United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
OPINION AND ORDER
E. MARTIN MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court on a Complaint [DE 1], filed by
Plaintiff on July 17, 2015, and Brief in Support of
Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment [DE 15], filed on
November 9, 2015. Plaintiff requests that the decision of the
Administrative Law Judge be reversed and remanded for further
proceedings. On February 12, 2016, the Commissioner filed a
response, and on March 1, 2016, Plaintiff filed a reply. For
the following reasons, the Court grants Plaintiff's
request for remand.
21, 2013, Plaintiff filed an application for benefits
alleging that he became disabled on December 19, 2011.
Plaintiff's application was denied initially and upon
reconsideration. On July 24, 2014, and January 13, 2015,
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Romona Scales
held hearings at which Plaintiff, with an attorney
representative, a medical expert, and a vocational expert
(“VE”) testified. On February 27, 2015, the ALJ
issued a decision finding that Plaintiff was not disabled.
The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for
review, leaving the ALJ's decision the final decision of
made the following findings under the required five-step
1. The claimant met the insured status requirements of the
Social Security Act through December 30, 2016.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since December 19, 2011, the alleged onset date.
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments:
diabetes mellitus, an obese body habitus, mild thoracic
degenerative changes, and the late effects of a benign
4. 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,
5. The claimant has the residual functional capacity to lift
20 pounds occasionally, 10 pounds frequently, stand and/or
walk for up to 4 hours in an 8-hour work period. The claimant
can occasionally climb rams and stairs, but never ladders,
ropes, or scaffolds. The claimant can occasionally balance,
stoop, kneel, crouch, and/or crawl; the claimant should never
reach overhead with her left non-dominant upper extremity,
and she is capable of frequent use of near and far visual
acuity. The work cannot require fine or precise vision for
small objects, but the claimant remains capable of seeing and
handling medium to large objects, and she is able to avoid
normal workplace hazards. The claimant must avoid
concentrated exposure to environmental irritants such as
fumes, odors, dust, gases, and areas of poor ventilation.
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work.
7. The claimant was 47 years old, which is defined as a young
individual age 18-49, on the alleged disability onset date.
The claimant subsequently changed age category to closely
8. The claimant has at least a high school education and is
able to communicate in English.
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.
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.
11. The claimant has not been under a disability from
December 19, 2011, through the date of the decision.
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.
suffers from diabetes mellitus. In 2012, she had a meningioma
removed from her brain, and has complained of blurred vision
in her left eye and headaches since the surgery. She has
carpal tunnel syndrome, reduced visual acuity, an adjustment
disorder, acromioclavicular joint osteoarthritis, left ...