United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
EDWARD L. BRITTON, Plaintiff,
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
PAUL R. CHERRY, Magistrate Judge.
This matter is before the Court on a Complaint [DE 1], filed by Plaintiff Edward L. Britton on October 29, 2013, and a Social Security Opening Brief of Plaintiff [DE 20], filed on April 18, 2014. The Commissioner filed a response brief on July 21, 2014, and Plaintiff filed a reply on August 7, 2014. Plaintiff challenges the July 18, 2012 decision of the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) that he is not disabled under the Social Security Act.
Plaintiff filed an application for supplemental security income with the Social Security Administration on February 28, 2011, alleging that paralysis of his left arm, two broken ribs, and eye problems left him unable to work. His application was denied initially and upon reconsideration. He filed a request for a hearing before an ALJ, which took place on July 6, 2012, in Valparaiso, Indiana, before ALJ William Sampson. The ALJ heard testimony from Plaintiff as well as from vocational expert (VE) Dr. Leonard Fisher. Plaintiff appeared for the hearing by video conference and was represented by attorney Veda Dasari.
On July 18, 2012, the ALJ issued a written decision denying Plaintiff's claims for disability benefits, making the following findings.
1. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since February 28, 2011, the application date.
2. The claimant has the following severe impairments: degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine and residuals of a left upper extremity injury.
3. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1.
4. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 416.967(b) except that the claimant is able to occasionally climb ramps and stairs and occasionally balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl. The claimant is unable to climb ropes, ladders, or scaffolds. The claimant can occasionally feel on the left with no reaching, handling, or fingering on the left. Finally the claimant must avoid concentrated exposure to hazardous machinery and heights.
5. The claimant has no past relevant work.
6. The claimant was born in 1963 and was 47 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the date the application was filed.
7. The claimant has at least a high school education and is able to communicate in English.
8. Transferability of job skills is not an issue because the claimant does not have past relevant work.
9. 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. 10. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, since February 28, 2011, the date the application was filed.
On August 29, 2013, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review, leaving the ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner. See 20 C.F.R. § 416.1481. On October 29, 2013, Plaintiff filed this civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3) for review of the Agency'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 ...