United States District Court, D. Rhode Island
RUDY A. YOUNG, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Defendant,
MFMORANDTJM AND ORDER
J. MCCONNELL, JR., United States District Judge.
to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), Rudy Young seeks judicial review
of the final administrative decision of the Commissioner of
Social Security denying his claim for Disability Insurance
Benefits and Supplemental Security Income. (ECF No. 9). Mr.
Young contends that the Commissioner erred as a matter of law
because his decision was not based on substantial evidence.
(ECF No. 9 at 1). Specifically, Mr. Young claims that the
Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") erred in finding
that Mr. Young's cluster headaches did not meet the
durational requirement (based on improper weighing the
examining physician's testimony) and failing to follow
the proper standards for evaluating Mr. Young's
credibility. (ECF No. 9 at 7-9).
Appeals Council upheld the ALJ's decision. Mr. Young
challenged these rulings by the Commissioner by filing this
Young was forty-three years old when his alleged disability
of cluster headaches began and forty-five at the time of the
ALJ's decision. Tr. 11; Tr. 143. He earned a General
Equivalency Degree and last worked as a kitchen helper and
laborer. Tr. 178; 32-33. Mr. Young lives in a shelter and has
two children. Tr. 31. He claims that he became disabled in
November of 2012 due to cluster headaches. Tr. 143. Mr. Young
testified that, because of his headaches that appear out of
nowhere and last about 45 minutes to an hour, he would not be
able to return to his past work. Tr. 35-38. He also testified
that he has two to three headaches per day and never goes a
twenty-four-hour period without a headache. Tr. 40. The
headaches are not predictable and can happen at any time
during the day or night, and he must stop what he is doing
while he is having the headaches because he is bothered by
noise and bright lights. Tr. 38; Tr. 43-44.
terms of daily activities, Mr. Young stated, "I get out
and about but I basically keep it low key because the
headaches will come on at any time." Tr. 41. When he
gets onto a bus, he will sometimes develop a headache because
of the people, the air conditioner, or the heater.
Id., He has had to get off the bus when he has
developed a headache. Tr. 44. Mr. Young testified that he
enjoys walking, playing a little basketball, and reading. Tr.
Young first presented to the Miriam Hospital in May of 2012
with a right ear abscess. Tr. 252. Thereafter, in August of
2012, Mr. Young presented to the emergency room of Rhode
Island Hospital, where the doctor indicated the Mr. Young
likely suffered cluster headaches. Tr. 263.
May of 2013 to January of 2014, Mr, Young received treatment
from the Providence Community Health Center. Tr. 271-97; Tr.
347-63. In May of 2013, Dr. Simon Melnick assessed Mr. Young
with episodic cluster headaches and prescribed Prednisone.
Tr. 291. During follow-up visit in June of 2013, Mr. Young
met with Dr. Daniel Guevara-Pineda, who also assessed Mr.
Young with cluster headaches. Tr. 285.
of 2013, Dr. Guevara-Pineda conducted a physical examination
report of Mr. Young. Tr. 265. The report indicated that Mr.
Young can walk less than two hours, stand less than two
hours, sit for four out of eight hours, reach occasionally,
and bend occasionally. Tr. 267. Additionally, Mr. Young can
lift/carry up to ten pounds occasionally, bend/stoop
occasionally, and can push/pull occasionally. Id. As
for Mr. Young's mental activities, the report indicates
that he is moderately limited in remembering and carrying out
simple instructions, moderately limited in maintaining
attention and concentration in order to carry out tasks,
moderately limited in making work-related decisions, slightly
limited in his ability to interact with coworkers, moderately
limited in his ability to work at a consistent pace without
extraordinary supervisions, and markedly limited in his
ability to respond to change in his work routine or
Guevara-Pineda ordered an MRI of Mr. Young's head in
August of 2013, which revealed a right maxillary sinus mucus
retention cyst but an otherwise normal MRI. Tr. 299. In a
follow-up concerning the MRI results, Dr. Guevara-Pineda
continued to assess Mr. Young with cluster headaches and
prescribe medication for the condition. Tr. 313.
September of 2013, upon referral to a neurology clinic, Mr.
Young met with Dr. Robert Gross, who assessed Mr. Young with
cluster headaches and prescribed treatment following a normal
neurological exam. Tr. 329. Mr. Young presented again to the
Rhode Island Hospital upon complaints of headaches, and Dr.
Otis Warren examined a CT scan of Mr. Young's head. Tr.
337. Following a negative result, which ruled out a mass, Dr.
Warren assessed Mr. Young with cluster headaches and
prescribed treatment. Id.
October of 2013 follow-up visit with Dr. Guevara-Pineda
indicated that Mr. Young had some success with the medication
decreasing the pain. Tr. 313. Mr. Young continued to report
headaches occurring two to three times per a day on the left
side of his head. Tr. 347-48; Tr. 352-53. During follow-ups
in December of 2013 and January of 2014, Dr. Guevara-Pineda
continued treatment of Mr. Young for cluster headaches.
referral from Dr. Guevara-Pineda, Mr. Young began treatment
with Dr. Michele Mellion of the Neurology Foundation in June
of 2014. Tr. 369. Following a general examination and a
neurological examination, Dr. Mellion diagnosed Mr. Young
with episodic cluster headaches and drug-induced headaches.
Tr. 370. She also prescribed new medication to treat Mr.
Young's headaches. Id. During a September of
2014 follow-up, Dr. Mellion noted that Mr. Young's
headaches are at bay but still debilitating. Tr. 366.
physicians discussed Botox treatment. Tr. 37. Other treatments,
such as oxygen therapy were discussed as well. Tr. 38. Mr.
Young had been treated with medications, including Lithium,
Fioricet, Amitriptyline, and Verapamil. Tr. 38-40. The
Vocational Expert ("VE") testified that the
limitations described by Mr. Young would rule ...