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Martinez v. Colvin

United States District Court, D. Colorado

July 27, 2015

Marie Martinez Plaintiff,
Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration, Defendant.




Plaintiff Marie Martinez (plaintiff), applied for social security disability insurance benefits (DIB) on September 8, 2009, alleging disability as of December 12, 2008. (ECF No.10, p.17, 120-23, 127-29). Her claims were initially denied on March 5, 2010. (ECF No.10, pp.70, 73). On March 26, 2010, plaintiff filed her request for an administrative hearing. (ECF No.10, p.69). She was granted a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ), appeared, testified and was represented by an attorney at the hearing on April 28, 2011. (ECF No.10, pp.17-26).

The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) denied plaintiff’s application for DIB on June 13, 2011. (ECF No.10, pp.17-26). This denial became the Commissioner of Social Security’s (Commissioner) final decision on December 21, 2012, when the Appeals Council denied plaintiff’s appeal of the ALJ’s decision. (ECF 10, pp. 1-3). Plaintiff now seeks review of that final decision. (ECF No.13).


A. Social History

Plaintiff was born on June 22, 1980. (ECF No. 10, pp.17, 120, 127, 134). She was last insured on December 31, 2010. Id. She was 28 years old on December 12, 2008, the date of her alleged disability. Id. Plaintiff is divorced and has four children ages 14, 12, 11 and 10, who live with their father. (ECF No.10, p.36).

Plaintiff completed high school and one year of college. (ECF No.10, pp36, 38). Her reported work history over the past 15 years includes work as a retail cashier, a waitress, a medical assistant and a phlebotomist. (ECF No.10, pp.38-39, 136-140, 166-173, 186).

Plaintiff reports that she has her children stay with her every other weekend however, the record contains indications that her visitation is less regular (ECF No.10, p.578 (not allowed to visit her children in 2009), and affected by her substance abuse[1]. (ECF No.10, pp.642, 678(only allowed to see children once a week for 3-4 hours)). The record is similarly contradictory regarding where plaintiff lives but it is clear that she does not have her own housing and depends on boyfriends or family members for housing. (See e.g.; ECF No.10, pp.37, 648, 661, 667, 672, 675, 678).

B. Medical History

Plaintiff is a consistently poor historian however her medical record demonstrates that since 2007, she has complained of depression, insomnia, racing thoughts, panic-like episodes. (ECF No.10, p.205). In May, 2007, Dr. Scholten diagnosed plaintiff with mood disorder(s) with major anxiety component and opiate dependence. (ECF No.10, p.206). Dr. Scholten referred plaintiff for psychotherapy and continued her anti-depressant, anti-anxiety and anti-seizure medications. Id. Plaintiff continued in therapy for the following year. (ECF No. 10, p.197-204).

On August 29, 2008, plaintiff presented in the Denver Health Emergency Room and reported that she had been sexually assaulted. (ECF No. 10, p.404). She was examined, treated and discharged home. Id. On September 2, 2008, she presented in the University of Colorado Emergency Room with an apparent overdose. (ECF No.10, pp. 566-575). She denied that this had been a suicide attempt. (ECF No.10, p.568).

On September 5, 2008, plaintiff was brought to Denver Health Medical Center (DHMC) by ambulance following an overdose of Ativan and alcohol.” (ECF No.10, pp.370-379). She was admitted on a psychiatric admission despite claiming this was an accidental overdose because her family reported that she was increasingly depressed, anxious and had reported “frequent thoughts of wishing she were dead.” (ECF No.10, p.371). She was discharged to her sister’s house three days later. (ECF No.10, p.392). Her September 8, 2008, discharge summary notes that plaintiff had repeatedly overdosed over the past six months with Ativan and Tylenol, reported heavy alcohol use of a pint of vodka daily and had attempted suicide by a Tylenol overdose approximately five months previous to this admission. (ECF No.10, p.366).

On September 12, 2008, plaintiff again presented in the DHMC Emergency Room (ER). (ECF No.10, pp.357-366). This time plaintiff was accompanied by the police who had been called by her grandmother following plaintiff’s intoxicated verbal altercation with her family. Id. Plaintiff was discharged the following day ...

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