United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division, Dayton
H. Rice District Judge
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS 
L. Ovington United States Magistrate Judge
Social Security Administration provides Supplemental Security
Income to individuals with a “disability” (among
other eligibility requirements). Bowen v. City of New
York, 476 U.S. 467, 470 (1986); see 42 U.S.C.
§ 1382(a). A “disability” in this context
means “any medically determinable physical or mental
impairment” that precludes an applicant from performing
a significant paid job (“substantial gainful
activity”). 42 U.S.C. § 1382c(a)(3)(A); see
Bowen, 476 U.S. at 469-70.
Nina Priestly applied for Supplemental Security Income in
early April 2012. Since then, her application and evidence
has been reviewed and found wanting by two Administrative Law
Judges (ALJs) in three decisions. The most recent decision,
by ALJ Gregory G. Kenyon, denied Plaintiff's application
based on the conclusion that her medical impairments did not
amount to a “disability” as defined in the Social
Security Act. (Doc. #6, PageID #s 628-39).
brings the present case contending that ALJ Kenyon's
decision his fraught with six errors:
1. The ALJ failed to reasonably weight the testimony of
Plaintiff's case worker.
2. The ALJ did not adequately weigh the opinion of Dr.
3. The ALJ failed to reasonably appraise Plaintiff's
mental health limitations.
4. The ALJ's credibility findings are not reasonably
5. The ALJ's findings regarding Plaintiff's physical
capacity for work[-]relevant postures are unsupported and the
product of inadequate opinion weighing.
6. The ALJ's decision is not supported by substantial
evidence and the Commissioner's position is not
(Doc. #7, PageID #1273).
Commissioner finds no error in the ALJ's decision and
contends that substantial evidence supports his evaluation of
the medical evidence and Plaintiff's credibility.
was forty-seven years old when she applied (in April 2012)
for Supplemental Security Income. She is therefore considered
a “younger person” under social-security
regulations. See 20 C.F.R. § 416.963(c). In
mid-2015, she turned fifty years old and moved into the
category of a “person approaching advanced age.
See 20 C.F.R. § 416.963(d). Plaintiff's
earned a high-school education, at a minimum. Her contributions
to the workforce involved various jobs that the ALJ described
as general office clerk.
testified during administrative hearings that she experienced
bad depressive episodes generally two or three times per
week. (Doc. #6, PageID #s 72, 675-76). But, her
episodes of depression can last up to a week. She has a bad
week once every couple of months. Id. During
episodes of serious depression, she sleeps much of the day
and is awake much of the night. Id. She isolates
herself by not typically leaving her home during a bad
episode of depression, and she “can't pull herself
together enough to actually do” household activities.
Id. at 72-73, 665, 675, 984-85. She will not take a
shower or bath during her bad days and weeks. Even during
some of her better weeks she is unable to muster the
determination to shower or bathe. As a result, she might go
months without showering or bathing. Id. at 675-76.
has difficulty with her energy levels. She explained,
“Some days I just don't function. I just can't
even handle getting up, sometimes. And other times I can
handle getting up. But it's difficult to get out of
… clothes you wear at home that you do not wear out in
public. Some days I just don't. I don't…, do
anything at all.” Id. at 666-67. She spends
most of a bad day sleeping. This occurs a couple of times a
month. Id. at 667, 984. Activity or stress on one
day can also significantly reduce her ability to function on
the next day. Id. at 990. Sometimes Plaintiff's
depressive episodes interfere with her sleep, resulting in
her occasionally missing mental-health-treatment
appointments. Id. at 73. Her missed appointments
occasionally allow her prescriptions to lapse, briefly
forcing her to go without her medications. Id. at
75. Her memory is also poor and she struggles to interact
“in a socially acceptable way” for more than a
brief period of time (four to six hours). Id. at
669, 674. She explained:
I have way less patience than I used to have, which affects
my interacting with other people. But also, more than that, I
just - I go for a certain amount of time, and then I just
can't seem to make myself keep doing whatever it is that
I'm trying to do. Sometimes it's as if I've lost
interest. Whether I actually lost interest, or just
motivation and concentration, I don't know.
Id. at 674. Plaintiff has also occasionally
struggled with suicidal thoughts. Id. at 667. She
also picked at the skin on her arms or “other
places.” Id. at 667-68. She testified,
“I suppose you could say I've been working at not
doing that. Primarily, by doing things like knitting. As long
as I can keep my hands busy with something else, I cannot rip
at myself.” Id. at 668.
caseworker at Eastway Behavioral Healthcare, Ms. Donna Yount,
testified during Plaintiff's 2013 administrative hearing.
Id. at 81-86. She had been a caseworker at Eastway
for over thirteen years. She held a state-issued
“social worker assistant license.” Id.
at 81-82. She helped Plaintiff by coordinating her paperwork
and handling administrative matters. In 2013, Ms. Yount had
known Plaintiff for close to two years. Ms. Yount explained
that Plaintiff saw a doctor at Eastway every two months, and
Ms. Yount was scheduled to visit Plaintiff at her home once a
month. Id. at 82-83. ...