United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
JEFFREY B.D. JACOBS, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, ACTING COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
JOHNSON COLEMAN United States District Judge.
the Court are cross-motions for summary judgment [8, 16]
arising from the Commissioner of Social Security's
decision to deny plaintiff Jeffrey Jacobs' request for
disability insurance benefits. Jacobs asks the Court to
reverse the Administrative Law Judge's
(“ALJ”) determination that she is not disabled
and entitled to benefits, or to remand for further
proceedings. Defendant contends that the ALJ's decision
should be affirmed. For the reasons stated herein, this Court
grants Jacobs' motion and remands the matter for further
consideration by the agency.
applied for Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”)
and Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) under
Titles II and XVI, 42 U.S.C. §§ 423(d), 1381a, on
May 24, 2011, alleging in both applications that he became
disabled on April 1, 2008, due to “affective mood/mood
disorders” (depression) and “anxiety related
disorders”. (Administrative Record (“A.R.”)
at 154, 158). The Social Security Administration denied the
applications initially on June 27, 2011, and upon
reconsideration on September 21, 2011. (A.R. at 69, 87).
Jacobs timely filed a request for hearing and appeared before
Administrative Law Judge (the “ALJ”) on October
5, 2012. (A.R. at 33). The ALJ heard testimony from Jacobs,
who was represented by counsel, as well as from vocational
expert Pete D. Hardy III (the VE”). The ALJ found that
Jacobs is not disabled because he can perform work as a
kitchen helper, hand packager, or storeroom laborer. (A.R. at
17-28). The Appeals Council denied Jacobs request for review.
(A.R. at 1-3). Jacobs seeks judicial review of the ALJ's
decision, which stands as the final decision of the
argues that this Court should remand this matter because the
ALJ failed to give the proper weight to the opinions of
Jacobs' treating psychiatrist and therapist, and made an
improper credibility determination. Pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g), Jacobs filed the complaint for judicial review
now before this Court. For the reasons that follow, this
Court finds that the ALJ's decision is not supported by
substantial evidence and must be remanded for further
was born on June 18, 1971. (A.R. at 26). As of alleged
disability onset date of April 1, 2008, Jacobs was 36 years
old. Jacobs earned a law degree in 1998 and worked as an
attorney prior to 2008. He was discharged from his last place
of employment, a law firm, on March 30, 3007. (A.R. at 186).
Relevant Medical History
first medical record available is the discharge summary from
Leyden Family Service and Mental Health Center. (A.R. at
259-266). Jacobs presented at the facility on April 2, 2008,
because he had been experiencing vegetative symptoms of
depression for the past month. The psychiatric evaluation
report from April 3, 2008, states that Jacobs was bereft and
despondent and had been experiencing passive suicidal
ideation. The evaluating physician, Richard S. Goldberg,
M.D., noted that Jacobs reported having multiple vegetative
symptoms of depression, including insomnia, a ten pound
weight loss in the past month, a loss of interest in usual
activities. He had been admitted to a psychiatric hospital at
age 13 for depression. Dr. Goldberg diagnosed Jacobs with
recurrent major depression and mixed personality disorder
with dependent and narcissistic features. He prescribed
Lexapro and recommended counseling, psychotherapy of a
supportive nature on an outpatient basis as soon as possible.
(A.R. at 263-264).
next record is from January 13, 2009, when Jacobs presented
at the emergency room of Good Samaritan Hospital with
suicidal ideation. (A.R. 269-271). The nursing intake notes
states that Jacobs was experiencing depression and was
feeling suicidal, hopeless and worthless. His appetite and
sleep were poor. The nurse noted an intact memory with poor
focus and concentration. (A.R. at 272). Good Samaritan
Hospital transferred Jacobs to John J. Madden Mental Health
Center the following day, where he was admitted for
treatment. (A.R. at 281). Additional records from
Resurrection Behavioral Health from January 2009-June 2011
reflect regular visits with therapists, primarily Michele
Bailey, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker
(“LCSW”), for recurrent major depressive
disorder. (A.R. at 308-407). Also in the medical records are
Dr. Haidari Shikari's progress notes from psychiatric
evaluation and medical monitoring between February 7, 2011,
and November 14, 2011. (A.R. at 431-434). On December 21,
2010, the Progress Note from Resurrection Behavioral Health
states that it had been four months since Jacobs' last
appointment, but that he wants to reengage in treatment
despite his ongoing financial issues that caused him to
suspend treatment. The note further reflects that
“[w]ithout treatment this [client] would definitely
decompensate needing a much higher level of care and
rehospitalization.” (A.R. at 360). The progress note
from group therapy on February 9, 2011, states that Jacobs
“is managing symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder
Recurrent, Unspecified which causes clinically significant
distress and impacts daily functioning.” (A.R. at 374).
On April 26, 2011, the therapist's progress note states
that Jacobs presented with severe symptoms of depression
(rumination about the past, tearful, increased sleep, low
self-esteem) significantly impact client's functioning
and he requires services to prevent further decompensation
and hospitalization.” (A.R. at 398).
Psychiatric Review completed by a consultant for the State
agency, Howard Tin, Psy.D., on June 27, 2011, found that an
RFC (Residual Functional Capacity) assessment was necessary.
(A.R. at 408). Dr. Tin found that Jacobs suffered from Major
Depressive Disorder with Anxiety and Borderline Personality
Traits. The Psychiatric Review further indicates that Jacobs
had mild restriction of activities of daily living, moderate
difficulties in maintaining social functioning, moderate
difficulties in maintaining concentration, persistence, or
pace, and no episodes of extended duration of decompensation.
(A.R. at 418). Dr. Tin also completed the RFC Assessment.
(A.R. at 422-425).
Shikari and Michele Bailey, LCSW, also each completed a
medical assessment form on May 7, 2012, at the request of
Jacob's attorney for the disability benefit application.
(A.R. at 439-444). Dr. Shikari noted that he had been
treating Jacobs for major depressive disorder since 2009 and
that Jacobs' condition was unchanged in that time. Dr.
Shikari noted that his prognosis for Jacobs was
“guarded” because he is unable to afford
psychotherapy. Dr. Shikari further noted that Jacobs has
difficulty in social functioning due to the symptoms of his
depression and that he is likely to decompensate if exposed
to work setting and schedule. (A.R. at 440).
Bailey performed a Mental Residual Functional Capacity
Assessment, finding that Jacobs is moderately limited in all
areas of understanding and memory; moderately limited in all
areas of sustained concentration, except he is not
significantly limited in his ability to carry out very short
and simple instructions and is markedly limited in the
ability to complete a normal workday and workweek without
interruption from psychologically based symptoms and to
perform at consistent pace without an unreasonable number and
length of rest periods. (A.R. 441-442). Bailey also found
moderate limitations in most areas of social interaction and
in the ability to be aware of normal hazards and take
appropriate precautions, and the ability to set realistic
goals or make plans independently of others. (A.R. at 442).
Bailey concluded that Jacobs' symptoms significantly
impair his ability to perform work activities within a
schedule, make work-related decisions, and maintain regular
attendance or punctuality. (A.R. at 443).
The October 5, 2012, ...