United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Cedar Rapids Division
PAUL V. MANGANO, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
K.E. Mahoney United States Magistrate Judge.
Paul Mangano seeks judicial review of a final decision of the
Commissioner of Social Security (the Commissioner) denying
his application for disability insurance (DI) benefits under
Title II of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §§
401-434. Mangano argues that the administrative law judge
(ALJ), Linda Marshall, erred in assigning weight to the
medical opinions and that her resulting determination of his
mental residual functional capacity (RFC) is not supported by
substantial evidence. Mangano also argues that the ALJ's
RFC assessment does not include limitations reflecting her
finding during step three of the disability determination
that Mangano suffers moderate restrictions in concentration,
persistence, or pace. I affirm the
filed an application for DI benefits on September 13, 2013,
alleging disability beginning on May 1, 2013. AR 8. Prior to
May 2013, Mangano had worked as a police detective, but he
lost his job due to performance problems and his alcoholism.
AR 13, 34, 498, 860. He alleged disability based on
depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety,
alcoholism, diabetes, high blood pressure, head injury, and
“back injuries with leg issues.” AR 10, 58.
was referred for a consultative examination with Dr. Richard
Frederick, a psychologist. AR 62, 630. After examining
Mangano on January 11, 2014, Dr.
issued an opinion evaluating Mangano's mental RFC,
The claimant appears to be able to understand, remember, and
carry out complex instructions.
The claimant appears able to concentrate, persist, and keep
pace on complex tasks.
The claimant appears to have intact capacity to interact
effectively in complex work situations.
The claimant appears to have intact capacity to adapt to
changes in complex work situations.
The claimant is able to manage his own funds.
AR 630-33. Dr. Frederick found that Mangano suffered from
chronic alcoholism and mild depressive disorder. AR 632.
thereafter, on January 16, 2014, Dr. Keith Allen, a state
agency psychological consultant, opined that Mangano suffered
from no severe mental impairments, and Mangano's
application for DI benefits was denied. AR 63, 65, 69.
Mangano requested a hearing before an ALJ. AR 77. He
submitted additional RFC opinions as evidence, two from
psychologist Dr. Jerry Morris and one from therapist Shannon
Hiser, both of whom practiced at Community Mental Health
Consultants (CMHC), where Mangano received regular treatment
beginning in January 2014 (he received treatment from CMHC
sporadically prior to January 2014, including in November
2012 and September 2013). AR 421-26, 473-551, 639, 775-873,
968-1017, 1019-22. Dr. Morris conducted several psychological
tests on July 11, 2013, and concluded:
This patient is functioning as a child developmental level
with a severe mood disorder resulting in failure in most
adult roles, insecurity, paranoia, and resentment and global
negativity. He has low frustration tolerance, is brooding,
and has low stress tolerance. Consequently, he will regress
rapidly under slight pressure, and he will display distortive
thinking, paranoiac and insecurity in the extreme and
persecutory delusions and blaming others for these problems.
He is overwhelmed by life [and] occupational demands . . .
. At times he becomes seriously suicidal and he has
significant suicide potential. . . . He also is medication
and treatment noncompliant often inconsistent basis and has
abused his pain medicine and [his] sedative hypnotic
medication. He is likely to continue to do so in the future
unless treated in highly structured settings.
This patient will not likely fulfill adult roles such as, and
employee for, or function well in social settings and
relationships without significant years of psychotherapy and
growth. He will be indecisive, isolated, [and] hyper
irritable . . . .
AR 425. Ms. Hiser's February 13, 2014 opinion
regurgitated these findings, explicitly referring to Dr.
Morris' July 11, 2013 evaluation. AR 639. Dr. Morris'
second RFC opinion, completed on February 20, 2015, opined
that Mangano suffered from extreme limitations in social
functioning and maintaining concentration, persistence, or
pace; that he would suffer from repeated episodes of
decompensation in work-like settings; that he would
frequently (1/3 to 2/3 of an eight-hour day) be unable to
maintain the attention and concentration necessary to perform
simple work tasks; and that he would miss more than four days
of work a month. AR 1020-21. He further stated that ...