United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division
PATRICIA B. WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
CAROLYN COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant
Decided February 15, 2014.
For Patricia B. Williams, Plaintiff: Charlotte Williams Hall, LEAD ATTORNEY, Charles T. Hall Law Firm, Raleigh, NC.
For Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant: Cassia W. Parson, LEAD ATTORNEY, Leo R. Montenegro, Social Security Administration, Baltimore, MD.
TERRENCE W. BOYLE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
This matter is before the Court on the parties' cross-motions for judgment on the pleadings. [DE 18 & 24]. A hearing on this matter was held in Raleigh, North Carolina on January 30, 2014 at 2:45 p.m. For the reasons discussed below, plaintiff's motion is GRANTED, defendant's motion is DENIED, and, accordingly, the judgment of the Commissioner is REVERSED.
Ms. Williams applied for Title II disability insurance benefits and Title XVI supplemental security income on January 25, 2005 alleging an onset date of March 10, 2003. Her claims were denied initially and upon reconsideration. She appeared with counsel for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (" ALJ" ) on January 19, 2006. The ALJ issued a decision finding plaintiff not disabled on December 19, 2007. The Appeals Council remanded the case on July 1, 2008 and, following a hearing, the ALJ issued another decision denying benefits on October 23, 2008. On June 23, 2011, the Appeals Council remanded the case a second time. Following a hearing, a new ALJ issued a decision finding plaintiff not disabled at step five on August 7, 2012. The Appeals Council denied review on December 20, 2012, rendering the ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner. Plaintiff then commenced this action and filed a complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
Ms. Williams has a history of treatment and injections for right knee pain. [Tr. 166-67]. In March 2003, plaintiff was advised to obtain a total right knee replacement. [Tr. 29, 162]. Dr. Appert opined that plaintiff could no longer work and plaintiff's employer would not let her work because she could not carry the load. [ Id. ]. The following month, Dr. Barsanti performed a right knee arthroscopy and partial meniscectomy. [Tr. 29, 246-49]. The surgery seemed to work initially, but in December 2003, plaintiff continued to complaint of right knee problems. [Tr. 229-30]. A right knee MRI revealed significant pathology and a total knee replacement (" TKR" ) was recommended. [Tr. 250-51, 332].
On March 4, 2004, plaintiff underwent right TKR followed bye a course of physical therapy. [Tr. 254-55, 258-60, 272-339]. For the rest of 2004, plaintiff had follow-up exams where no problems were noted and
the knee was assessed as doing pretty well by Dr. Barsanti. [Tr. ...