United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
DARRYL H. MOSLEY, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
TIMOTHYR. RICE, U.S. MAGISTRATEJUDGE
Darryl Mosley alleges the Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) erred in denying his application for
Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) and
Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) by
improperly weighing medical opinion evidence. Pl. Br. (doc.
9) at 4. Because I find the ALJ supported her decision to
give “little weight” to the consulting
physician's opinion with substantial evidence, I
recommend denying Mosley's request for review.
filed for benefits on May 21, 2014, alleging he had been
disabled since January 24, 2014. R. at 69, 211. After a July
2016 hearing, the ALJ denied Mosley's claim in an opinion
dated October 26, 2016. Id. at 13-32, 36-66.
Applying the five-step sequential analysis,  the ALJ
determined Mosley suffered from two severe impairments,
bipolar disorder and degenerative changes of the lumbar
spine, as well as non-severe hypertension, erectile
dysfunction (“ED”), testicular hypogonadism,
nocturia, and a surgically repaired left rotator cuff tear.
Id. The ALJ found that none of Mosley's
impairments, individually or in combination, met the criteria
for the relevant Listing. Id. at 16.
determined Mosley had the Residual Functional Capacity
(“RFC”) to perform light work that requires no
overhead reaching and involves simple, repetitive tasks with
only occasional changes in the work setting and contact with
the public and coworkers. Id. at 18. The ALJ further
concluded that, with this RFC, Mosley could perform his past
work as a vehicle transporter or, alternatively, perform
other jobs available in the national economy, such as sorter
or packer. Id. at 24, 26.
53 at the time of the ALJ's opinion, graduated high
school and completed three years of college. Id. at
37, 40. At the time of the ALJ hearing, Mosley was living
with his sister and his sister's foster daughter,
although he intermittently stayed with his mother during the
relevant time period. Id. at 39, 57, 468.
August 2007, Mosley hurt his neck and back in a motor vehicle
accident. Id. at 302. He attended physical therapy
three times per week, and by November 2007 only his neck was
strained. Id. at 302-07. Mosley stopped treatment in
early February 2008. Id. at 349. In March 2009,
Mosley was involved in another motor vehicle accident, and
resumed physical therapy for his back and neck. Id.
at 354. This time, his condition was reduced to neck strain
in less than two months. Id. at 373. He was
discharged from physical therapy after three months.
Id. at 385. He had continued to work full-time and
received no other back treatment. Id. at 354, 373.
began mental health treatment at Consortium on September 30,
2011, and reported a long history of depression,
hallucinations, nightmares, isolation, and panic attacks.
Id. at 474. He noted he was supposed to be taking
psychiatric medication but was not, and was assigned a Global
Assessment Functioning (“GAF”) score of
Id. at 476, 480.
continued irregular treatment for his psychiatric condition
throughout 2012, and his psychiatrist determined his symptoms
could be controlled by a 5-mg dose of Abilify. Id. at
401. In June 2013, Mosley saw his primary care physician for
a regular preventive visit, and complained only of ED.
Id. at 387-89. He denied any other mental or
physical symptoms, and physical examination showed no gait
disturbance, or any evidence of musculoskeletal or
psychiatric symptoms. Id.
same month, Mosley returned to Consortium, and his
psychiatrist noted he had not been seen in six months and had
stopped taking the Abilify because he suspected it was
causing his ED. Id. at 401. Mosley's
psychiatrist explained the ED was more likely caused by his
hypertension medications. Id.
months later, Mosley returned to Consortium, although he had
not yet filled the Abilify prescription he had received at
his June visit. Id. at 400. Nonetheless, he was
described as having “restabilized, ” and his
providers noted he was working 30 hours per week.
Id. at 401. Three months later, in November 2013,
Mosley was assigned a GAF score of 50,  and described as
“overall stable.” Id. at 401, 408.
stopped working on January 24, 2014, his alleged onset date.
Id. at 69, 227. In March 2014, Mosley had an
abnormal electrocardiogram (“ECG”). Id. at
391. He was referred to a cardiologist and one of his
hypertension medications was stopped, although he denied all
symptoms, including any pain. Id. The cardiologist
found no explanation for the abnormal ECG, and during his
cardiology visit Mosley specifically denied any neck pain or
stiffness, muscle aches, or localized joint pain.
Id. at 396. The cardiologist's examination
showed normal neck, back, gait, stance, and reflexes, and
Mosley's medications were continued. Id. at 397.
April 2014, Mosley started with a new therapist at
Consortium. Id. at 406. He explained that he was
pursuing SSI and employment in the security field.
Id. Mosley informed the therapist he was taking a
physical test later in the week to become a security guard
with Temple University, and that he had applied for similar
positions throughout the city with hospitals and other city
and state agencies. Id. He told the therapist he had
stopped working for his previous employer because he did not
see a future with that company. Id. Mosley was not
taking psychiatric medication because he could not afford it,
but he denied psychiatric symptoms. Id. Mosley's
therapist opined that Mosley had a good grasp of his
situation and that his desire to become financially secure
and maintain his mental stability was real. Id.
May 2014, Mosley applied for benefits in person at the Social
Security Administration (“SSA”) office, claiming
he could not work due to his bipolar disorder, back problems,
and high blood pressure. Id. at 211. Staff noted no
visible physical or perceptual impairments, and commented
Mosley was “talkative” and did not listen well.
Id. at 234.
2014, Mosley returned to Consortium and reported he had not
been taking his medications due to a lapse in medical
insurance, which he had just re-established. Id. at
401. Mosley's psychiatrist noted he reported a variety of
illusions and nightmares he misinterpreted as voices and
quasi-delusions, and was worried about where to live, since
he could no longer stay with his mother. Id. at 402.
He was assigned a GAF score of 60. Id. at 403.
days later, Mosley reported to SSA that he could not
concentrate or focus on anything, his memory was terrible, he
suffered from anxiety and panic attacks, and he was weak,
fatigued, tired, and depressed. Id. at 237. He
stated that his back hurt when he stood or sat for too long.
Id. He described a daily routine of eating, watching
television, and reading the bible, and noted that his mother
and sister cooked for him, and reminded him to bathe and take
his medications. Id. at 238-39. He was able to do
laundry and iron when they nagged him. Id. at 239.
He stated he would go outside once or twice per week, could
use public transportation alone, and would shop for
necessities twice per week for 10-20 minutes. Id. at
240. He reported he would not lift anything because of his
back, and had become isolated due to his impairments.
Id. at 241-42. He did not get along with authority
figures and had been fired from U.S. Security Associates
because he did not get along with his supervisor.
Id. at 243. The only medications he reported taking
were for high blood pressure. Id. at 244.
supplemental questionnaire about his pain, Mosley reported
that his lower back pain had not changed since his accident
in 2007; it was occasional, located in his lower back and
hands, and caused by bending, standing, walking, and
temperature extremes. Id. at 245. He noted the pain
would sometimes last a few days and sometimes a week, and he
would take Tylenol and aspirin, ...