United States District Court, D. Hawaii
DIANE M. KENNEDY, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
ORDER REVERSING THE DECISION OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY
ADMINISTRATION COMMISSIONER AND REMANDING THE CASE FOR
Gillmor United States District Judge.
case involves the appeal of the Social Security
Administration Commissioner's denial of Disability
Insurance Benefits to Plaintiff Diane M. Kennedy.
September 3, 2013, Plaintiff filed an application for
Disability Insurance Benefits pursuant to Title II of the
Social Security Act. Plaintiff claims she has been disabled
and unable to work since September 18, 2013, due to anxiety
and severe depression with suicidal ideation.
Social Security Administration denied her initial
application. Following an administrative hearing, the
Administrative Law Judge held that Plaintiff is not disabled
and found that Plaintiff is able to perform work in the
appeal, Plaintiff argues that the Administrative Law Judge
erred and requests a remand to the agency.
Court REVERSES the decision of the Social
Security Administration Commissioner and
REMANDS the case for further evaluation.
is necessary to allow the Administrative Law Judge to address
the opinions of Psychologist Dennis Perez and Nurse
Practitioner Karen Sheppard.
September 3, 2013, Plaintiff Diane M. Kennedy filed an
application for Disability Insurance Benefits with the Social
Security Administration. (Administrative Record
(“AR”) at 19, 158-59, ECF No. 10).
February 18, 2014, the Social Security Administration denied
Plaintiff's initial application. (AR at pp. 76-84).
13, 2014, the Administration denied her request for
reconsideration. (AR at pp. 85-96).
the denial of Plaintiff's request for reconsideration,
she sought a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”). (AR at p. 110).
August 11, 2015, an ALJ conducted a hearing on
Plaintiff's application. (AR at pp. 33-75).
October 13, 2015, the ALJ issued a written decision denying
Plaintiff's application. (AR at pp. 16-32).
sought review by the Appeals Council for the Social Security
Administration. The Appeals Council denied further review of
Plaintiff's application on November 30, 2016, rendering
the ALJ's decision as the final administrative decision
by the Commissioner of Social Security. (AR at pp. 1-6).
January 27, 2017, Plaintiff sought judicial review of the
Commissioner of Social Security's final decision to deny
her application for Disability Benefits in this Court
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). (Complaint for Review of
Social Security Disability Insurance Determination, ECF No.
March 28, 2017, the Magistrate Judge issued a briefing
schedule. (ECF No. 12).
23, 2017, Plaintiff filed PLAINTIFF'S OPENING BRIEF. (ECF
22, 2017, the Defendant filed DEFENDANT'S ANSWERING
BRIEF. (ECF No. 14).
14, 2017, Plaintiff filed PLAINTIFF'S REPLY BRIEF. (ECF
August 31, 2017, the Court held a hearing on Plaintiff's
appeal of the decision of the Social Security Administration
Commissioner. (ECF No. 17).
September 7, 2017, Plaintiff filed PLAINTIFF'S
POST-HEARING BRIEF. (ECF No. 18).
September 11, 2017, Defendant filed DEFENDANT'S
SUPPLEMENTAL BRIEF. (ECF No. 19).
is a 64 year-old female. (Administrative Record
(“AR”) at p. 77, ECF No. 10). Plaintiff claims
she has suffered from depression for about 40 years.
(Id. at p. 183).
served in the United States Air Force from November 19, 1971
to May 18, 1973. (Id. at pp. 46, 184). Plaintiff
worked waiting tables for a number of years after leaving the
Air Force, and she later worked as a receptionist and in real
estate. (Id. at p. 1468).
2000, Plaintiff received a Master's Degree in
Transpersonal Counseling Psychology from Naropa University.
(Id. at pp. 46, 1468). From 2000 to 2008, Plaintiff
served as a substance abuse counselor in Colorado.
(Id. at pp. 48, 176). In late 2008, Plaintiff moved
to Hawaii. (Id. at pp. 48, 183).
in January 2009, Plaintiff worked as a drug and alcohol
counselor on the island of Kauai. (Id. at p. 49). In
November 2011, Plaintiff began working only four days per
week due to depression and anxiety. (Id. at p. 183).
August 2012 to February 2013, Plaintiff took a leave of
absence from her job and went to an in-patient residential
treatment center in California to treat her severe
depression. (Id. at pp. 50, 52, 183, 291).
returning to Kauai, in September 2013, Plaintiff resigned
from her position. (Id. at pp. 51, 55-56).
Social Security Administration's Review of
Plaintiff's September 2013 Application For Disability
September 3, 2013 application for Social Security
Administration Disability Insurance Benefits was initially
denied on February 8, 2014. (Id. at pp. 19, 76).
the initial denial, Plaintiff moved for reconsideration.
(Id. at pp. 106). On June 13, 2014, the Social
Security Administration denied Plaintiff's motion for
reconsideration. (Id. at pp. 85-96). On July 2,
2014, Plaintiff requested a hearing before an Administrative
Law Judge (“ALJ”). (Id. at pp. 111-12).
August 11, 2015, a hearing on Plaintiff's application for
Social Security Administration Disability Benefits was held
before an ALJ. (Id. at pp. 33-75). The ALJ denied
Plaintiff's application for Disability Insurance
Benefits. (Id. at p. 19-28).
claimed that she was disabled for a continuous period
following September 18, 2013, due to a major depressive
disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder with suicidal
ideation, and a ...