United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
M. ROWLAND UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Stephanie Anne Petelle (“Plaintiff” or “Ms.
Petelle”) seeks review of the final decision of
Respondent Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social
Security (“the Commissioner”),  denying
Plaintiff's application for disability insurance benefits
under Title II of the Social Security Act. Pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 636(c) and Local Rule 73.1, the parties have
consented to the jurisdiction of the United States Magistrate
Judge for all proceedings, including entry of final judgment.
reasons stated below, Plaintiff's motion for remand (Dkt.
11) is granted in part and the Commissioner's motion for
summary judgment (Dkt. 12) is denied in part. The case is
remanded for further proceedings consistent with this
Petelle applied for disability insurance benefits when she
was 55 years old. (R. at 170-71). She previously worked as an
office clerk and nurse case manager. (Id. at 36). On
July 9, 2014, Ms. Petelle testified at a hearing before the
ALJ. (Id. at 44). The ALJ also heard testimony from
Mr. James Breen, a vocational expert. (Id. at
pertinent facts are as follows. Since August 2012, Ms.
Petelle has been under the care of psychiatrist Dr. Nadeem
Hussain, M.D. (Id. at 60, 252). Dr. Hussain
diagnosed Ms. Petelle with major depressive disorder and
generalized anxiety disorder with irritability. (Id.
at 252, 495). Office visit records in September and October
of 2012 from Ms. Petelle's treating physician, Dr. Ronald
Severino, M.D., show a diagnosis of generalized anxiety
disorder and major depressive disorder, recurrent episode,
unspecified, hypersomnia, organic, and memory loss.
(Id. at 274, 279-94).On March 12, 2013, Ms. Petelle
attended a psychological consultative examination with
Gregory Rudolph, Ph.D., Licensed Clinical Psychologist, at
the request of the Bureau of Disability Determination
Services (BDDS) (Id. at 434-37). Dr. Rudolph
diagnosed major depression and history of posttraumatic
stress- sexual abuse as a child, and assessed a Global
Assessment of Functioning (GAF) score of 45 for Ms. Petelle.
(Id. at 434). Dr. Rudolph found that Ms.
Petelle's prognosis and insight are
“limited.” (Id.). On the same date,
Roopa Karri, M.D. also examined Ms. Petelle at the request of
the BDDS. (Id. at 440-43). Dr. Karri noted that Ms.
Petelle had a history of depression. (Id. at 443).
Dr. Karri observed that Ms. Petelle “had occasional
problems finding words.” (Id. at 441-42). Dr.
Karri's mental status examination (MSE) of Ms. Petelle
found her to be “alert and oriented in all 3
spheres.” (Id. at 443).
16, 2013, Dr. Hussain's MSE of Ms. Petelle noted that Ms.
Petelle's behavior was “restless and fidgety and
tics of neck and lower face. Cooperative.”
(Id. at 494-95). Her mood was “anxious and
less sad and anxious.” Her affect “increased in
intensity, increased in range and mood-congruent.
Reactive.” (Id. at 495). Dr. Hussain
prescribed Cymbalta 60 mg daily for depression and anxiety.
She discussed with Ms. Petelle an increase in Cymbalta to 90
mg and noted that Ms. Petelle has withdrawal symptoms if she
skips a day. (Id.) Dr. Hussain also prescribed
traza-done and gabapentin for anxiety and insomnia.
(Id.). Dr. Hussain's notes under suicidal
ideation stated that Ms. Petelle had intermittent thoughts
that “it would not be bad if I stopped breathing
altogether.” (Id. at 496). In March and
October of 2013, two non-examining psychologists opined that
Plaintiff had mild limitations in activities of daily living,
maintaining social functioning, and maintaining
concentration, persistence and pace. (Id. at 82,
March 20, 2014, Dr. Severino noted Ms. Petelle's
cognitive disorder, mood problem, anxiety problem, memory
loss, and excessive sleepiness. (Id. at 518). He
assessed depressive disorder, not elsewhere classified.
(Id. at 525). Dr. Severino's examination found:
“her speech is normal and behavior is normal. Judgment
and thought content normal. Her mood appears anxious. Her
affect is not angry and not labile. She exhibits a depressed
mood. She expresses no suicidal plans. She exhibits normal
recent memory and normal remote memory.”
November 14, 2012, Ms. Petelle protectively filed an
application for disability insurance benefits, claiming a
disability onset date of October 1, 2012. (R. at 24, 170-71).
On September 24, 2014, the ALJ issued a written decision
denying Plaintiff's application for benefits finding that
she was not disabled under the Social Security Act.
(Id. at 24-37). The opinion followed the five-step
sequential evaluation process required by the Social Security
Regulations. 20 CFR § 404.1520. The ALJ initially noted
that Ms. Petelle met the insured status requirements of the
Social Security Act through December 31, 2016. (Id.
at 26). At step one, the ALJ found that Ms. Petelle had not
engaged in substantial gainful activity since the alleged
onset date of October 1, 2012. (Id.) At step two,
the ALJ found that Ms. Petelle had the severe impairments of
degenerative disc disease and gait disorder with
Parkin-sonism. (Id.) The ALJ found that Ms.
Petelle's mental impairment of depression, however, was
“nonsevere.” (Id. at 28). At step three,
the ALJ found that Ms. Petelle did not have an impairment or
combination of impairments that met or medically equaled the
severity of one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR 404,
Subpart P, Appendix 1. (Id. at 29).
step four, the ALJ found that Ms. Petelle has:
the residual functional capacity to perform sedentary work as
defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(a) except the claimant can
frequently crouch; occasionally climb ramps and stairs, stop,
and crawl; and never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. She
can frequently, but not repetitively, finger bilaterally.
(Id. at 29-30). Based on this residual functional
capacity (“RFC”), the ALJ determined at step four
that Ms. Petelle was able to perform her past relevant work
of a nurse case manager. (Id. at 36). Based on this
determination, the ALJ concluded that Ms. Petelle was not
disabled under the Social Security Act. (Id.) The
Social Security Appeals Council subsequently denied
Plaintiff's request for review, and the ALJ's
decision became the final decision of the Commissioner.
(Id. at 1-6). Plaintiff now seeks review in this
Court pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).