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Miller v. Colvin

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division

February 4, 2014

CATHY S. MILLER, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, ACTING COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant

For Cathy S Miller, Plaintiff: Norman L Reed, The Law Office of Norman Reed, Indianapolis, IN.

For Commissioner of Social Security, Sued as Michael Astrue, Defendant: Adam R Sorkin, LEAD ATTORNEY, Social Security Administration - Chi/IL, Office of Regional Counsel, Chicago, IL; Clifford D Johnson - AUSA, U.S. Attorney's Office - SB/IN, South Bend, IN; Thomas E Kieper, U.S. Attorney's Office - Ind/IN, Indianapolis, IN.

For SSA (Court Use Only), Miscellaneous Party, Pro se.

OPINION

RUDY LOZANO, United States District Judge.

Page 909

OPINION AND ORDER

This matter is before the Court for review of the Commissioner of Social Security's decision denying Disability Insurance Benefits (" DIB" ) to Plaintiff, Cathy S. Miller. For the reasons set forth below, the Commissioner of Social Security's final decision is REVERSED and this case is REMANDED for proceedings consistent with this opinion pursuant to sentence four of 42 U.S.C. section 405(g).

BACKGROUND

On August 21, 2009, Plaintiff, Cathy S. Miller (" claimant" ), applied for Social Security Disability Benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 401 et seq. The claimant's alleged onset of her disability was on July 10, 2009. The Social Security Administration denied the claimant's initial application, and also denied her claim on reconsideration. On April 18, 2011, the claimant appeared with counsel at an administrative hearing before Administrative Law Judge (" ALJ" ) Warnecke Miller in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The claimant testified at the hearing, as did Sharon D. Ringenberg, a vocational expert (" VE" ). On May 27, 2011, ALJ Miller issued a decision finding the claimant not disabled.

The claimant requested that the Appeals Council review the ALJ's decision, and this request was denied. As a result of the denial, ALJ Miller's decision became the Commissioner's final decision. See 20 C.F.R. § 422.210(a). The claimant has initiated the instant action for judicial review of the Commissioner's final decision pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

DISCUSSION

The claimant was born on June 11, 1974, and was 35 years old on the alleged disability onset date and 38 at the time of the ALJ's decision. (Tr. 162). The claimant has a high school diploma and approximately a semester worth of college credits. (Tr. 45). The claimant is single and has three children. (Tr. 53-54). Her past relevant work includes work as an automobile assembler, sewing machine operator, and dispatcher. The claimant's last job was as a sewing machine operator. Id. The claimant alleges the following impairments: fibromyalgia, asthma, and depression.

The medical evidence can be summarized as follows:

The claimant saw her primary care physician, Dr. Elizabeth Gingrich, M.D., in February of 2008, for fibromyalgia, asthma, and depression. At an exam in July of 2009, Dr. Gingrich noted that The claimant had " trigger point tenderness which is quite marked in hip and shoulder girdle region." (Tr. 261). In December of 2010, after conducting a physical examination, Dr. Gingrich found that the claimant stood and moved stiffly, but could bend to 90 degrees. (Tr. 372-373). Dr. Gingrich diagnosed the claimant with fibromyalgia, joint pain, and depression. (Tr. 373).

Dr. Bruce Lockwitz, M.D., performed a rheumatology evaluation on the claimant and found her symptoms to be most consistent with Dr. Gingrich's diagnosis of fibromyalgia. (Tr. 296). Dr. Lockwitz reviewed X-rays of the claimant's feet, knees, and hands, which he found to be unremarkable. (Tr. 303). He later ordered X-rays of her knees, pelvis, hips, and lumbar spine, which were also normal. (Tr. 350). Dr. Lockwitz referred the claimant to Dr. Gene Grove, M.D. for pain ...


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