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Schane v. Colvin

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division

March 13, 2014

CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.


PAUL R. CHERRY, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on a Complaint [DE 1], filed by Douglas B. Schane on July 29, 2012, and a Plaintiff's Brief in Support of Reversal of Commissioner's Final Decision [DE 17], filed on November 30, 2012. Mr. Schane requests that the February 9, 2011 decision of the Administrative Law Judge denying his claims for disability insurance benefits ("DIB") be reversed for an entry of an award of benefits or remanded for further proceedings. On February 5, 2013, the Commissioner filed a response, and Mr. Schane filed a reply on February 19, 2013. For the following reasons, the Court grants Mr. Schane's request for remand for further proceedings.


On June 5, 2009, Mr. Schane filed an application for DIB, alleging an onset date of November 30, 2008. The application was denied initially on September 21, 2009, and upon reconsideration on December 29, 2009. Mr. Schane timely requested a hearing, which was held on January 26, 2011, before Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") Roxanne J. Kelsey. In appearance were Mr. Schane, his attorney Thomas J. Scully III, vocational expert ("VE") Susan A. Entenberg, and Mr. Schane's wife Karen Schane. The ALJ issued a written decision denying benefits on February 9, 2011, making the following findings:

1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through June 30, 2014.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since November 30, 2008, the alleged onset date (20 CFR § 404.1571 et seq. ).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: bipolar disorder, hepatitis C, obesity, porphyria cutanea tarda, back impairment, obesity and mild chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (20 CFR § 404.1520(c)). Knee impairment, left shoulder pain, and diverticulitis are not severe impairments within the meaning of the Social Security Act.
4. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR §§ 404.1520(d), 404.1525, 404.1526).
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, I find that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform medium work as defined in 20 CFR § 404.1567(c). He cannot have concentrated exposure to fumes, gases, odors, or other respiratory irritants. He cannot be required to work outside for more than two hours in an 8-hour workday. He should not be required to drive as part of the job. He is limited to no more than occasional contact with supervisors, no collaborative contact with co-workers, and no required interaction with the public. The claimant cannot perform detailed or complex work.
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work (20 CFR § 404.1565).
7. The claimant was born [in 1963] and was 45 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the alleged disability onset date (20 CFR § 404.1563).
8. The claimant has at least a high school education and is able to communicate in English (20 CFR § 404.1564).
9. Transferability of job skills is not material to the determination of disability because using the Medical-Vocational Rules as a framework supports a finding that the claimant is "not disabled, " whether or not the claimant has transferable job skills (See SSR 82-41 and 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 2).
10. Considering the claimant's age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity, there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that the claimant can perform (20 CFR §§ 404.1569 and 404.1569(a)).
10. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from November 30, 2008, through the date of this decision (20 CFR 404.1520(g)).

(AR 12-20).

On May 2, 2012, the Appeals Council denied Mr. Schane's request for review, leaving the ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.981. On July 29, 2012, Mr. Schane filed this civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3) for review of the Commissioenr's decision.

The parties filed forms of consent to have this case assigned to a United States Magistrate Judge to conduct all further proceedings and to order the entry of a final judgment in this case. Therefore, this Court has jurisdiction to decide ...

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