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.

Cage v. Berryhill

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

August 28, 2017

ANTHONY B. CAGE, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Defendant.

          ENTRY ON JUDICIAL REVIEW

          MARK J. DINSMORE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Anthony B. Cage (“Cage”) requests judicial review of the final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (“Commissioner”) denying his application for Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) and Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) under Title XVI of the Social Security Act (“the Act”). See 42 U.S.C. §§ 416(i), 423(d), 1382c(a)(3)(A). For the reasons set forth below, the Commissioner's decision is REVERSED AND REMANDED.

         I. Background

         Cage filed applications for DIB and SSI on June 28, 2013, alleging an onset of disability date of May 8, 2012. [Dkt. 14-2 at 16.] Cage alleges disability due to diabetes, peripheral neuropathy, left shoulder dysfunction, obesity, blindness in the left eye, and depression.[1] [Dkt. 14-2 at 18.] Cage's application was initially denied on September 13, 2013, and denied again on December 11, 2013, upon reconsideration. [Dkt. 14-2 at 16.] Cage timely filed a written request for a hearing, which was held on April 17, 2015, before Administrative Law Judge Kimberly Sorg-Graves. (“ALJ”). Id. The ALJ issued a decision on June 23, 2015, again denying Cage's applications for SSI. [Dkt. 14-2 at 13.] On September 8, 2016, the Appeals Council denied Cage's request for review, making the ALJ's decision the final decision for purposes of judicial review. [Dkt. 14-2 at 1.] Cage timely filed his Complaint with this Court on November 2, 2016, which Complaint is now before the Court.

         II. Legal Standard

         To be eligible for DIB or SSI, a claimant must have a disability pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 423.[2] Disability is defined as the “inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.” 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A).

         To determine whether a claimant is disabled, the Commissioner, as represented by the ALJ, employs a five-step sequential analysis: (1) if the claimant is engaged in substantial gainful activity, he is not disabled; (2) if the claimant does not have a “severe” impairment, one that significantly limits his ability to perform basic work activities, he is not disabled; (3) if the claimant's impairment or combination of impairments meets or medically equals any impairment appearing in the Listing of Impairments, 20 C.F.R. pt. 404, subpart P, App. 1, the claimant is disabled; (4) if the claimant is not found to be disabled at step three and he is able to perform her past relevant work, he is not disabled; and (5) if the claimant is not found to be disabled at step three and cannot perform his past relevant work but he can perform certain other available work, he is not disabled. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520. Before proceeding from step three to step four, the ALJ must assess the claimant's residual functional capacity (RFC), identifying the claimant's functional limitations and assessing the claimant's remaining capacity for work-related activities. S.S.R. 96-8p.

         The ALJ's findings of fact are conclusive and must be upheld by this Court “so long as substantial evidence supports them and no error of law occurred.” Dixon v. Massanari, 270 F.3d 1171, 1176 (7th Cir. 2001). “Substantial evidence means such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.” Id. This Court may not reweigh the evidence or substitute its judgment for that of the ALJ but may only determine whether substantial evidence supports the ALJ's conclusion. Overman v. Astrue, 546 F.3d 456, 462 (7th Cir. 2008) (citing Schmidt v. Apfel, 201 F.3d 970, 972 (7th Cir. 2000); Skinner v. Astrue, 478 F.3d 836, 841 (7th Cir. 2007)). The ALJ “need not evaluate in writing every piece of testimony and evidence submitted.” Carlson v. Shalala, 999 F.2d 180, 181 (7th Cir. 1993) (citing Stephens v. Heckler, 766 F.2d 284, 287 (7th Cir. 1985); Zblewski v. Schweiker, 732 F.2d 75, 79 (7th Cir. 1984)). However, the “ALJ's decision must be based upon consideration of all the relevant evidence.” Herron v. Shalala, 19 F.3d 329, 333 (7th Cir. 1994). To be affirmed, the ALJ must articulate his analysis of the evidence in his decision; while he “is not required to address every piece of evidence or testimony, ” he must “provide some glimpse into his reasoning” and “build an accurate and logical bridge from the evidence to [his] conclusion.” Dixon, 270 F.3d at 1176.

         III. The ALJ's Decision

         The ALJ first determined that Cage has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since May 8, 2012, the alleged onset date. [Dkt. 14-2 at 18.] At step two, the ALJ determined that Cage “has the following severe impairments: diabetes mellitus, peripheral neuropathy, left shoulder dysfunction, obesity, blindness in the left eye, and depression.” Id. However, at step three, the ALJ found that Cage does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals a listed impairment. [Dkt. 14-2 at 19.] In making this determination, the ALJ considered Listings 1.02 (Major Dysfunction of a Joint), 11.14 (Peripheral Neuropathy), 2.02 (Loss of Visual Acuity), and 12.04 (Depression). Id.

         The ALJ next analyzed Plaintiff's residual functional capacity (“RFC”). He concluded that Plaintiff had the RFC to perform a range of light work except:

[C]laimant can lift, carry, push and pull 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently; sit for 6 of 8 hours; and stand and/or walk 4 of 8 hours. There should be no more than occasional overhead reaching with the left upper extremity and no work that requires binocular vision. The claimant is further limited to simple, repetitive unskilled tasks.

         In finding these limitations, the ALJ considered Cage's “symptoms and the extent to which these symptoms can reasonably be accepted as consistent with the objective medical evidence and other evidence.” [Dkt. 14-2 at 23.] The ALJ then acknowledged that the evidence presented could reasonably show that Cage suffers from the symptoms he alleges, but she found his statements “not entirely credible.” [Dkt. 14-2 at 32.] At step four, the ALJ concluded the Plaintiff is unable to perform any past relevant work. Id. The ALJ thus proceeded to step five, at which time she received testimony from the vocational expert indicating that someone with Plaintiff's education, work experience, age, and RFC would be able to perform unskilled light occupations such as a small parts assembler, electrical accessories assembler, and inspector hand packager. Because these jobs existed in significant numbers in the national economy, the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff was not disabled. [Dkt. 14-2 at 33.]

         IV. ...


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.