United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
MARIA VALDEZ United States Magistrate Judge.
action was brought under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) to review
the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security
denying Plaintiff Shelley Fox's claims for Disability
Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) and Supplemental
Security Income (“SSI”). The parties have
consented to the jurisdiction of the United States Magistrate
Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). For the reasons
that follow, Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment
[Doc. No. 18] is granted in part and denied in part, and the
Commissioner's cross-motion for summary judgment [Doc.
No. 26] is denied.
November 2012, Plaintiff filed claims for both DIB and SSI,
alleging disability since June 4, 2011. (R. 204, 210.) The
claims were denied initially and upon reconsideration, after
which she timely requested a hearing before an Administrative
Law Judge (“ALJ”), which was held on May 7, 2014
(R. 35-61.) Plaintiff personally appeared and testified at
the hearing and was represented by counsel. (Id.)
Vocational expert Glee Ann Kehr also testified.
30, 2014, the ALJ denied Plaintiff's claims for both DIB
and SSI finding her not disabled under the Social Security
Act. (R. 19-29.) The Social Security Administration Appeals
Council then denied Plaintiff's request for review,
leaving the ALJ's decision as the final decision of the
Commissioner and, therefore, reviewable by the District Court
under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). See Haynes v.
Barnhart, 416 F.3d 621, 626 (7th Cir. 2005).
was born on April 2, 1969 and was forty-five years old at the
time of the May 2014 hearing. (R. 40, 204.) She completed
high school and two years of college. (R. 233.) She has
worked as an administrative assistant, a caterer, a support
manager, and as a payroll assistant in human resources.
(Id.) She has never been married, has no children,
and has been living with her parents since 2012. (R. 40.)
had a neurological consultation with Nin Sun, M.D., Ph.D., on
May 29, 2007, where she was assessed with left optic
neuritis, and a history of multiple sclerosis
(“MS”). (R. 345.) Her primary care physician, Uma
Taparia, M.D., indicated in a progress note dated October 10,
2007, that Plaintiff was taking Rebif (Interferon
beta-1a) every other day for MS. (R. 340.)
April 5, 2010, Plaintiff began seeing neurologist Mathew
McCoyd, M.D., who noted Plaintiff had a history of MS with
two clinical events in 1990 and 2007. (R. 352-53.) Dr.
McCloyd reviewed Plaintiff's last MRI from May 30, 2007
which revealed at least six large periventricular white
matter lesions consistent with a history of MS. (R. 354-55.)
Dr. McCoyd indicated that Plaintiff tolerated treatment well
without side effects and had excellent medication compliance.
(R. 353.) Plaintiff denied any clinical events since 2007 and
denied double vision, blurred vision, gait imbalance, focal
weakness or numbness and reported no psychiatric issues.
next saw Dr. McCoyd on March 29, 2012, where he indicated
that Plaintiff was doing well clinically, tolerating
medication with no side effects, and had no new focal
symptoms. (R. 357.) At the next annual visit on April 15,
2013, however, Dr. McCoyd reported that Plaintiff complained
of worsening generalized symptoms, a squeezing sensation in
her legs, numbness in her arms for several months, hand
numbness, legs stiffening when driving, and poor sleep. (R.
399.) The neurological exam revealed a mild attention tremor
on the left with finger-to-nose testing, mild sway, and an
inability to tandem walk. (R. 399-400.) Dr. McCoyd noted that
the outside MRI, as compared to the 2007 MRI results, now
showed at least one new brainstem lesion (right lateral pons
near the middle cerebellar peduncle) and a new right
periventricular lesion that was prominent. (R. 400.) Dr.
McCoyd indicated that Plaintiff had clinically worsened since
last seen and that he did not think Plaintiff could work full
time due to her MS. (Id.)
2, 2013, Dr. McCoyd opined that Plaintiff met or equaled
Listing 11.09 for MS with significant and persistent
disorganization of motor function in two extremities, and a
visual or mental impairment. (R. 383-86.) Dr. McCoyd
concluded that Plaintiff had confirmed MS with a high
radiographic disease burden and neurological symptoms (both
diffuse and focal) consistent with the diagnosis. (R. 384.)
To support his determination, Dr. McCoyd referred to an
abnormal MRI with characteristic brain lesions. (R. 386.)
McCoyd further concluded that Plaintiff could occasionally
lift a maximum of six to ten pounds, frequently lift up to
five pounds, walk less than two hours in an eight hour day,
and sit less than four hours in an eight hour workday. (R.
385.) He noted non-exertional limitations that included never
climbing ladders, ropes, or scaffolds and never balancing or
crouching. (Id.) Dr. McCoyd indicated that Plaintiff
could perform the remaining postural activities
“occasionally.” (Id.) Dr. McCoyd wrote
that Plaintiff had significant visual or communicative
limitations due to optic neuritis, could not work in higher
heat or humidity and had mild cognitive impairment due to MS.
(Id.) He concluded that Plaintiff had not been able
to work full time at any time from June 4, 2011 through the