United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Motl, for Plaintiff. 
Bildtsen, Assistant United States Attorney, for Defendant.
FRANKLIN L. NOEL UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Drew Lathon seeks judicial review of the final decision of
the Acting Commissioner ("Commissioner") of the
Social Security Administration ("SSA"), who denied
his application for disability insurance benefits under Title
XVI of the Social Security Act. This Court has jurisdiction
over Plaintiffs claim pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§
405(g) and 1383(c)(3), 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), and Rule 73
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The parties have
submitted cross motions for summary judgement. See
ECF Nos. 33 and 38. For the reasons set forth below, the
Commissioner's decision is AFFIRMED and
the case is DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
December 2, 2013, Lathon filed an application for
supplemental security income ("SSI").
Administrative Record ("AR") 29, 69. Lathon's
initial alleged disability onset date was April 1,
1992.AR 29, 171. Lathon later amended his
disability onset date to September 25, 2014. AR 69.
Lathon's application for SSI was denied initially on
February 28, 2014, and upon reconsideration on October 20,
2014. AR 29, 98, 113. On September 25, 2015, an
administrative hearing was held before Administrative Law
Judge ("ALJ") Jeffrey Hart. AR 29. On September 28,
2016, the SSA Appeals Council denied Lathon's request for
review, rendering the ALJ's decision final for purposes
of judicial review. AR 3-8; see 20 C.F.R. §
404.981. On November 30, 2016, Lathon commenced this civil
action, seeking an award of benefits, or alternatively,
reversal and remand for further proceedings. ECF No.
1 at 2.
STATEMENT OF FACTS
was born on May 14, 1981, and was thirty-three years old on
the amended disability onset date, which is defined as a
younger SSI claimant. AR 171; see 20 C.F.R. §
416.963. Lathon suffers from several severe impairments:
anxiety disorder, asthma, diabetes, and
schizoaffective/affective disorder. AR 31; see 20
§ C.F.R. 416.920(c).
April 21, 2014, Lathon presented to Dr. Carlos Figari, his
primary care physician, for diabetes treatment. AR 47. At
this appointment, Lathon reported being depressed and easily
teary. Id. In addition, Lathon stated that his
depression had been recently exacerbated because he had
witnessed the murder of a family friend. Id. Dr.
Figari did not prescribe any medication for Lathon's
depression; instead he recommended follow-up appointments to
make sure that he would be "safe." Id.
1, 2014, Lathon was assessed by Licensed Social Worker
(hereinafter "LicSW") Elizabeth Shook Peterson. AR
50-51. Ms. Peterson's notes described Lathon as sitting
slumped forward, looking into his lap or in his hands, and
speaking in a soft, monotonous voice. AR 50. Lathon told Ms.
Peterson that he often heard voices and was afraid to sleep
due to the "things that come out of the closet at
October 1, 2014, Lathon attended a follow-up appointment with
Dr. Figari regarding his ongoing diabetes and asthma
treatments. AR 53. Dr. Figari's notes indicate that
Lathon's mental health was concerning. Id.
Lathon also reported hearing voices that told him to do bad
October 6, 2014, Lathon presented to Dr. Donald Wiger for a
psychological consultation. AR 386-90. Dr. Wiger performed
psychometric testing. Id. Dr. Wiger noted that
Lathon had slow movements and struggled to make eye contact.
AR 387. Lathon stated that he often felt anxious in large
crowds, had attempted suicide, and heard voices. AR 387-88.
Dr. Wiger diagnosed Lathon with psychotic disorder, history
of post-traumatic stress disorder ("PTSD"), panic
disorder, and major depressive order. AR 388.
December 15, 2014, Lathon visited LicSW Kathleen Sapp, who
completed a diagnostic assessment. AR 56. Lathon was not
taking psychotropic medication at the time of his
appointment. AR 58. Lathon reported to Ms. Sapp that he
suffered from long-term depression and was prone to hearing
things. AR 56. Additionally, Lathon recounted his
friend's murder, stating that he had also seen other
people shot and killed. Id. Ms. Sapp noted that
Lathon reported and exhibited symptoms of depression,
anhedonia, insomnia, psychomotor retardation, fatigue,
feelings of worthlessness/guilt, difficulty concentrating,
impaired memory, recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal
thoughts with specific plans, paranoid ideation, auditory
hallucinations, disorganized speech, and disorganized
behavior. AR 56-58. Ms. Sapp recommended a psychiatric
consultation and individual therapy for Lathon, and provided
him with information for psychiatric emergency use, and
discussed his unwillingness to use insulin prescribed by his
primary care physician. AR 63.
December 31, 2014, Lathon was examined Dr. Ngozi Wamuo.
Id. Dr. Wamuo noted that Lathon exhibited depressive
and anxiety symptoms, as well as psychotic symptoms of
trauma-related hallucinations, and diagnosed Lathon with
depression and PTSD. Id.; see also AR 462.
At a February 27, 2015, appointment with Dr. Wamuo, Lathon
reported improvement while taking his depression medications,
but continued experiencing nightmares and dissociative
episodes. AR 464. Lathon's subjective level of depression
was listed as severe. AR 465.
May 5, 2015, follow-up appointment with Dr. Wamuo, Lathon
reported that he had been unable to obtain his mental health
medication due to a lack of insurance and financial
resources, and that his depression, anxiety, and PTSD were
worsening. AR 466-68. On April 13, 2015, on a Hennepin County
Human Services Request for Medical Opinion, Dr. Wamuo
diagnosed Lathon with major depression and PTSD, and stated
that Lathon would not be able to perform any employment in
the foreseeable future. AR 473.
18, 2015, Lathon returned to Dr. Wamuo and reported some
symptom improvement. AR 469. Lathon reported that his
auditory hallucinations had subsided, but the visual
hallucinations remained. Id.
Therapy Records Produced after the September 25,
request of the ALJ, Lathon produced medical records after the
September 25, 2015, hearing. On July 1, 2015, Lathon visited
Ms. Sapp for individual therapy. AR 475. Lathon reported he
had been using his medications when they were available to
him through insurance, that his sleep had improved, but he
still continued to experience visual and auditory
hallucinations. Id. On July 13, 2015, and July 22,
2015, Lathon visited Ms. Sapp and he discussed the traumatic
events he had experienced in his past. AR 476-79.
August 3, 2015, and September 15, 2015, Lathon returned to
Ms. Sapp for four subsequent evaluations. AR 479, 481-83.
During these treatments, Ms. Sapp noted slight fluctuations
in Lathon's mental state, and issued a Medical Source
Statement opining that Lathon suffered from marked
limitations in understanding and remembering short, simple
instructions; understanding and remembering detailed
instructions; carrying out detailed instructions; and the
ability to make judgments in simple work-related decisions.
AR 490-92. Ms. Sapp found Lathon to be moderately limited in
his ability to carry out short, simple instructions, and
extremely limited in his ability to respond appropriately to
work pressures in a usual work ...