United States District Court, D. New Hampshire
No. 2016 DNH 097
E. Gola, Esq.
J. Rabuck, Esq. T. David Plourde, Esq.
DICLERICO, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Mia Gobis seeks judicial review, pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g), of the decision of the Acting
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, denying
her applications for social security disability benefits and
supplemental security income. Gobis contends that the
Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") erred in assessing
her residual functional capacity and in finding that she
could do her past relevant work. The Acting Commissioner
moves to affirm.
of Review In reviewing the final decision of the Acting
Commissioner in a social security case, the court "is
limited to determining whether the ALJ deployed the proper
legal standards and found facts upon the proper quantum of
evidence." Nguyen v. Chater, 172 F.3d 31, 35
(1st Cir. 1999); accord Seavey v. Barnhart, 276 F.3d
1, 9 (1st Cir. 2001). The court defers to the ALJ’s
factual findings as long as they are supported by substantial
evidence. § 405(g). "Substantial evidence is more
than a scintilla. It means such relevant evidence as a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion." Astralis Condo. Ass’n v.
Sec’y Dep’t of Housing & Urban Dev., 620
F.3d 62, 66 (1st Cir. 2010).
applied for social security disability benefits and
supplemental security income in April and June of 2012 when
she was forty-seven years old. She initially alleged an onset
date of May 15, 2007, but later amended the date to April 17,
2008, based on impairments due to fibromyalgia, spinal
stenosis, osteoarthritis, and thyroid disease. Gobis
graduated from high school, has training in real estate, and
worked as a real estate agent.
Jones, D.O. treated Gobis for complaints of body aches and
trouble sleeping during 2008. Gobis was referred to Dr.
Margarita Ochoa-Maya for an endocrinology consultation in
June of 2008. Dr. Ochoa-Maya found hypothyroidism and low
metabolism with insulin resistance. Gobis was taking Percocet
for pain due to fibromyalgia.
January of 2009, Gobis was examined for a rheumatology
consultation. The physician’s assistant who did the
examination found symptoms consistent with fibromyalgia. She
urged Gobis to exercise and to lose weight.
November of 2009, Gobis reported difficulty with depression
and stress and was given samples of new medication. Gobis was
seen in May of 2010 for an exacerbation of fibromyalgia. A
rheumatology consultation in August of 2010 confirmed the
was treated for pain in her feet in early 2011. After falling
through a grate in May of 2011, Gobis was treated at the
emergency room for acute cervical strain and exacerbation of
fibromyalgia. X-rays showed moderate to severe arthritis in
her cervical and lumbar spine. Gobis continued to be treated
by Dr. Jones and a physician’s assistant over the next
20, 2012, Gobis had a rheumatology examination with John
Yost, D.O. She reported back pain for the past five years.
Gobis said that she worked in real estate and lived with her
three children, including her nine year old daughter who had
cerebral palsy. Dr. Yost diagnosed chronic back pain due to a
degenerative disc and facet osteoarthritis and noted that the
underlying fibromyalgia was not the major cause of
Gobis’s symptoms. Dr. Rowland Hazard confirmed
degenerative disc changes in September of 2012, but he
concluded that Gobis was not a candidate for surgery, and
gave her a steroid injection.
agency medical consultant, Dr. Hugh Fairley, completed a
physical functional capacity assessment in September of 2012
based on a review of Gobis’s medical records. Dr.
Fairley found that Gobis had severe impairments due to
obesity and degenerative disc disease but did not find that
fibromyalgia was a severe impairment. He assessed
Gobis’s physical capacity to allow her to do full time
sedentary work with some postural and environmental
on a psychological consultative examination in October of
2012, Juliana Read, Ph.D. found that Gobis had only slight
impairments and was mentally able to make simple decisions,
interact appropriately with supervisors, and tolerate a work
setting. Also in October of 2012, a state agency consultant,
Laura Landerman, Ph.D. concluded that Gobis’s anxiety
and affective disorders were not severe impairments.
the fall of 2012 through the fall of 2013, Gobis reported to
her medical providers that she had some neck and back pain
but was walking or doing other exercise at least several
times each week. Her examinations produced mostly normal
results, including full range of motion. Psychological
examinations resulted in diagnoses of anxiety disorder,