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Zingelewicz v. Colvin

United States District Court, Third Circuit

January 29, 2014

JEFFREY VINCENT ZINGELEWICZ, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, [1] Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

SUSAN PARADISE BAXTER, Magistrate Judge.

I. RECOMMENDATION

It is respectfully recommended that the Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 11) be denied, and that the Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 8) be denied to the extent he requests an award of benefits, but granted to the extent he seeks a vacatur of the decision of the Commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner"), and a remand for further proceedings.

II. REPORT

A. BACKGROUND

1. Procedural History

Jeffrey Vincent Zingelewicz ("Plaintiff") brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), seeking review of the final determination of the Commissioner of Social Security ("Defendant" or "Commissioner") denying his applications for Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB") and supplemental security income ("SSI") under Titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 401, et seq. and § 1381 et seq. ("Act"). Plaintiff filed for benefits, claiming a complete inability to work as of July 1, 2008, due to severe clinical depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and drug abuse. (R. at 128, 131).[2] His applications were denied (R. at 54-61), and having exhausted all administrative remedies, this matter now comes before the Court on cross motions for summary judgment. (ECF Nos. 8, 11).

2. General Background

Plaintiff was twenty six years old on the date of the ALJ's decision and has a high school education. (R. at 27). Plaintiff's job history included employment as a general laborer. (R. at 133). At the administrative hearing, Plaintiff amended his disability onset date to May 28, 2010. (R. at 36).

3. Treatment History

Plaintiff began receiving outpatient mental health treatment at Stairways Behavioral Health on May 28, 2010, his amended disability onset date. (R. at 233-237). At his initial evaluation, Plaintiff was seen by Jill Seus, LPC, and reported that he was seeking treatment for severe depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and possibly bipolar disorder. (R. at 233). Plaintiff reported that he was a victim of abuse in the past, had attempted suicide on two occasions, previously had hallucinations, and was last hospitalized in 2008. (R. at 233-234). He further reported that he had a history of drug abuse, but had stopped using drugs in 2008. (R. at 235). Plaintiff indicated he was on probation until March 2012. (R. at 235). Plaintiff stated that he had full custody of his children, was enrolled in school studying to be an electrician, and wanted a more stable lifestyle for himself and his children. (R. at 233-234, 236). He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, unspecified, and posttraumatic stress disorder. (R. at 236). Ms. Seus assigned him a Global Assessment of Functioning ("GAF") score of 48, [3] and found that his prognosis was "fair." (R. at 236).

Plaintiff returned to Stairways on June 29, 2010 and was seen by Kari Dingfelder, MS. (R. at 232). Plaintiff reported that he was experiencing depression, and he was to begin individual therapy. (R. at 232).

On July 19, 2010, Plaintiff presented to Stairways for a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation performed by Belinda Stillman, D.O. (R. at 229-230). Plaintiff reported that he spent the weekend alone, had a "lot of problems" with depression, and had "horrible dreams." (R. at 229). Plaintiff reported that he lived with his mother and had full custody of his two sons. (R. at 229). He further reported that he helped his mother care for his grandmother, who suffered from Alzheimer's disease. (R. at 229). Plaintiff indicated that he was enrolled in school pursuing an electrician degree, but was on a medical leave of absence. (R. at 229). Plaintiff claimed that the school may not accept him back due to the concern he may have another decompensation episode. (R. at 229). Plaintiff reported a past history of substance abuse and participation in rehabilitation programs. (R. at 230). Dr. Stillman noted that a recent substance abuse evaluation of the Plaintiff was negative and that he did not meet the criteria for drug and alcohol services. (R. at 230).

On mental status examination, Plaintiff denied having any suicidal/homicidal ideations, thoughts of self-mutilation, or symptoms of paranoia or psychosis. (R. at 230). Dr. Stillman noted that Plaintiff displayed psychomotor retardation in speech and body movements, and that he was a "mild mannered man." (R. at 230). She diagnosed Plaintiff with major depressive disorder, recurrent, severe; post-traumatic stress disorder; cocaine dependence in full sustained remission since 2008; and avoidant personality disorder. (R. at 230). She assigned him a GAF score of 50, and started him on a trial of Zoloft. (R. at 230). Plaintiff was to continue with his ...


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