United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division
ROBERT K. WINKLE, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.
District Judge Thomas M. Rose
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS 
L. Ovington United States Magistrate Judge
Social Security Administration denied Plaintiff Robert K.
Winkle's August 5, 2013 application (protectively filed)
for Supplemental Security Income. The denial occurred mainly
from the determination by Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)
Gregory G. Kenyon that Plaintiff was not under a
“disability” as defined under the Social Security
brings the present case contending that ALJ Kenyon's
decision is flawed. He contends that ALJ Kenyon failed to
properly evaluate the opinions provided by his treating
psychiatrist Dr. Mark A. Smith. Plaintiff also argues that
the ALJ's assessment of Plaintiff's residual
functional capacity-or, the most he could do despite his
impairments-did not account for all of his physical and
mental limitations. And, Plaintiff maintains that the ALJ
failed to place proper weight on the opinions of his treating
social worker and mental-health therapist.
Commissioner takes the counterpoint on each of
Plaintiff's contentions and seeks an Order affirming the
asserts that his benefits-qualifying disability began on
November 15, 2011. This places him in the category of a
“younger person” under social security
regulations. 20 C.F.R. § 416.963(c). He remained in this
category on the date he filed his application at age 34.
Plaintiff earned a GED and took some college classes. He has
minimal employment experience. (Doc. #8, PageID #s
a hearing held by ALJ Kenyon, Plaintiff testified that
he'd experienced episodes of blacking out-“it
usually happens with a migraine.” Id. at 85.
Once (in 2014) he blacked out, fell, and hit the back of his
head and neck on a wall. The result: He fractured his C5
vertebra. He acknowledged that his neurologist had the
blackouts under control, but he still blacked-out twice a
month. Id. at 85-86.
explained that also he suffered from tremors in his hands and
arms, and he has restless leg syndrome. The tremors occur
every time he attempts to do something, even when he's
not doing anything. Id. at 86.
acknowledged that he has a history of bipolar disorder. He
described it as making his mood like a roller coaster. He
testified, “Sometimes I go manic. Sometimes I go down.
It's just my moods can change like that….”
Id. at 88. One example he provided involved a failed
relationship: “I was dating a girl a few months back,
and she absolutely did nothing wrong really, but she just
said something, and I just went off on her. And she ended up
breaking up with me because of it.” Id.
Plaintiff also experienced anger outbursts with a supervisor
at work and with his father. Id. at 89-90.
Plaintiff had a manic phase, it lasted anywhere from fifteen
minutes to an hour. Id. at 103. He usually
experienced these a few times each week. Id.
Sometimes (30% of the time) he had only one manic phase
during a week. Id.
has crying spells once or twice a month. He also “has
all kinds of trouble concentrating.” Id. at
91. He explained, “That's one of the reasons why I
don't drive a long distance…. And my background, a
lot of my education is in computers, and I used to be able to
build a computer, basically, with my eyes closed. And now I
can't even focus enough to do hardly any computer work at
all.” Id. at 91-92. He continued:
My nephew wanted-he ordered all the parts and wanted to build
his own computer. And I couldn't even focus enough and my
hands were so shaky I couldn't even do it for him. I had
to sit there and just give him verbal directions and talk him
through it so he could do it himself….
Id. at 92.
Plaintiff's mood is down, he gets “real
depressed.” He explained, “I don't even
hardly want to get out of bed. And then it just go[es] up and
down.” Id. at 88. He does not leave the house
much. He goes out every other day to walk his dog. He also
picks up prescriptions and goes to the grocery store. At one
point, Plaintiff had a friend he talked with on a daily
basis, but he had not seen him in well over a year. Plaintiff
declines to do things with his friend because he does not
“really get any pleasure out of going out or doing a
lot of things that used to be fun for [him].”
Id. at 91. When he is depressed he has crying spells
and will sometimes “just cry out of nowhere.”
told the ALJ that he sees a therapist, Mr. Newport, every two
weeks. This gives him the chance “to vent and talk
about a lot of things.” Id. at 93. As the days
go by, however, he gets frustrated. He testified:
I walk in in worse shape than when I was in there. And
he's [Mr. Newport has] even made comments that came off
the wrong way, and I kind of…, went off on him, which
I apologized for afterwards. But it's just-if things come
across wrong, I just-my bipolar just throws me up, and I just
freak out, I guess-freak out, just yell, things like
that-yell and accuse them of trying to do things that
they're not really trying to do and all that stuff.
Id. These episodes happen about two or three times a
week, primarily with his father.
told ALJ Kenyon that he has hallucinations of people coming
after him. A hallucination like this once caused him to jump
up and his father kept trying to talk him down. Plaintiff,
however, had difficulty calming down because he had
“seen a bunch of people with axes and stuff like that
that were coming to get [him].” Id. at 94. He
also sees his mother, who has passed away. He has
conversations with her (“She talks to me, and I talk
back.”). Id. He described his other
hallucinations as involving people coming at him, telling him
he is going to die and he's “not worth
anything….” Id. He added, “And a
lot of times it happens when I'm asleep. So it will wake
me up out of a dead sleep, and I just start seeing
things.” Id. After his psychiatrist changed
his medication, the ...