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Stevens v. Colvin

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

November 5, 2014

WARREN L. STEVENS, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security, Defendant.

ENTRY ON JUDICIAL REVIEW

WILLIAM T. LAWRENCE, District Judge.

Plaintiff Warren L. Stevens requests judicial review of the final decision of the Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (the "Commissioner"), denying his application for Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB") and Supplemental Social Security Income ("SSI") under Titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act (the "Act"). The Court now rules as follows.

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Stevens filed his applications for DIB and SSI on April 29, 2011, alleging disability beginning November 21, 2009. Stevens' applications were initially denied on June 1, 2011, and again upon reconsideration on June 30, 2011. Thereafter, Stevens requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"). The hearing was held on August 24, 2011, via video conference before ALJ Hortensia Haaversen. Stevens and his counsel appeared in Indianapolis, Indiana, and the ALJ presided over the hearing from Falls Church, Virginia. During the hearing, Dian L. Haller also testified as a vocational expert. On September 26, 2012, the ALJ issued a decision denying Stevens' applications for benefits. The Appeals Council upheld the ALJ's decision and denied a request for review on September 26, 2013. This action for judicial review ensued.

II. EVIDENCE OF RECORD

The medical evidence of record in this case is sparse.

In 2003, Stevens was diagnosed with Hepatitis C. Since then, however, he has not received any treatment for the disease, as it has been asymptomatic. Although, at the hearing, Stevens claimed that the disease was "eating his liver."

In 2004, Stevens fell from a two-story building while working on a construction project. He suffered a number of fractures in his hips and arms and a torn ACL in his left knee. After the fall, he attended rehabilitation therapy and returned to workforce.

In 2009, Stevens' car was totaled in a car accident. No medical issues are specifically attributable to the car accident, however.

From approximately 2007 to 2009, Stevens worked as a fork truck operator and line worker. After being laid off from his job, he received unemployment benefits through 2011.

Stevens alleges disability beginning November 21, 2009, due to Hepatitis C and chronic back, hip, left wrist, left elbow, left knee, and pelvic pain. Stevens, however, did not receive any treatment for his impairments, other than from a chiropractor, between 2009 and 2011.

On May 26, 2011, state agency physician, Dr. Nicole Caldwell opined as follows regarding Stevens' alleged impairments:

[P]atient has many issues related to the falling from a roof several years ago. It was a significant injury and he has residual issues but he could be able to do a job sitting, which he was comfortable [sic] and he could be reeducated to another type of work. He states that driving is not an issues [sic] and he can go long distances. This too could be ...

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