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Kingsley v. Colvin

United States District Court, D. Colorado

February 24, 2016

CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.


RAYMOND P. MOORE United States District Judge

This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Karin Koebergen Kinglsey’s (“Plaintiff”) request for judicial review pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). (ECF No. 1.) Plaintiff challenges the final decision of Defendant Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, by which she denied Plaintiff’s applications for disability insurance benefits (“DIB”) under Title II of the Social Security Act (“Act”). An Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) ruled Plaintiff was not disabled within the meaning of the Act and therefore not entitled to DIB.

Defendant provided the Court with the administrative record. (ECF Nos. 8; 8-1; 8-2; 8-3; 8-4; 8-5; 8-6; 8-7; 8-8.) The parties have fully briefed the matter and it is ripe for adjudication. (ECF Nos. 16; 19; 20.)

For the reasons set forth below, the Court vacates Defendant’s denial of Plaintiff’s DIB application and remands for further proceedings consistent with this Order.


Plaintiff applied for DIB in October 2011, alleging she was disabled as of September 30, 2002, due to the following conditions that limit her ability to work: herniated discs, carpal tunnel syndrome, trigger finger in right hand, neuropathy in her right foot, and arthritis in both hands impairments. (Admin. R. (“Tr.”) 114-15, 165.) After Plaintiff’s application was initially denied, Plaintiff requested a hearing before an ALJ. (Tr. 53-62, 66-67.) The ALJ denied Plaintiff’s application. (Tr. 12-25.) Plaintiff requested review of the ALJ’s decision and, in June 2014, the Appeals Council denied such review. (Tr. 1-5, 11.) Plaintiff timely requested judicial review before the Court.

A. Background and Relevant Medical Evidence

Plaintiff was born in 1951. (Tr. 54.) Plaintiff completed high school. (Tr. 166) Plaintiff’s past relevant work history includes: bench jeweler, salesperson jeweler, optician, salesperson general merchandise, and office helper. (Tr. 50.)

Plaintiff claims she became disabled on September 30, 2002, due to physical impairments. (Tr. 114-15, 165.)

1. Physical Impairments

In February 1993, Plaintiff reported tingling and numbness in her hands. (Tr. 311, 315.) Plaintiff was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome and trigger finger (flexor tenosynovitis). (Tr. 314.) Plaintiff received treatment for her carpal tunnel syndrome and trigger finger which included non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, wrist splints, and physical therapy. (Tr. 298-313.) In August 1993, George Gutierrez, M.D., opined that Plaintiff could return to full-duty work without restriction. (Tr. 302.) In October 1993, Dr. Gutierrez noted that Plaintiff was working full-time at Nordstrom and discharged her from treatment. (Tr. 302.)

In January 1994, Arthur Civello, M.D., evaluated Plaintiff in relation to Plaintiff’s worker’s compensation claim. (Tr. 231-36.)

In June 1997, John Missirian, M.D., evaluated Plaintiff regarding her left arm. (Tr. 354-58.) Plaintiff related her complaints related to a job incident that occurred in March 1997. (Tr. 357.) Dr. Missirian noted that Plaintiff’s “present condition is not permanent and stationary” as well as that “her present left arm complaints are expected to subside completely within a very short period of time.” (Tr. 357.) Dr. Missirian noted that “[w]ith respect to [Plaintiff’s] right wrist and forearm, her present subjective symptoms are unsupported by objective findings on examination and the nature of those symptoms seem to be recurrent minor complaints… her right wrist and forearm symptoms do not need any medical attention or care at this time.” (Tr. 357.)

In March 1997, Plaintiff suffered a work-related injury to her upper left arm and neck. (Tr. 360.) In November 1997, Plaintiff had an MRI of the cervical spine which showed a “right lateralized disc herniation at C4-5, as well as a forminal bulge in the left C6-7 area.” (Tr. 393.) In February 1998, Jerel Glassman, D.O., opined that Plaintiff should return to work with restriction which include “no repetitive lifting with the upper extremities, though occasional lifting would be alright; no prolonged up and down motion of the neck, and no lifting greater than 10 pounds on a regular basis and no lifting greater than 30 pounds at any time.” (Tr. 383.) In April 1998, Dr. Glassman attributed Plaintiff’s limitations to her “complex neck and upper extremity problem involving degenerative cervical disc disease and repetitive strain injury.” (Tr. 381.) In May 1998, Dr. Glassman provided permanent work restrictions for Plaintiff due to her cervical spine and left shoulder injury. (Tr. 378-80.)

In December 2002, Plaintiff reported to Dr. Glassman “occasional pain in the neck and occasional muscle spasm.” (Tr. 367.) Dr. Grossman gave Plaintiff “renewals for Motrin as well as Valium . . . [as well as a] prescription for a new cervical pillow.” (Tr. 367.)

In February 2004, David Silva, D.O. conducted a spine consultation. (Tr. 405-07.) Dr. Silva noted that Plaintiff has “some posterior complex pain with cervical extension, rotation and side-bending.” (Tr. 406.) Dr. Silva opined that “a brief course of manipulative therapy directed at the cervical spine may be very helpful in maintaining her symptoms.” (Tr. ...

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