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 the Social Security
Administration (the “Commissioner”) denying
Plaintiff Patricia Hadac's (“Plaintiff”)
claim for Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”)
under Title II of the Social Security Act (the
“Act”). 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. 8] is
granted and the Commissioner's cross-motion for summary
judgment [Doc. No. 15] is denied.
filed an application for DIB on November 19, 2013, alleging a
disability onset date of August 12, 2013. (R. 22.) Her
initial application was denied on July 18, 2014, and again at
the reconsideration stage on May 15, 2015. (R. 123, 138.)
Plaintiff then requested a hearing before an Administrative
Law Judge (“ALJ”), which was held on February 3,
2016. (R. 38-110.) Plaintiff appeared at the hearing,
represented by counsel and offered testimony. (Id.)
A vocational expert and medical expert also appeared and
offered testimony. (Id.) On February 24, 2016, the
ALJ issued an unfavorable written decision, finding Plaintiff
is not disabled. (R. 19- 37.) The Appeals Council
(“AC”) denied review on March 23, 2016, 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); Herron
v. Shalala, 19 F.3d 329, 332 (7th Cir. 1994); (R. 1-6).
was born on February 16, 1951 and was sixty-two at the time
of her alleged onset date. (R. 124.) She completed high
school in 1968 and had worked at McDonald's Corporation
as a service center representative since 1999. (R. 223-24,
238.) On August 1, 2000, Plaintiff was diagnosed with
fibromyalgia, but she continued to work until August of
2013, at which time she went on short-term
medical leave. (R. 381, 395.) Her short-term disability
subsequently ended in January of 2014. (R. 381.)
November 2013, at which time Plaintiff was already on
short-term disability from work, she presented to Dr. Edward
Sankary, M.D., due to tremors, pain, and
fibromyalgia. (R. 351.) In part, she and Dr. Sankary
discussed the possibility of going on full-time disability.
(Id.) Plaintiff explained that she felt that her
symptoms had improved during her short-term disability and
would resume if she were to begin working again. (R. 352.)
returned to Dr. Sankary the next month, in December 2013,
where she reported that she was doing “terrible”
due to body pain, anxiety, tremors in her arms and legs,
“fibro-fog”,  and “fibro-zombiism”. (R.
347.) Dr. Sankary diagnosed her with, inter alia,
fibromyalgia, anxiety and depression, mixed disorders as a
reaction to work-related stress, and panic attacks.
(Id.) Later that same month, Dr. Sankary referred
Plaintiff to a psychiatrist to evaluate her symptoms of
anxiety and possible depression. (R. 364.)
upon Dr. Sankary's referral, Plaintiff began treatment
with Dr. Frank DeLaurentis, Psy.D., in late December 2013.
(R. 370). Upon examination, Dr. DeLaurentis diagnosed
Plaintiff with an unspecified anxiety state. (R. 371.)
Further down in his notes, he explained that her symptoms of
anxiety were “mostly in the context of work.” (R.
returned to Dr. Sankary in early 2014, where she expressed
that she was concerned about her disability and the
possibility that she may have to return to work. (R. 354-56.)
Dr. Sankary discussed Plaintiff's fibromyalgia
extensively with her before noting that he was following it
through her psychiatry treatment. (R. 356.)
January 2014, Dr. DeLaurentis expressed that Plaintiff did
not have any evidence of clinical depression, but explained
that returning to work would likely result in a relapse of
her anxiety and significant impairments in her functioning.
(R. 370.) Although Plaintiff returned to Dr. DeLaurentis in
February 2014, it was not until March 2014, that he confirmed
she had depressed mood and constricted affect. (R. 366.) At
the same examination, Dr. DeLaurentis found that Plaintiff
had no notable difficulties in memory or attention.
(Id.) Dr. DeLaurentis opined that Plaintiff would be
unable to return to her current work on a full-time basis,
particularly because her anxiety and depression would likely
increase under the day-to-day demands and work stressors.
(Id.) Plaintiff continued treatment with Dr.
DeLaurentis until at least June 2014, at which time he opined
that Plaintiff had not have any significant changes since
March 2014. (R. 844.) In fact, his June 2014 examination
revealed that Plaintiff's mood was slightly depressed and
anxious, but she showed no difficulties in memory or
attention. (R. 845.)
September 2014, Dr. Sankary completed a Fibromyalgia Residual
Functional Capacity Questionnaire. (R. 391-93.) First, he
confirmed that she met the American College of Rheumatology
criteria for fibromyalgia, and noted that she also suffered
from depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. (Id.)
In the report, he opined that Plaintiff would frequently be
absent from work due to her impairments, could only
occasionally sustain the attention and concentration need to
perform simple work tasks, and would be incapable of even
low-stress jobs. (Id.).
addition to the foregoing, Plaintiff's record contains
several opinions from non-examination state agency
consultants, including Dr. R. Leon Jackson, Ph.D. (R.
118-20.) Dr. Jackson opined Plaintiff would be moderately
limited in her ability to maintain attention and
concentration for extended periods, perform activities within
a schedule, maintain regular attendance, and be punctual
within customary tolerances; complete a normal workday and
workweek without interruptions from psychologically based
symptoms and perform at a consistent pace without an
unreasonable number and length of rest periods; and respond
to changes in the workplace setting. (R. 118-19.)
was present at her administrative hearing in February 2016
and offered testimony. In addition to detailing her pain
symptoms and medical history, Plaintiff ...