United States District Court, D. New Hampshire
Raymond M. Vorce
Nancy A. Berryhill, Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration
W. Craig, Esq.
E. James-Pakkala, Esq.
David Plourde, Esq.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Barbadoro United States District Judge.
case is not a typical challenge to a denial of Social
Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits. The plaintiff,
Raymond M. Vorce, claims that he has been disabled since
1994. In 2006, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) determined
that Vorce was disabled, but that his current period of
disability did not begin until March 19, 1999. The ALJ also
determined that Vorce was not entitled to benefits prior to
May 4, 1998 because, on that date, the Commission had denied
Vorce's first application for benefits and the record did
not contain good cause to reopen the first application. Vorce
appealed and another judge on this court remanded the case to
the Commission for further proceedings because the record did
not disclose whether the Commission had in fact denied
Vorce's first application for benefits. On remand, a
different ALJ considered the issue on the merits and
determined that Vorce was not disabled prior to March 19,
1999. That decision is now before me on appeal.
argues that the ALJ erred by rejecting the opinions of his
treating sources in favor of a non-examining doctor's
opinion and by disregarding his own statements of his
limitations. For the following reasons, I affirm.
accordance with Local Rule 9.1, the parties have submitted a
Joint Statement of Material Facts. Doc. No. 15. Because that
joint statement is part of the court's record, I only
briefly discuss the facts here. I discuss further facts
relevant to the disposition of this matter as necessary
graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1974 with a
degree in accounting. Administrative Record (AR) 469, 657.
From 1977 to 1994, he worked in various managerial roles in
business, including “Director of external rep[orting],
” “branch manager, ” and president of a
temporary employment agency. AR 273, 421-422, 657. In 1988,
he suffered his first instance of depression when he moved
from Connecticut to Maine. AR 469. He became depressed again
in 1990 when his wife suffered a miscarriage. AR 469. In
1993, he became depressed again when he separated from his
wife. AR 469-470. On March 1, 1994, Vorce stopped working,
claiming that his “depression, ”
“ADD” (attention deficit disorder), and
“dissociative disorder” interfered with his
ability to continue running his business. AR 659. He was 41
years old. AR 249.
filed a claim for SSDI on April 7, 1998, AR 1419, alleging a
disability onset date of March 1, 1994. AR 1414. In his
application, Vorce claimed he had “attention deficit
disorder, ” “depression, ” and
“dissociated disorder.” AR 1414. On May 3, 1998,
the Social Security Administration (SSA) sent Vorce a letter
stating that it required more documents to process his
application. AR 651-652; Vorce v. Astrue, 2010 DNH
182, 2010 WL 4116835, *1. The record does not disclose
whether he provided the requested information. Nor does the
record reveal whether the SSA resolved his application.
Second Application, First ALJ's Opinion
filed a second claim for SSDI on March 10, 2000, AR 280,
alleging the same disability onset date of March 1, 1994, AR
272. In this application, he cited “uninterrupted major
depression, ” “attention deficit disorder,
” “dissociative disorder, ” and a
“learning disability” as his disabilities. AR
272. On August 2, 2000, the SSA denied his claim. AR 86.
Vorce filed a request for reconsideration, which was denied
on December 15, 2000. AR 92. Vorce then filed a request for a
hearing before an ALJ, which was received by the SSA on
February 21, 2001. AR 95.
December 5, 2001, the SSA sent a letter to Vorce scheduling
his hearing for December 20, 2001. AR 101. For reasons
unclear in the record, the hearing did not occur on December
20, 2001. Several more hearings were scheduled between April
26, 2002 and July 3, 2002, at which time neither party
appeared and the ALJ dismissed Vorce's application. AR
112. Vorce appealed this dismissal to the SSA Appeals Council
(AC), which overturned the dismissal and sent his case back
to the ALJ for a hearing. AR ...