United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Northern Division
NELLIE A. BALDRIDGE-MAYER PLAINTIFF
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration DEFENDANT
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Nellie A. Baldridge-Mayer (âBaldridge-Mayerâ) began this case
by filing a complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 405(g). In the
complaint, she challenged the June 29, 2018, final decision
of the Acting Commissioner of the Social Security
Administration (âCommissionerâ), a decision based upon the
February 26, 2018, findings of an Administrative Law Judge
maintains that the ALJ's findings are not supported by
substantial evidence on the record as a whole. Baldridge-Mayer
so maintains for three reasons. Baldridge-Mayer maintains,
inter alia, that the ALJ erred when he failed to
give controlling weight to the medical opinions of her
treating physician. Because it is not clear how the ALJ could
weigh the opinions as he did, a remand to more fully develop
the record is necessary.
alleged in her application for disability insurance benefits
that she became disabled beginning on April 1, 2012. She
alleged that she became disabled, in part, because of
record contains several hundred pages of evidence that touch
in some way on Baldridge-Mayer's impairments and the
extent to which they impact her residual functional capacity.
She summarized the relevant evidence in her brief, and the
Court accepts the summary as a fair summation of the
evidence. The summary will not be reproduced in full, except
to note several matters germane to the issues raised in the
issue in this case centers upon Baldridge-Mayer's
migraine headaches and the extent to which they impact her
residual functional capacity. She has complained of them for
years and sought repeated medical attention for them. For
instance, Baldridge-Mayer saw Dr. William Waldrip, M.D.,
(“Waldrip”) on April 5, 2012, or four days after
the alleged onset date, for complaints of blurred vision.
See Transcript at 715-717. She reported a long
history of headaches. She was taking Zomig for her headaches
and doing so approximately fourteen times a month. She was
instructed to take it no more than four times a month. He
ordered an MRI of Baldridge-Mayer's brain, the results of
which were unremarkable. See Transcript at 724.
saw Baldridge-Mayer again on April 12, 2012. See
Transcript at 712-713. They discussed the possibility that
her blurred vision was a manifestation of her migraine
headaches, but no conclusion was reached. She was continued
saw Baldridge-Mayer next on April 18, 2012. In recording her
history of present illness, he noted the following:
... She tells me she is having about 10-15 headaches a month.
These are the same type of headache she has always had,
accompanied by nausea (and sometimes vomiting), photophobia
and phonophobia. No. other neurological symptoms are
reported. She has been tried on numerous prophylactic
medications in the past without success, including Topamax.
She doesn't remember having tried Depakote, however. ...
See Transcript at 709. He prescribed Depakote for
her migraine headaches.
April 23, 2012, Baldridge-Mayer established care with Dr.
Tommy Taylor, M.D., (“Taylor”). See
Transcript at 733-735. Although Baldridge-Mayer sought care
primarily for blurred vision, she reported that she continued
to have migraine headaches. A physical examination was
unremarkable, and he continued her on Zomig.
18, 2013, Dr. Ralph Mann, M.D., (“Mann”)
performed a consultative physical examination of
Baldridge-Mayer. See Transcript at 767-772. She
reported having migraine headaches fifteen to twenty times a
month. He diagnosed headaches but made no findings with
respect to the work-related limitations they cause. He simply
assessed a moderate limitation in carrying, fingering, and
August 29, 2013, Baldridge-Mayer saw Dr. Beata Majewski,
M.D., (“Majewski”). See Transcript at
784-794. Baldridge-Mayer's history of migraine headaches
were noted. As a part of Majewski's notes, he opined the
following: “[Baldridge-Mayer] has a cluster of
depression, migraine headaches, and sleeplessness and
unfortunately is intolerant to medications. ...”
See Transcript at 786.
September 9, 2013, Baldridge-Mayer was seen by Dr. Garrett
Sanford, M.D., (“Sanford”). See
Transcript at 802-804. Sanford noted that Baldridge-Mayer had
kept a daily log of her symptoms and recorded sixteen
migraine headaches in August of 2013. He diagnosed, inter
alia, migraine headaches.
October 1, 2013, Baldridge-Mayer saw Dr. Thomas Kovaleski,
M.D., (“Kovaleski”). See Transcript at
784-794. Baldridge-Mayer reported having approximately twenty
migraine headaches a month. Kovaleski made no significant
findings but did note that Baldridge-Mayer had multiple drug
saw Kovaleski again on November 5, 2013. See
Transcript at 818-819. Baldridge-Mayer continued to complain
of migraine headaches and medication difficulties. Kovaleski
observed that Baldridge-Mayer is “going to be a very
difficult lady to have any significant impact.”
See Transcript at 818.
6, 2015, Taylor signed a To Whom It May Concern letter on
behalf of Baldridge-Mayer. See Transcript at 844. In
the letter, Taylor represented that Baldrige-Mayer suffers
from debilitating migraines that occur up to twenty times a
month. It was his opinion that she also had a “low
tolerance for medication.” See Transcript at
appears to have seen Taylor on three occasions between May 6,
2015, and November 10, 2015. See Transcript at
859-860 (05/06/2015), 860-862 (10/28/2015), 862-863
(11/10/2015). Baldridge-Mayer continued to complain of
migraine headaches, which she reported having in excess of
twenty times a ...