United States District Court, D. New Hampshire
Michael T. McCormack, Esq.
David Plourde, Esq.
A. Wolkowski, Esq.
McCafferty United States District Judge.
Natsis seeks judicial review, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
405(g), of the decision of the Acting Commissioner of the
Social Security Administration, denying his application for
social security disability benefits. Natsis contends that the
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) erred in his
assessment of the medical evidence, in evaluating the
credibility of his subjective complaints, and in assessing
his residual functional capacity. The Acting Commissioner
moves to affirm.
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
background information is summarized from the parties'
joint statement of material facts. See LR 9.1(c). The joint
statement does not include a summary of any medical records.
The court relies on the joint statement and, therefore,
assumes that any medical evidence in the Administrative
Record was not deemed to be significant by the parties.
February 2013, Ilias Natsis applied for social security
disability benefits, claiming a disability that began on
March 12, 2013. Natsis alleged that he was disabled because
of cervical degenerative disc disease and migraine headaches.
Natsis was forty-six years old at the time of his
application. He had previously worked in the banking industry
and was self-employed in the pizza business for the 15 years
prior to his application for benefits.
March 19, 2013, Natsis submitted a Function Report to the
Social Security Administration. Natsis wrote in the Function
Report that he has cervical degenerative disc disease and is
in constant pain in his neck and upper back. He also wrote
that he has severe migraines, and has
“intolerable” levels of pain when he is subject
to continuous standing, sitting, or exposure to mental and
also described his typical day. He wrote that he stretches
when he wakes up and takes a hot shower to relax his muscles.
He then has breakfast and reads the news before using home
treatment, usually a “traction device” or a TENS
unit,  for the pain in his neck. He usually
spends time paying bills and running errands, and often makes
food. After having something to eat, he generally rests,
before getting up around 5:00 p.m. and watching a movie or
playing guitar. He also spends a few hours talking to his
wife before going to bed around 10:00 p.m. Natsis also helps
care for his children and his mother, does clean-up around
the house, mows the lawn, cleans, shops, drives a car, and
has no problems caring for himself.
State Agency Physician Opinion
8, 2013, Dr. Hugh Fairley, a state agency consultative
physician, reviewed Natsis's medical records of physical
impairments. He opined that Natsis could perform the full
range of light work as defined in 20 C.F.R. §
404.1567(b). A full range of light work means that the
claimant can occasionally lift and/or carry 20 pounds,
frequently lift and/or carry 10 pounds, stand and/or walk
(with normal breaks) for a total of about six hours in an
eight-hour workday, sit (with normal breaks) for about six
hours in an eight-hour workday, has an unlimited ability to