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Vandergraff v. Berryhill

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

March 13, 2018

MARY BETH VANDERGRAFF, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          JOHN E. MARTIN MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on a Complaint [DE 1], filed by Plaintiff Mary Beth Vandergraff on January 12, 2017, and Brief of Plaintiff [DE 30], filed by Plaintiff on December 11, 2017. Plaintiff requests that the decision of the Administrative Law Judge be reversed and remanded for further proceedings. On February 9, 2018, the Commissioner filed a response, and on February 22, 2018, Plaintiff filed a reply. For the following reasons, the Court grants Plaintiff's request for remand.

         I. Background

         On January 25, 2013, Plaintiff filed an application for benefits alleging that she became disabled on September 26, 2011. Plaintiff's application was denied initially and upon reconsideration. On December 30, 2014, Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) TheodoreW. Grippo held a video hearing at which Plaintiff, with an attorney, and a vocational expert (“VE”) testified. On August 25, 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 met the insured status of the Social Security Act through December 31, 2017.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since her alleged onset date of September 26, 2011.
3. The claimant has severe impairments of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome (“CFS”).
4. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meet or medically equal the severity of one the listed impairments in 20 CFR 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1.
5. The claimant had the residual functional capacity to perform light work, where the claimant can lift or carry 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently, stand or walk for six hours in an eight-hour workday, and sit for 6 hours in an 8-hour workday. The claimant can never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds.
6. The claimant is able to perform past relevant work as an administrative assistant, customer service manager, customer service representative, office manager, and warehouse manager. This work does not require the performance of work-related activities precluded by the claimant's RFC.
7. The claimant was not under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from September 26, 2011, through the date of the ALJ's decision.

         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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