United States District Court, D. Utah, Central Division
ANDREW J. IRWIN, Plaintiff,
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
B. Pead United States District Judge.
parties stipulated to this Court's jurisdiction pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. 636(c). (ECF No. 15). Plaintiff, Andrew J.
Irwin, (“Mr. Irwin”) appeals the Commissioner of
Social Security's decision denying his claim for
Disability Insurance Benefits under Title II of the Social
Security Act (the Act), 42 U.S.C.§§401-433, as well
as, Supplemental Security Income, 42 U.S.C.
§§1381-1383f. (ECF No. 3). Having considered the
parties' briefs, the administrative record, the arguments
of counsel, and the relevant law, the Court REVERSES and
REMANDS the Commissioner's decision for further
Irwin filed an application for Disability Insurance Benefits
(“DIB”), as well as, Supplemental Security Income
(“SSI”) on June 24, 2013, alleging disability
beginning September 10, 2012. (Tr. 196-197). Mr. Irwin's
claim was initially denied on September 30, 2013, and upon
reconsideration on February 13, 2014. (Tr. 85, 86, 87, 88).
Thereafter, Mr. Irwin timely requested a hearing before an
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) on February 19,
2014. (Tr. 137-138).
hearing was held on March 20, 2015 before Administrative Law
Judge Norman Bennett. (Tr. 37-58). The ALJ issued a decision
finding Mr. Irwin not disabled on June 9, 2015. (Tr.
139-165). The Appeal Council denied Mr. Irwin's request
for review on September 25, 2015. (Tr. 1-5). Mr. Irwin
brought this action to appeal the Commissioner's decision
pursuant to 24 U.S.C. § 405(g), which provides for
judicial review of the defendant's final decision.
Irwin is disabled due to physical and mental impairments. Mr.
Irwin alleged chronic pain due to osteoarthritis in his back,
hands, and feet. (Tr. 398). Mr. Irwin initially saw Dr. Ryan
Hanson, M.D., who found his pain was “most likely
arthritis.” (Tr. 398). Mr. Irwin first met with Adan
Pearson, PA-C, in 2013. Mr. Pearson who diagnosed Mr. Irwin
with generalized osteoarthritis, bipolar disorder, and COPD.
(Tr. 429-430). In March 2014 Mr. Pearson wrote a letter
explaining that Mr. Irwin had COPD, generalized arthritis,
and bipolar disorder. (Tr. 436). He noted pain was greatest
in the left shoulder and that these conditions limited Mr.
Irwin's ability to work and perform activities of daily
living. (Tr. 436).
April 2014 an MRI showed that Mr. Irwin had a SLAP (superior
labrum, anterior to posterior) tear of the left shoulder.
(Tr. 440). Records from 2015 show that Mr. Irwin had no
insurance and was having difficulty affording treatment. (Tr.
452). Shauna McBride, MMS, PA-C, recommended Mr. Irwin apply
to Medicaid to have his SLAP tear repaired. (Tr. 482). An
exercise tolerance test showed possible myocardial ischemia.
(Tr. 460). In May 2015 he was diagnosed with leukocytosis, a
disorder characterized by a high white blood cell count. (Tr.
496, 499). Also in May 2015 Mr. Irwin began seeing Dr.
William Esplin, who noted positive straight leg raise tests,
bilaterally, and observable osteoarthritic changes in the
hands. (Tr. 498).
regard to his mental impairments, Mr. Irwin was hospitalized
for seven days in April 2009 struggling with suicidal
ideation. (Tr. 279). He was prescribed medication and
therapy. (Tr. 279). His diagnosis was bipolar disorder and
depression. (Tr. 287, 297). Mr. Irwin reported that many of
the medications did not help. (Tr. 309, 311, 312). Mr. Irwin
was again seen for suicidal ideation in January 2010. (Tr.
351). He complained of anxiety. (Tr. 361). In September 2011
Mr. Irwin reported that his medications were making him
sleepy all the time and he had to stop taking them as he
needed to get back to work. (Tr. 373).
August 2013 Mr. Irwin underwent a consultative psychological
exam with Dr. Ryan Houston. (Tr. 420). Dr. Houston diagnosed
bipolar disorder and anxiety disorder. (Tr. 426). He stated
that Mr. Irwin has memory issues likely related to stress.
Id. He noted he had not found any medication that
seemed to work. Id. Dr. Houston stated Mr.
Irwin's impairments would interfere with his ability to
interact with his co-workers and noted his symptoms might
become more severe in a work environment. Id.
March 2015 Mr. Pearson filled out a residual functional
capacity assessment. He noted that Mr. Irwin's
medications cause fatigue and dizziness. (Tr. 454). He opined
that Mr. Irwin's pain would constantly interfere with his
ability to maintain attention and concentration. (Tr. 454).
His stress would frequently interfere with his ability to
maintain concentration and attention. (Tr. 454). He opined
that Mr. Irwin could walk no more than a city block without
pain, would have problems with stooping, crouching, and
bending. (Tr. 455). He opined that Mr. Irwin would need to
lie down or recline throughout the workday due to fatigue and
pain. (Tr. 455). He stated Mr. Irwin would need to lie down
about two hours of an eight hour workday. (Tr. 455). He
stated that Mr. Irwin could sit for about thirty minutes
before he would need to change positions, stand for about
thirty minutes before he needed to change positions and walk
for about twenty minutes. (Tr. 455). Dr. Pearson also noted
that Mr. Irwin would be limited in his abilities to use his
upper extremities. (Tr. 456). Finally he opined Mr. Irwin
would be off task more than 30% of the workday and miss five
or more days of work per month. (Tr. 457).
hearing, Mr. Irwin testified he was fifty years old. (Tr.40).
He is five-foot-seven-inches tall and weighs 190 pounds. (Tr.
40). He completed his GED, but has no other schooling. (Tr.
41). The last time he worked was January 2012 in a training
program at Deseret Industries. (Tr. 41). It was not full time
work. (Tr. 41). Prior to that he worked at Family Dollar
Store but had to stop as he was unable to lift the pallets.
Irwin testified that he started having shortness of breath in
2011. (Tr. 45). He testified that any physical activity makes
it difficult for him to breathe. (Tr. 46). He can walk about
a block before he is out of breath. (Tr. 46). Some chemical