United States District Court, D. Colorado
JEFFREY R. BOND, Plaintiff,
NANCY BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER REVERSING DENIAL AND AWARDING
S. Krieger United States District Court
MATTER comes before the Court as an appeal from the
Commissioner's Final Administrative Decision
(“Decision”) determining that Jeffrey R. Bond is
not disabled within the meaning of §§216(i) and
223(d) of the Social Security Act. Having considered all of
the documents filed, including the record
(#12), the Court now finds and concludes as
Court has jurisdiction in this matter pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
Bond sought disability insurance benefits and supplemental
security income under Titles II and XVI of the Social
Security Act based on mental and physical impairments that
rendered him unable to work as of May 19, 2008. The state
agency denied his claim. He requested a hearing before an
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”), who issued an
unfavorable decision. Upon appeal to the Appeals Council, the
matter was remanded. The same ALJ held a second hearing and
again issued an unfavorable decision. Mr. Bond again appealed
to the Appeals Council, which reversed the decision and
ordered that Mr. Bond's claim be assigned to a new ALJ.
second ALJ held a hearing on Mr. Bond's claim and issued
an unfavorable decision. Mr. Bond appealed to the Appeals
Council, which denied his request for review, making the
ALJ's determination the final decision of the
Commissioner. Mr. Bond timely appealed to this Court.
Court offers a brief summary of the facts here and elaborates
as necessary in its analysis.
Bond was born on November 19, 1981. He has a limited
education and work history, having obtained his GED, attended
community college for a few semesters, and worked as a
technician assembling air conditioners, a bus boy at a
restaurant, and a sandblasting technician at a power plant.
He contends that narcolepsy, cataplexy, and depression
prevent him from working.
to Mr. Bond, while working as a technician assembling air
conditioners, he began having what he initially described as
seizures. When he gets comfortable, sees a pretty girl,
encounters heights, experiences anxiety, laughs, or is
otherwise excited, he feels weak, feels like he is dreaming,
and cannot move his limbs. He experiences these episodes up
to three times each day. He has also been diagnosed with
depression and takes medication to treat it.
and Opinions by Treating Medical Professionals
Bond was treated from September 3, 2008 to October 21, 2013
by a sleep specialist, J.F. Pagel, M.D., who diagnosed him
with narcolepsy and cataplexy. Dr. Pagel provided four
separate opinions. In the January 25, 2010 opinion, Dr. Pagel
stated that Mr. Bond suffered from daytime sleepiness and
narcolepsy but did not address how it would affect Mr.
Bond's physical capabilities. On February 2, 2010, again
Dr. Pagel diagnosed Mr. Bond with narcolepsy and cataplexy
and stated that Mr. Bond would likely miss three days each
month for work, Mr. Bond would need unscheduled work breaks
once or twice a day for ten minutes because of drowsiness,
and that fatigue, pain, or weakness caused by Mr. Bond's
condition would affect his attention and concentration. On
September 21, 2011, Dr. Pagel stated that Mr. Bond's
narcolepsy and cataplexy would cause him to have one to three
daytime sleep attacks each day, would interfere with his
attention and concentration, and would cause him to miss work
once or twice each month. Finally, on January 9, 2013, Dr.
Pagel stated that Mr. Bond would miss one to three days of
work each month and would need one hour rest breaks once or
twice each day and that these limitations on Mr. Bond's
ability to work had existed since October 2008.
by Non-treating Medical Professionals
Vega, Ph.D. performed a mental status evaluation of Mr. Bond
on January 21, 2013. He opined that Mr. Bond suffered from
moderate to extreme limitations on his understanding and
memory, his ability to sustain concentration and persistence,
his ability to interact with the general public, supervisors,
coworkers, and peers, and his ability to adapt to changing
circumstances. Further, based on Mr. Bond's statements,
he opined that Mr. Bond's limitations existed since 2008.
November 6, 2009, James J. Wanstrath, Ph.D. reviewed Mr.
Bond's file but did not examine him. He noted that Mr.
Bond suffered from depression and claustrophobia. However, he
opined that there was insufficient evidence to find that
these conditions caused any limitations on Mr. Bond's
Happer, M.D. also reviewed Mr. Bond's file but did not
examine him. On November 2, 2009, Dr. Happer stated that Mr.
Bond should not be employed in jobs involving
“unprotected heights, dangerous machines or commercial
driving”. However, he did not address whether Mr. Bond
would need ...