United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
F. SAPORITO, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
plaintiff, Stephen Carl Nigro brought this action 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g), seeking judicial review of the final decision
of the Commissioner of Social Security denying his claim for
disability insurance benefits under Title II of the Social
Security Act (the “Act”).
matter has been referred to the undersigned United States
Magistrate Judge to prepare a report and recommended
disposition pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1)(B) and Rule 72(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. For the reasons expressed herein, we recommend
that the final decision of the Commissioner be
is an adult individual born December 19, 1967. Nigro was
forty-five years old at the time of the alleged onset of
disability-September 15, 2013. (Tr. 44). Nigro's age at
the onset date makes him a “younger person” under
the Commissioner's regulations whose age generally does
not affect his ability to adjust to other work. See
20 C.F.R. §404.1563.
October 23, 2014, Nigro protectively filed an application for
benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act alleging
disability as of September 15, 2013. In his application,
Nigro alleged that the following impairments prevent him from
engaging in any work: degenerative disc disease (back),
osteoarthritis, whiplash, migraine headaches, basal
headaches, insomnia, and sciatica. (Tr. 120).
claim was initially denied on February 2, 2015. Thereafter,
he filed a timely request for an administrative hearing. His
request was granted. Nigro appeared in Harrisburg,
Pennsylvania, on March 2, 2017, at a hearing before
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Susan L. Torres.
Nigro was represented by Steve Mahan, Esquire. In addition,
impartial vocational expert (“VE”) Brian Bierley
appeared at the hearing.
1, 2017, the ALJ denied Nigro's application for benefits
in a written decision. On August 30, 2017, Nigro sought
further review of his claims by the Appeals Council of the
Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, but his request
was denied on September 12, 2018. This makes the ALJ's
June 2017 decision the final decision subject to judicial
review by this Court.
filed a timely complaint in this Court on November 8, 2018.
(Doc. 1). In his complaint, Nigro alleges that the final
decision of the Commissioner is not supported by substantial
January 28, 2019, the Commissioner filed an answer, which
maintains that the ALJ's decision was made in accordance
with the law and is supported by substantial evidence. (Doc.
matter has been fully briefed by the parties and is ripe for
decision. (Docs. 6, 7).
time of the administrative hearing, Nigro was forty-nine
years old and resided in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, which
is in the Middle District of Pennsylvania. Nigro resided with
his wife, and two children ages, 17 and 22. (Tr. 28). Nigro
stated that he quit working because of his migraines. (Tr.
stated that his wife owns her own cleaning business and he
joined her in the business in 2001, after being in
warehousing for a long time. (Tr. 13). Nigro contends that he
was able to adjust his schedule and take time off to deal
with the migraines because he was working for his wife. (Tr.
stated that he has suffered with migraines since high school.
He describes his migraines as starting in the back of his
neck, then the pain radiates to the front of his head making
everything sensitive. He then has to go into a dark room and
lay down. He contends that lights sometimes trigger a
migraine. (Tr. 14). He stated that he gets approximately 13
severe migraines a month, and they can last anywhere from
five hours to a couple of days. He takes Imitrex and
over-the-counter Excedrin Migraine. He contends that
sometimes the medications reduce pain and sometimes they do
nothing for the pain. (Tr. 15).
stated that he experiences lower back pain and upper neck
pain. He stated that he gets shooting pain down the right
side of his leg that sometimes causes him to drop to the
ground. He takes Flexeril and Percocet for the pain. He
experiences pain going up his back into his neck, which then
causes a migraine. He stated that, at times, turning the
wrong way or bending down and getting up can trigger this
pain. (Tr. 18).
possesses a driver's license and is able to drive while
taking his medications. (Tr. 19). He stated that if he begins
to experience the feeling of a migraine while driving, he
pulls over. (Tr. 28).
stated that he helps with the cooking at home, and mows the
lawn with a riding mower. (Tr. 29). He describes a typical
day as follows: he wakes up, picks up stuff around the house,
makes lunch, and watches television. If he experiences a
migraine, then he lays down in a dark room. (Tr. 29).
addition to the above listed medications, Nigro stated that
he takes gabapentin for nerve damage from shingles and
pantoprazole for GERD. He contends that when he takes
Flexeril and gabapentin together, they make him tired. (Tr.
stated that he goes to Pennsylvania Psych Institute for
counseling for depression/anxiety every three months and
takes lorazepam for his depression. He also goes to
Pennsylvania Counseling Services every two weeks for
individual counseling. (Tr. 27).