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Spain v. Colvin

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

August 22, 2016

VALERIE SPAIN, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          JOHN E. MARTIN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on a Complaint [DE 1], filed by Plaintiff Valerie Spain on April 2, 2015, and Plaintiff’s Opening Social Security Brief [DE 14], filed by Plaintiff on December 22, 2015. Plaintiff requests that the decision of the Administrative Law Judge be reversed and remanded for further proceedings. On March 29, 2016, the Commissioner filed a response, and on April 12, 2016, Plaintiff filed a reply. For the following reasons, the Court denies Plaintiff’s request for remand.

         I. Procedural Background

         On November 14, 2012, Plaintiff filed an application for a period of disability and for disability insurance benefits with the U.S. Social Security Administration (“SSA”). Plaintiff claimed disability beginning March 22, 2011. Plaintiff’s application was denied initially and upon reconsideration. On April 3, 2014, Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Angelita Hamilton held a video hearing at which Plaintiff, with counsel, appeared at a video hearing, and a vocational expert (“VE”) testified. On April 16, 2014, the ALJ issued a decision finding that Plaintiff was not disabled.

         The ALJ made the following findings under the required five-step analysis:

1. The claimant met the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through December 31, 2011.
2. The claimant did not engage in substantial gainful activity from her alleged onset date of March 22, 2011, through her date last insured.
3. The claimant had the following medically determinable impairments: cervical spondylosis, degenerative changes in her lumbar spine, pancreatitis, proctitis, gastritis, impairments of the gallbladder, depression, and anxiety.
4. Through the date last insured, the claimant did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that significantly limited the ability to perform basic work-related activities for 12 consecutive months; therefore, the claimant did not have a severe impairment or combination of impairments.
5. The claimant was not under a disability as defined in the Social Security Act from October 10, 2012, through the date of the decision.

         The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff’s request for review, leaving the ALJ’s decision the final decision of the Commissioner.

         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 this case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) and 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

         II. Facts

         Plaintiff has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, cervical spondlyosis, a thyroid condition, depression, and anxiety. In August 2011, blood tests were positive for antinuclear antibodies, one indicator of a potential autoimmune disease, and in September 2011 a colonoscopy revealed chronic active inflammation of her rectal colon possibly caused by ...


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