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 Disability Insurance
Benefits and Supplemental Security Income to individuals who
are under a disability, among other eligibility requirements.
A “disability” in this context refers to
“any medically determinable physical or mental
impairment” that precludes an applicant from engaging
in “substantial gainful activity.” 42 U.S.C.
§§ 423(d)(1)(A), 1382c(a)(3)(A); see Bowen v.
City of New York, 476 U.S. 467, 469-70 (1986).
Steven Clabaugh, II applied for Disability Insurance Benefits
and Supplemental Security Income, asserting that he had been,
and continues to be, under a disability, starting on June 1,
2010. Plaintiff's applications and evidence
worked their way through preliminary reviews and eventually
landed in front of Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Elizabeth
A. Motta. After a hearing, during which Plaintiff and a
vocational expert testified, ALJ Motta denied Plaintiff's
applications on the ground that he was not disabled. (Doc.
#6, PageID #s 42-63).
brings the present case contending (in part) that ALJ Motta
erred and unreasonably weighed the opinions of his treating
psychologist James Moore, Psy. D. He seeks a remand of this
case for payment of benefits or, at a minimum, for further
proceedings. The Commissioner finds no error in the ALJ's
decision and asks the Court to affirm rather than remand.
was forty-one years old on his asserted disability onset
date. He achieved the equivalence of a high-school education,
and he worked in the past as a machine operator and a cabinet
assembler. He avows that his “disability centers on a
profound decline in his mental health over time.” (Doc.
#7, PageID #3322).
testified during an administrative hearing that he had not
been able to work since his back surgery in July 2010. He
attempted to return to school, but it didn't work out
because he could not sit long enough. This problem, he
testified, led to his mental-health decline:
Since my inability to work or to get educated to find a job
which I thought would be plausible in the beginning, my
mental health has deteriorated to the point where I'm
suicidal. My inability to take care of my children, to do
right by them, to do right by my ex-wife pretty much haunts
(Doc. #6, PageID #80; see PageID #90).
Plaintiff struggles with telling his daughter that he
can't do certain things with her. As he vividly describes
it: “your soul dies a little bit every time you have to
tell a little girl that.” Id. at 90.
“knew [his] options were gone” after he realized
his limitations prevented him from continuing in school.
Id. His depression and suicidal ideation have
worsened over time. He has weekly suicidal ideations. When
this occurs, he lies in bed and cries. He calls the suicide
hotline and Dr. Moore, who will see him that day whether or
not he has an appointment. Id. at 91. During the two
or three years before the ALJ's hearing, Plaintiff called
the suicide hotline or Dr. Moore every week. He saw Dr. Moore
at least once a week. Id. He characterized Dr. Moore
as an “absolutely wonderful person.” Id.
at 91. Dr. Moore helped Plaintiff get back on track.
told ALJ Motta that he called the suicide hotline
“probably four or five times a month easy.”
Id. at 92. Sometimes by evening, he can pull himself
out a little from a bad day. Sometimes a bad day continues
into the next day. He testified that a bad day involved
“[n]ot a lot of rational thinking. I just-I just
don't want to be here no more.” Id. Such
bad days occurred twice a week on average.
reads books and watches TV but does not have any hobbies.
Id. at 88-89. He goes to church twice a month if he
is “lucky.” Id. at 87. He uses a
computer to send emails to family members; he does not play
video games on a computer. He does not eat out with friends,
family members, or his children. He is divorced and sees his
children ever other weekend and every Wednesday.
medical records disclose that in September 2011, he was
psychiatrically hospitalized due to depression accompanied by
suicidal ideation. Id. at 402-03, 578-79. Two months
later, he returned to the emergency room due to confusion. He
had been waking up disoriented for five days. Id. at
2012, Plaintiff was psychiatrically hospitalized for three
days. Id. at 410-20, 546-50. He had attempted
self-harm and suicide by stabbing himself with a butcher
knife, causing a “superficial” wound.
Id. Hospital notes state, “He was referred for
hospitalization because he is depressed, upset, irritable and
angry, and he threatened suicide as well as attempted to harm
himself.” Id. at 410. He was placed on close
observation, provided medications, and scheduled for therapy.
third psychiatric hospitalization occurred in May 2014.
Id. at 480-86, 1318. He was transported to the
hospital by squad because he felt hopeless and suicidal (at
home). He remained hospitalized for three days. Shortly after
his hospital discharge, he underwent a psychiatric evaluation
at Darke County Recovery Services. Id. at 489-506.
He reported thoughts of suicide and ongoing depression
related primarily to his chronic back pain. Id. at
next hospitalization began in January 2015 in part because he
fractured his wrist. Id. at 713-71. This occurred
after he called the police and threatened to jump off a
thirty-foot bridge. Id. at 725. At some point, he
fell (“jumped or slipped, ” id. at 756)
from the bridge. Emergency personnel took him to the
hospital. Id. His injured left wrist required
surgery with fixation. Id. at 756, 770-71.
2015, Plaintiff went to Wayne Healthcare again reporting
severe depression with suicidal thoughts. Id. at
1139-42, 1734-35. He was transferred to Kettering Behavioral
Health for ...