United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Springfield Division
MICHAEL J. COOPER, Plaintiff,
CAROLYN COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
MYERSCOUGH, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Michael J. Cooper appeals from the denial of his application
for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits and
Supplemental Security Income Disability benefits under Titles
II and XVI of the Social Security Act. 42 U.S.C. §§
416(i), 4231381a, and 1382c. This appeal is brought pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c). Plaintiff has
filed a Motion for Summary Judgment (d/e 11) and Defendant
Commissioner of Social Security has filed a Motion for
Summary Affirmance (d/e 15). For the reasons set forth below,
the Decision of the Commissioner is REVERSED and REMANDED for
was born January 31, 1962. Plaintiff graduated high school
and has worked in the past as a laborer/construction worker,
auto glass installation specialist, and auto glass
installation manager. See R. 229; R. 82 (correcting
listing of iron worker to construction worker II). Plaintiff
testified that he last worked as a glass installation
specialist in 2010 when he was laid off because he was no
longer able to install glass. R. 53.
medical history is set forth in Plaintiff's brief and the
Administrative Law Judge's (ALJ) opinion. The Court
provides a brief summary here to put Plaintiff's claims
was a patient of Dr. S. David Ross for many years. During
that time, Dr. Ross diagnosed Plaintiff with numerous
conditions and prescribed multiple medications, including
steroids. At the hearing, Plaintiff testified that Dr. Ross
misdiagnosed him, had him on the wrong medications, and
“almost killed” him. R 65.
approximately the fall of 2012, Plaintiff stopped seeing Dr.
Ross and, upon further testing by other physicians, several
of Dr. Ross's diagnoses were ruled out or resolved when
Plaintiff stopped taking the steroids. See R. 65; R.
1116 (December 19, 2013 medical record of Dr. Lynn Speck
indicating Plaintiff's “diabetes due to
glucocorticoids appears to have resolved” and that he
“no longer has adrenal insufficiency”). The
record suggests that the steroids prescribed to Plaintiff
contributed to the epidural lipomatosis on Plaintiff's
thoracic spine. R. 65; R. 867 (May 16, 2013 medical record of
Dr. Lewis noting that Plaintiff's spinal epidural
lipomatosis “was an unusual complication of prolonged
steroid therapy”); see also
(last visited November 30, 2016) (providing that
“[e]pidural lipomatosis is a rare disorder in which an
abnormal amount of fat is deposited on or outside the lining
of the spine”; common symptoms include back pain and
weakness; also noting that patients who use steroids for many
years are more likely to get epidural lipomatosis).
medical record shows that, by late 2012 and thereafter,
Plaintiff generally complained of the following
conditions/symptoms: hypogammaglobulinemia (a/k/a common
variable immunodeficiency), back pain, gastrointestinal
issues, headaches, hand tremors, fatigue, anxiety,
depression, sleep apnea, and shoulder pain. He was also
diagnosed with neuropathy. R. 787-89 (electromyography
conducted April 2013).
November 18, 2012, Plaintiff applied for Disability Insurance
benefits. On June 14, 2012, Plaintiff applied for
Supplemental Security Income Disability benefits. In both
applications, Plaintiff alleged disability beginning January
January 28, 2014, the ALJ held a hearing. Plaintiff testified
that the problems that kept him from working include his back
pain, Crohn's disease, migraines, his “immune
situation” (the hypogammaglobulinemia), tremors in his
hands, fatigue, and depression. R. 58-60. Plaintiff testified
he suffered side effects from his medication, including the
Imitrex for migraines, which put him to sleep. R. 59.
testified he has seven or eight migraines a month. R. 68. The
migraines make him sick (vomiting) and he takes the Imitrex,
which puts him to sleep. R. 59, 68. It takes about 30 minutes
for the medication to kick in and then he sleeps for three to
four hours. R. 68. In some cases, Plaintiff has to go to the
hospital or Prompt Care for an injection of Dilaudid for the
migraines. R. 69.
also testified that he currently undergoes infusion
treatments for his hypogammaglobulinemia at the hospital
every two weeks, which takes eight hours and cannot be done
on the weekends. R. 69. Plaintiff testified the infusions
started approximately four years earlier, while he was still
working. R. 81. In the past, he underwent the infusions every
three weeks but that was not working. R. 69.
sees a psychiatrist once a month and a therapist every three
or four weeks, sometimes more frequently. R. 60, 70. He sees
Dr. Ferdinand Salvacion from the pain clinic for his back
pain. R. 71. Plaintiff has been told by a surgeon that
surgery is not an option for his back pain. Id.
Plaintiff takes morphine and Norco for his back pain and uses
ice and heat ...