Xanax, and prescribed Effexor and clonazepam.[10] (Tr. 426.)

On September 6, 2006, plaintiff complained of continued back pain and requested a spinal injection. She reported that Vicodin alleviated the pain, while movement and position changes exacerbated it. She further reported that the changes in medication improved her depression and bipolar disorder. She continued to smoke cigarettes. Dr. Daugherty assessed chronic lumbosacral back pain with radiculopathy, depression, bipolar disorder, and tobacco use and prescribed Flexeril. He strongly encouraged plaintiff to stop smoking. (Tr. 421-22.)

On October 9, 2006, plaintiff complained of head congestion, chills, sore throat, and vomiting that began two days earlier. She further complained of chronic back pain that radiated to her right leg. She continued to smoke cigarettes. Dr. Daugherty assessed viral upper respiratory infection, depression, bipolar disorder, chronic lumbosacral back pain with radiculopathy, and sore throat and prescribed Claritin.[11] (Tr. 418-19.)

On January 23, 2007, plaintiff complained of an increase in lumbosacral pain after falling on ice and landing on her low back and buttocks two days earlier. Dr. Daugherty assessed lumbosacral pain with right radiculopathy and spasms. He restricted her from lifting more than ten pounds, and repetitively bending, twisting, and turning. He also recommended a home exercise program and excused her from work for one week. (Tr. 413-15.)

On February 1, 2007, plaintiff described her depression as under control but complained of back pain that radiated to the right leg, which she rated as eight of ten. X-rays of the spine revealed no fractures or hardware complications. Dr. Daugherty assessed lumbosacral back pain, anxiety, and depression, scheduled a spine injection, excused her from work for ten days, and restricted her from lifting more than ten pounds, and repetitively bending, twisting, and turning. He noted slow improvement with the lumbosacral pain and described the anxiety and depression as well controlled. (Tr. 409-11.)

On February 9, 2007, plaintiff reported doing well regarding anxiety and depression but complained of increased reflux due to the dosage of Vicodin. Dr. Daugherty assessed lumbosacral back pain, gastroesophageal reflux disease, anxiety, and depression, prescribed cyclobenzaprine and ranitidine, restricted her from lifting more than ten pounds, and repetitively bending, twisting, and turning. (Tr. 405-07.)

On March 6, 2007, MRI scans of the lumbar spine revealed post-surgical changes at L5-S1, degenerative disc diseases at L5-S1, disk desiccation at L4-5, and mild facet hypertrophy with mild posterolateral thecal sac effacement at L4-5. (Tr. 479-80.)

On March 9, 2007, plaintiff complained of increased right leg weakness, foot tingling, and pain in the back and right leg. She described the anxiety and depression as well-controlled. Dr. Daugherty assessed lumbosacral back pain, anxiety, and depression and continued her restrictions and home exercise program. (Tr. 402-04.)

On March 21, 2007, plaintiff complained of lumbosacral pain, which she rated as eight of ten. Joseph Meyer, Jr., M.D., assessed lumbar post-laminectomy pain syndrome, lumbar pseudoarthrosis, lumbosacral radiculitis and neuritis, and leg pain and scheduled an injection procedure. (Tr. 535-36.)

Also on March 21, 2007, plaintiff complained of back pain and right leg weakness. Dr. Parker noted that the recent MRI scan revealed instrumentation in place but "washering" of the screws. He observed a limited range of motion in the spine. He assessed status post posterior spinal fusion at L5-S1 with probable pseudoarthrosis and recommended an interbody fusion procedure at L5-S1 with anterior instrumentation. Plaintiff preferred to wait due to her lack of Family and Medical Leave Act time. Dr. Parker scheduled a spinal injection. (Tr. 456.)

On April 4, 2007, plaintiff received a spinal steroid injection and nerve blocks, and she reported complete resolution of the leg and back pain. Dr. Meyer noted that plaintiff's insurance company would not cover surgery before January 2008 and that plaintiff had not worked since January 22, 2007. He assessed lumbar post-laminectomy pain syndrome, lumbar pseudoarthrosis, lumbosacral radiculitis and neuritis, and leg pain. (Tr. 537-39.)

On April 5, 2007, plaintiff reported significant improvement regarding the pain and expressed the desire to return to work. Dr. Daugherty noted that the procedure suggested by Dr. Parker could worsen plaintiff's back condition and result in neurologic complications. He described the lumbosacral pain and radiculopathy as significantly improved. He restricted her from lifting more than twenty pounds and from repetitive bending, twisting, and turning but authorized her return to work. (Tr. 398-99.)

On April 24, 2007, plaintiff complained of fever, cough, and sinus drainage that began one week earlier. She reported that she scheduled a fusion surgery for January. Jane Moore, R.N., assessed bronchitis and elevated blood pressure. (Tr. 395.)

On April 30, 2007, plaintiff complained of a cough, sinus drainage, and shortness of breath. Nurse Moore assessed left otitis media and bronchitis with reactive airway disease and prescribed Omnicef, albuterol, and Medrol.[12] She also instructed plaintiff to stop smoking. (Tr. 392.)

On May 31, 2007, plaintiff complained of significant back pain, which she rated as eight of ten, but described the anxiety and depression as well-controlled. Dr. Daughterty assessed lumbosacral back pain with radiculopathy, anxiety, and depression. He described the back pain as slowly worsening and also prescribed Vicodin. (Tr. 388-89.)

On June 13, 2007, plaintiff complained of increased low back pain that radiated to both legs and numbness in both feet. She rated the pain as eight of ten. She reported that the pain impaired her ability to walk but that resting and pain medications reduced the pain to two of ten. Dr. Daugherty assessed lumbosacral back pain with bilateral radiculopathy, prescribed Percocet, excused her from work, and restricted her from lifting more than ten pounds and repetitive bending, twisting, and turning.[13] (Tr. 385-86.)

On July 2, 2007, plaintiff reported that the injections did not improve her condition and described her back pain as unbearable. Dr. Parker noted a limited range of motion of the spine and that movement caused pain. His impression was probable pseudoarthrosis at L5-S1. He recommended a repeat fusion. (Tr. 457.)

On August 3, 2007, Dr. Daugherty noted that plaintiff had scheduled back surgery for August 14, 2007. She reported continued back pain that radiated to the knees and that movement exacerbated the pain. She described the gastroesophageal reflux disease, depression, and bipolar disorder as well-controlled. Dr. Daugherty advised plaintiff to stop smoking and noted that Dr. Parker advised her to stop smoking specifically for the surgery. He assessed gastroesophageal reflux disease, depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and lumbosacral back pain with radiculopathy. (Tr. 498-99.)

On August 9, 2007, chest X-rays revealed no acute chest disease. (Tr. 475.)

On August 14, 2007, Dr. Parker performed an anterior interbody fusion with posterior reinstrumentation at L5-S1. Upon discharge on August 19, 2007, plaintiff showed no signed of postoperative concerns. Dr. Parker diagnosed pseudoarthrosis L5-S1 and a history of depression, and her discharge ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.