United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
MONICA GORDON ex rel. A.N.G., a minor, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant. 
MEMORANDUM OPINION GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S
ALTERNATIVE MOTION FOR REMAND
M. DiGirolamo United States Magistrate Judge.
Monica Gordon on behalf of her minor daughter
(“A.N.G.”) seeks judicial review under 42 U.S.C.
§§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3) of a final decision of the
Commissioner of Social Security (“Defendant” or
the “Commissioner”) denying her application for
Supplemental Security Income under Title XVI of the Social
Security Act. Before the Court are Plaintiff's Motion for
Summary Judgment and alternative motion for remand (ECF No.
15) and Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No.
Plaintiff contends that the administrative record does not
contain substantial evidence to support the
Commissioner's decision that A.N.G. is not disabled. No
hearing is necessary. L.R. 105.6. For the reasons that
follow, Plaintiff's alternative motion for remand (ECF
No. 15) is GRANTED.
December 3, 2016, Plaintiff filed a complaint in this Court
seeking review of the Commissioner's decision. Upon the
parties' consent, this case was transferred to a United
States Magistrate Judge for final disposition and entry of
judgment. The case subsequently was reassigned to the
undersigned. The parties have briefed the issues, and the
matter is now fully submitted.
of ALJ's Decision
23, 2015, the ALJ found that A.N.G. (1) had not engaged in
substantial gainful activity since the application date of
October 15, 2012; and (2) had the severe impairments of ADHD
predominately hyperactive-impulsive type, oppositional
defiance disorder, ADD of childhood with hyperactivity, mood
disorder not otherwise specified, and adjustment disorder;
but (3) did not have an impairment or a combination of
impairments meeting, medically equaling, or functionally
equaling one of the impairments set forth in 20 C.F.R. pt.
404, subpt. P, app. 1. R. at 20-31. The ALJ found that
A.N.G.'s impairments did not functionally equal a listed
impairment because she did not have an impairment or
combination of impairments that resulted in either
“marked” limitations in two out of six domains of
functioning or “extreme” limitation in one domain
of functioning. R. at 20-31. Rather, the ALJ found that she
had less than marked limitations in acquiring and using
information, in attending and completing tasks, and in the
ability to care for herself; a marked limitation in
interacting and relating with others; and no limitations in
moving about and manipulating objects and in health and
physical well-being. R. at 23-31. The ALJ accordingly found
that A.N.G. was not disabled since October 15, 2012. R. at
31. In so finding, the ALJ gave “great weight” to
the opinions of the state agency medical consultants that
A.N.G. had less than marked limitation in attending and
completing tasks because their opinions were supported by the
school records, psychiatric treatment notes, and A.N.G.'s
mother. R. at 25. The ALJ found:
[A.N.G.] has shown some positive improvement with medication,
with more stable moods and adaptive functioning and increased
concentration. In particular, in February 2013, her treatment
note states, she responded “very well to the
medication, ” but her appetite varies. Despite her
improvement, she still attends special education for
emotional support and has symptoms of impulsivity, a short
attention span, and gets bored easily.
R. at 26 (citations omitted).
Determinations and Burden of Proof
individual under the age of 18 shall be considered disabled
“if that individual has a medically determinable
physical or mental impairment, which results in marked and
severe functional limitations, and which can be expected to
result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to
last for a continuous period of not less than 12
months.” 42 U.S.C. § 1382c(a)(3)(C)(i);
see 20 C.F.R. § 416.906. To determine whether a
child has a disability within the meaning of the Social
Security Act, the Commissioner follows a three-step
sequential evaluation process. 20 C.F.R. §§
416.924, 416.926a. The first step is a determination whether
the child is engaged in substantial gainful activity.
Id. § 416.924(b). If so, benefits are denied;
if not, the evaluation continues to the next step. The second
step involves a determination whether a claimant's
impairment or combination of impairments is severe, i.e.,
more than a slight abnormality that causes no more than
minimal functional limitations. Id. §
416.924(c). If not, benefits are denied; if so, the
evaluation continues. The third step involves a determination
whether the child has an impairment or impairments that meet,
medically equal, or functionally equal in severity a listed
impairment. Id. § 416.924(d). If so, and if the
duration requirement is met, benefits are awarded; if not,
benefits are denied.
child's functioning is determined by looking at six broad
areas, or ‘domains, ' in an attempt to evaluate
‘all of what a child can or cannot do.'”
Woodhouse ex rel. Taylor v. Astrue, 696 F.Supp.2d
521, 527 (D. Md. 2010) (quoting 20 C.F.R. §
416.926a(b)(1)). In the domain of “acquiring and using
information, ” the Commissioner considers how well a
child acquires or learns information, and how well the child
uses the learned information. 20 C.F.R. § 416.926a(g).
In the domain of “attending and completing tasks,
” the Commissioner considers how well a child is able
to focus and maintain attention and how well the child
begins, carries through, and finishes activities.
Id. § 416.926a(h). In the domain of
“interacting and relating with others, ” the
Commissioner considers how well a child initiates and
sustains emotional connections with others, develops and uses
the language of the child's community, cooperates with
others, complies with rules, responds to criticism, and
respects and takes care of others' possessions.
Id. § 416.926a(i). In the domain of
“moving about and manipulating objects, ”
relating to a child's gross and fine motor skills, the
Commissioner considers how the child moves his or her body
from one place to another and how the child moves and
manipulates things. Id. § 416.926a(j). In the
domain of “caring for yourself, ...