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Glenn v. Colvin

United States District Court, Third Circuit

November 26, 2013

CAROLYN W. COLVIN, [1] Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.



Denine Diane Glenn alleges the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) erred in denying her application for Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) by: (1) failing to assess whether her symptoms of fibromyalgia are equivalent in severity to a Listing;[2] (2) using an improper legal standard to assess her credibility; (3) failing to include limitations supported by the evidence in the hypothetical posed to the vocational expert; and (4) failing to conduct the proper analysis to determine Glenn’s Residual Functional Capacity (“RFC”).[3] See Pl.’s Br. (doc. 6) at 2-16.

I find the ALJ failed to assess whether Glenn’s fibromyalgia symptoms were equivalent to a Listing. Accordingly, I respectfully recommend that Glenn’s request for review be granted and the matter be remanded.


Glenn’s DIB application was denied on March 31, 2009. R. at 63-67. Applying the five-step sequential analysis, [4] the ALJ found Glenn had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since her alleged onset date, May 30, 2003, and suffered from the following severe impairments: a back impairment, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome (“IBS”), hypothyroidism, asthma, and obesity.[5] Id. at 23. The ALJ also found Glenn had the following non-severe impairments: hypertension and a non-specific sleep impairment. Id.

The ALJ concluded Glenn had the RFC to perform sedentary work, [6] without concentrated exposure to temperature extremes, humidity, fumes, gases, odors, or other pulmonary irritants. Id. at 25. The ALJ then determined Glenn was capable of performing her past relevant work as an administrative assistant and, alternatively, could perform work that exists in significant numbers in the national economy, such as: order/charge account clerk and inspector. Id. at 26-28. The ALJ concluded Glenn was not disabled. Id. at 28. The Appeals Council denied review on April 12, 2012. Id. at 1.


Glenn, 34, lives with her husband and two children. Id. at 40. She is a high-school graduate, and has an associate’s degree in computer applications and network administration. Id. at 41. Glenn previously worked as an administrative assistant, a procurement analyst purchasing computer products and software, a child care worker, and a part-time assistant in a doctor’s office. Id. at 41, 53-54. She stopped working at the doctor’s office because it became too much to handle due to childcare and back trouble. Id. at 42.

Glenn testified she has back spasms when she does too much walking, sitting, or standing. Id . She also explained that she is always fatigued, and spends most of her day laying down because she has trouble getting around on her own. Id. at 42-45. Glenn said that during the day she spends a lot of time in the bathroom, laying on the couch, making herself something to eat, and maybe wiping down the table near where she sits. Id at 44. She does not do any household chores because of her back problems and usually uses the stairs only once a day. Id. at 44-5. She showers twice a week because it is too difficult to stand or bend Id at 49. Once a month, Glenn drives her car to go to the market and her children go to the store for her. Id at 48. She attends religious meetings, on average, twice a month. Id She goes to pain management every few months and takes daily medications. Id at 42-43.

Glenn’s medical history includes:

Treatment by Spring Garden Chiropractic

• In November 1999, Glenn was seen at Spring Garden Chiropractic and complained of lower back and neck pain. Id. at 181. She attributed her back pain to a 1990 auto accident and her neck pain to looking at a computer screen all day. Id
• In June 2003, Glenn reported neck, shoulder, and back pain. Id at 186.
• In 2003, Glenn went to the chiropractor more than 20 times for similar back and neck pain. Id. at 189-98.

Treatment by Orthopedist Dr. Gregory Tadduni

• In January 2006, Dr. Tadduni evaluated Glenn for pain and difficulty bending her right middle finger. Id at 205. Dr. Tadduni found Glenn had full motion, no triggering, and only minimal tenderness in her finger. Id He also found tendon function, neurovascular[7] status ...

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