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Eastman v. Berryhill

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

March 29, 2017

WILLIAM GARY EASTMAN, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, 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 William Gary Eastman on March 16, 2016, and Plaintiff's Brief in Support of Reversing the Decision of the Commissioner of Social Security [DE 21], filed by Plaintiff on November 3, 2016. Plaintiff requests that the decision of the Administrative Law Judge be reversed and remanded for further proceedings. On January 24, 2017, the Commissioner filed a response, and on February 3, 2017, Plaintiff filed a reply. For the following reasons, the Court grants Plaintiff's request for remand.

         I. Background

         On March 2, 2012, Plaintiff filed an application for benefits alleging that he became disabled on February 25, 2012. Plaintiff's application was denied initially and upon reconsideration. On June 16, 2014, Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) John K. Kraybill held a video hearing at which Plaintiff, Plaintiff's mother, a medical expert, and a vocational expert (“VE”) testified. On November 10, 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 insure status requirements of the Social Security act through December 31, 2016.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since February 25, 2012, the alleged onset date.
3. The claimant has severe impairments: degenerative disc disease and degenerative joint disease, lumbar spine; degenerative joint disease, left knee; and seizure disorder.
4. 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.
5. The claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR §§ 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b) with the additional limitations that the claimant can: lift and carry up to 20 pounds occasionally, 10 pounds frequently; stand and/or walk about 6 hours in an 8-hour workday; sit for about 6 hours in an 8-hour workday; and push and/or pull to include operations of hand/foot controls with the bilateral upper and lower extremities as restricted by the limitations on lifting and/or carrying subject to the environmental limitations of avoiding all exposure to unprotected heights.
6. The claimant is capable of performing past relevant work as a bagger. This work does not require the performance of work-related activities precluded by the claimant's residual functional capacity.
7. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from February 25, 2012, through the date of this decision.

         On January 19, 2016, 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 ...


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