Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Champine v. Berryhill

United States District Court, D. New Hampshire

January 10, 2018

Stephanie Champine
Nancy A. Berryhill, Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration


          Paul Barbadoro, United States District Judge.

         Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), Stephanie Champine moves to reverse the Acting Commissioner's decision to deny her application for supplemental security income, or SSI, under Title XVI of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1382. The Acting Commissioner, in turn, moves for an order affirming her decision. For the reasons that follow, the decision of the Acting Commissioner, as announced by the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”), is affirmed.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The parties have submitted a Joint Statement of Material Facts. That statement, doc. no. 11, is part of the court's record and will be summarized here, rather than repeated in full.

         Before Champine graduated from high school in 2009 with a regular diploma, testing had revealed a full-scale intelligence quotient (“IQ”) of 85, a verbal IQ of 75, and a performance IQ of 99. Testing conducted in July 2015 revealed a full-scale IQ of 77, a verbal IQ of 70, and a performance IQ of 90.

         In April 2013, Champine applied for SSI, claiming that she had been disabled since January 1, 2007 as a result of depression and bipolar disorder. Subsequently, Champine amended the alleged onset date of her disability to July 19, 2012, and at her hearing before the ALJ, she “testified . . . that she [was] unable to work because of depression, anxiety, and difficulty reading and doing arithmetic.” Administrative Transcript (hereinafter “Tr.”) 15.

         In a Disability Determination Explanation (“DDE”) form that was completed by the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) in July 2013, Dr. Edward Hurley, a psychological consultant who reviewed the evidence that had been provided to the SSA, determined that “[n]o mental medically determinable impairments [had been] established.” Tr. 120, 130. He continued:

No detailed psychological eval[uation] is on file to provide an MDI [medically determinable impairment], no SSA acceptable source diagnosis, claimant and rep[resentative] have not responded to attempts to obtain additional information or to state whether she would attend a CE [consultative examination] i[f] we reschedule (missed first CE before being transferred from NH). There is insufficient evidence to establish an MDI or to rate the severity of the claimant's conditions due to failure to cooperate.[1]

Tr. 120, 130. In a second DDE form, completed about three months after the first one, another psychological consultant, Dr. Joseph Patalano, reached the same conclusions that Dr. Hurley had reached. Tr. 140.

         In October of 2014, Champine was seen by Dr. Jeffrey Kay for a consultative examination. Tr. 700. As a result of his examination, Dr. Kay produced a Mental Health Evaluation Report in which he gave diagnoses of: (1) attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (“ADHD”), combined type; and (2) major depressive disorder, recurrent, mild. Tr. 703. He did not, however, diagnose any mental impairment relating to Champine's intellectual capacity. He also provided the following opinions on Champine's then-current level of functioning:

Activities of Daily Living: . . . She is able to take independent and consistent care of her 1-year old daughter and most of her housework and shopping. She is able to drive and maintain hygiene. She is not able to pay bills independently.
Social Functioning: . . . Although I saw no signs of irritability during the interview, I am inclined to believe her report that she is very easily irritated and becomes explosive. I do not believe that she is currently capable of consistently interacting appropriately with peers, supervisors or the public.
Understanding and Remembering Instructions: . . . She is able to understand and remember simple instructions but her nursing home [employment] experience suggests that she cannot consistently and independently remember detailed instructions.
Concentration and Task Completion: . . . She was very distracted by soft music playing outside of my office. She is able to complete most of the tasks that she currently undertakes but she is unable to maintain an appropriate pace.
Reaction to Stress, Adaptation to Work or Work-like Situations: . . . She is easily stressed and when stressed she tends to cry, become very irritable and may have a panic attack. She is able to maintain attendance and a schedule but cannot consistently accept supervision unless it is very patient and respectful. She is able to make simple decisions.

Tr. 702-03. Under a heading asking him to list the signs, symptoms, and reasoning that supported his diagnoses, Dr. Kay reported:

Her need[] for special education [while in high school], her inability to do serial 7s or spell [‘]world['] backwards, her distraction by music outside my office, her ability to focus on visual but not on auditory stimuli, and her constant irritability suggest ADHD rather than Bipolar Disorder. Manic symptoms do not recur concomitantly. The abusive relationship [several years ago, during her teens] has also contributed to her irritability. The abuse and the ADHD are probably responsible for her recurrent depression and her panic attacks.

Tr. 703.

         After conducting a hearing, the ALJ issued a decision that includes the following relevant findings of fact and conclusions of law:

2. The claimant has the following medically determinable impairment[s]: depression, acid peptic disease and obesity ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.