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Fields v. Berryhill

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

March 21, 2017

VICKY TRIGG FIELDS, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          JOHN E. MARTIN UNITED STATES DISTRICT MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on a Complaint [DE 1], filed by Plaintiff Vicky Trigg Fields on January 20, 2016, and Plaintiff's Opening Brief [DE 16], filed by Plaintiff on July 15, 2016. Plaintiff requests that the decision of the Administrative Law Judge be reversed and remanded for further proceedings. On October 21, 2016, the Commissioner filed a response, and on November 18, 2016, Plaintiff filed a reply. For the following reasons, the Court grants Plaintiff's request for remand.

         I. Background

         On June 24, 2013, Plaintiff filed an application for benefits alleging that she became disabled on March 17, 2010. Plaintiff's application was denied initially and upon reconsideration. On May 15, 2015, Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Margaret Carey held a hearing at which Plaintiff, with an attorney, and a vocational expert (“VE”) testified. On June 26, 2015, 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 has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since the application date.
2. The claimant has severe impairments: osteoarthritis of the neck, obesity, chronic cystitis, degenerative joint disease of the shoulder, hip, knee, and degenerative disc disease of the spine.
3. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of one the listed impairments in 20 CFR 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1.
4. The claimant has the residual functional capacity to lift and carry up to 20 pounds occasionally, 10 pounds frequently, stand and/or walk about 6 hours in an 8-hour workday, and sit about 6 hours in an 8-hour workday with normal breaks. The claimant must never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds but may occasionally climb ramps and stairs, balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl. She is limited to work that is only occasionally exposed to unprotected heights, moving mechanical parts, and operation of a motor vehicle, and she can only work occasionally in environments of slippery or uneven surfaces. As a result of the claimant's bladder issues, she must be allowed 5-minute breaks every two hours which can be accommodated by routine breaks, for the use of the restroom. The claimant must be allowed a sit/stand option such that after 1 hour of standing the claimant could sit but not be off task and then sit for an hour and stand back up. She is limited to only occasional overhead reaching with the left upper extremity. Finally, the claimant is limited to simple, routine, and repetitive work in low-stress environments with only occasional decision-making.
5. The claimant is unable to perform any of her past relevant work.
6. The claimant was 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 material to the determiation of disability because using the Medical-Vocational Rules as a framework supports a finding that the claimant is “not disabled, ” whether or not she has transferable job skills.
9. Considering the claimant's age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity, there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national ...

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