Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Clark v. Colvin

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

January 3, 2017

MATTHEW D. CLARK, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          JOHN E. MARTIN MAGISTRATE JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         This matter is before the Court on a Complaint [DE 1], filed by Plaintiff Matthew Clark on October 5, 2015, and Plaintiff's Opening Brief [DE 15], filed by Plaintiff on March 2, 2016. Plaintiff asks the Court to reverse and remand for further proceedings the Social Security Administration Commissioner's decision finding him not disabled as defined in the Social Security Act. The Commissioner has responded, and Plaintiff has replied.

         I. Background

         A. Procedural history

         Plaintiff initially applied for Disability Benefits Insurance and Supplemental Security Income in 2007, alleging that he had become disabled in 2003. His application was denied both initially and on reconsideration. In 2009, Administrative Law Judge Paul Armstrong held a hearing and concluded that Plaintiff was not disabled as defined in the Social Security Act. The Act defines disability as the inability to engage in substantial gainful activity by reason of a medically determinable physical or mental impairment or combination of impairments that can be expected to result in death or that has lasted or can be expected to last continuously for at least 12 months.

         The Appeals Council denied review in 2011, and Plaintiff appealed to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana. In 2013, Magistrate Judge Paul Cherry remanded the case for further proceedings after finding that the ALJ had failed to draw the required logical bridge from the evidence to his conclusions.

         On remand, ALJ Ramona Scales held a new hearing, and in December 2014 she denied Plaintiff's disability claim. The Appeals Council denied review in August 2015, making the ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner. Plaintiff now appeals again.

         The parties have consented 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, giving this Court jurisdiction to decide this case under 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) and 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

         B. Facts

         The facts leading into 2009 are detailed at length in Judge Cherry's 2013 opinion, so a brief summary will suffice. Plaintiff was born on May 3, 1979, making him 37 years old at the time of this decision. He has a high school education. He worked for a time as a paper machine operator for a newspaper company, but he left that job after injuring his back in 1999. He later worked as a car wash attendant, but he left that job because he could not stand for long periods. He worked for a couple of weeks as a telemarketer, but he left that job because he could not sit for 8 hours per day. He also worked briefly at a pizza restaurant and as a door-to-door salesman for a home improvement company.

         In 2003, Plaintiff began seeking treatment for chronic lower back pain and severe migraine headaches. In 2004, he was hospitalized for intractable lower back pain and later that year underwent back surgery. The pain continued, and Plaintiff began repeatedly visiting the emergency room with complaints of severe migraine headaches and lower back pain. He began taking pain medicine, and treatment continued into 2007, when testing confirmed a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. Plaintiff began using a cane at all times.

         In 2007, Plaintiff began abstaining from marijuana and cocaine, which he had used in the past. But in 2013, Plaintiff used heroin to try to commit suicide. This was his second suicide attempt, the first having come in 2004.

         Plaintiff has not worked since 2009. He has two children from his first marriage, both of whom live with their mother. Plaintiff and his second wife have three-year-old daughter, who lives with them.

         At the 2014 hearing, Plaintiff testified that he continues to suffer from lower back pain that “radiates down both legs, it's sharp, stabbing and it's numb in my legs.” AR 763. Plaintiff rated his pain as usually an 8 on a 10-point scale, with 10 being the worst pain he could endure, and said that once every three months the pain reaches 10, preventing him from getting out of bed. AR 766. With pain medicine, Plaintiff said, the pain can drop to 6. AR 767. “I'm just constantly numb, ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.