The opinion of the court was delivered by: CYNTHIA RUFE, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiff seeks judicial review of the decision of the Commissioner of
the Social Security Administration denying her son's claim for
Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") under Title XVI of the Social
Security Act. 42 U.S.C. § 1381-1383h. Presently before the Court are the
parties' cross-motions for summary judgment. United States Magistrate
Judge Jacob P. Hart issued a report recommending that this Court deny
Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment, grant Defendant's Motion, and
affirm the Commissioner's decision. Upon careful and independent
consideration of the administrative record, Judge Hart's report, and
Plaintiff's objections thereto, the Court overrules Plaintiff's
objections and grants Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment.
Plaintiff Tina Miller filed an application on behalf of her son, Tyrik
Miller, for SSI on March 9, 2001, alleging that Tyrik has been disabled
since December 2, 2000 due to a combination of Attention Deficit
Hyperactivity Disorder ("ADHD"), Oppositional Defiance Disorder ("ODD"),
headaches, a learning disorder, and a depressive disorder. The
Pennsylvania Bureau of Disability Determinations ("BDD") denied
Plaintiff's claim for SSI, and Plaintiff thereafter
requested a hearing. R. 26-30. After a hearing before Administrative Law
Judge ("ALJ") J. Joseph Herring on August 15, 2002, the ALJ denied
Plaintiff's claim on September 18, 2002. R. 12-22. The Appeals Council
denied Plaintiffs request for review on January 29, 2003. R. 3-4.
Plaintiff then appealed to this Court.
On cross-motions for summary judgment, Judge Hart filed a Report and
Recommendation ("R & R"), finding that the ALJ's decision was supported
by substantial evidence and recommending that Defendant's Motion for
Summary Judgment be granted. R & R at 20. The Court, however, is
troubled by noted inaccuracies in the record below. Nevertheless, after
careful review of the entire record, the Court adopts Judge Hart's
conclusions. Consistent with its duty as articulated in
28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), the Court addresses below those portions of the R
& R to which Plaintiff objects.
Tyrik Miller was born on August 16, 1990. During the time period
relevant to this matter, he was evaluated by various medical
professionals for problems he was having in school. He was also evaluated
by his elementary school principal and his fifth grade teacher. Some of
these evaluations were completed specifically to assist in determining
Tyrik's disability claim, while others were to treat Tyrik for his
problems at school or for headache pain. Because one of Plaintiff's
contentions is that the ALJ improperly relied on some of these
evaluations while discounting others, each evaluation is summarized
A. The Psycho-Educational Evaluation
In December 2000, Tyrik was failing all of his subjects at St. Rose of
Lima, the parochial school where he attended fifth grade. R. 113.
Accordingly, Tyrik's teacher, Ida Jones, and
his mother referred Tyrik to Nancy DeHaven, Ed.M. and Dale F. Cleary,
Ph.D., for a psycho-educational evaluation R. 113. Drs. DeHaven and
Cleary met with Tyrik and observed him in a classroom setting,
interviewed Ms. Jones, reviewed Tyrik's school records, and administered
a number of tests, including the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for
Children, the Developmental Test of Visual-Motor Integration, the Rey
Complex Figure Test and Recognition Trial, a test of word reading
efficiency, and a test of reading comprehension. R. 115. They also
evaluated Tyrik's social emotional functioning "through a clinical
interview, the Children's Self-Report and Projective Inventory, the
Conners' Rating Scales and the ADHD Rating Scale IV." R. 119.
In their report, Drs. DeHaven and Cleary noted the following:
(1) Tyrik has "Average cognitive abilities with no significant
difference between his Verbal and Performance IQ's." R. 116.
(2) One of Tyrik's strengths is "his ability to form abstract verbal
concepts and to focus his attention when discrete problem solving steps
are utilized." R. 117.
(3) Tyrik performed in the average or below average range on tests of
his visual-motor integration, memory and ability to organize complex
visual information. R. 117-18. Drs. DeHaven and Cleary concluded:
"Results of the perceptual testing indicate that Tyrik performs below
average when asked to remember and organize complex visual information.
He has difficulty discriminating between important and unimportant
information." R. 118.
(4) Tyrik performed poorly on the reading comprehension tests. R. 119.
(5) Tyrik's mother reported that Tyrik "is restless and impulsive and
that he has difficulty sitting." Id. Tyrik's teacher, Ms. Jones, reported
that Tyrik "makes careless mistakes in his schoolwork, fidgets and is
easily distracted." Id. Drs. DeHaven and Cleary concluded, however,
that "Ms. Jones' rating of [Tyrik' s] classroom behavior, while
indicating some ...