United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
OPINION AND ORDER
R. CHERRY MAGISTRATE JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
matter is before the Court on a Complaint [DE 1], filed by
Plaintiff Randall Allan Hearn on July 5, 2016, and
Plaintiff's Opening Brief [DE 16], filed by Plaintiff on
December 9, 2016. Plaintiff requests that the September 26,
2014 decision of the Administrative Law Judge denying his
claim for disability insurance benefits and supplemental
security income be reversed and remanded for further
proceedings. On March 23, 2017, the Commissioner filed a
response, and Plaintiff filed a reply on April 5, 2017. For
the following reasons, the Court grants Plaintiff's
request for remand.
January 2013, Plaintiff filed applications for disability
insurance benefits and supplemental security income, alleging
disability since June 23, 2012. The applications were denied
initially and on reconsideration. On June 18, 2014,
Administrative Law Judge Kim L. Bright (“ALJ”)
held a hearing. In attendance at the hearing were Plaintiff
and Plaintiff's attorney. An impartial vocational expert
appeared telephonically. The vocational expert was
disconnected from the hearing before he testified.
Interrogatories were sent to the expert following the
hearing. On September 26, 2014, the ALJ issued a written
decision denying benefits, making the following findings:
1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the
Social Security Act through December 31, 2017.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since June 23, 2012, the alleged onset date.
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments:
cervical degenerative disc disease and degenerative joint
disease of the right shoulder.
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. After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual
functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20
CFR 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b) Except he may frequently climb
ramps and stairs, balance, stop, crouch, or crawl. He may
occasionally climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. He may
frequently reach in front or laterally, and occasionally
reach overhead with his bilateral upper extremities.
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work.
7. The claimant was born [in 1962] and was 50 years old,
which is defined as an individual closely approaching
advanced age, on the alleged disability onset date.
8. The claimant has a limited 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, as defined
in the Social Security Act, from June 23, 2012, through the
date of this decision.
Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review,
leaving the ALJ's decision the final decision of the
Commissioner. See 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.981,
416.1481. Plaintiff filed this civil action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 405(g) for review of the Agency's 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.