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Kniola v. Berryhill

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

March 14, 2018

SCOTT A. KNIOLA, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          PAUL R. CHERRY MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on a Complaint [DE 1], filed by Plaintiff Scott A. Kniola on December 2, 2016, and Plaintiff's Brief in Support of Reversing the Decision of the Commissioner of Social Security [DE 15], filed by Plaintiff on August 7, 2017. Plaintiff requests that the August 13, 2015 decision of the Administrative Law Judge denying his claim for supplemental security income be reversed and remanded for further proceedings. On November 14, 2017, the Commissioner filed a response, and Plaintiff filed a reply on December 1, 2017. For the following reasons, the Court grants Plaintiff's request for remand.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff filed an application for supplemental security income on May 28, 2013. His claim was denied initially and upon reconsideration. Plaintiff timely requested a hearing, which was held on May 1, 2015, and presided over by Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) William G. Reamon. Present at the hearing were Plaintiff, his attorney, and an impartial vocational expert.

         The ALJ issued a written decision on August 13, 2015, concluding that Plaintiff was not disabled based on the following findings:

1. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since May 28, 2013, the application date.
2. The claimant has the following severe impairments: dysfunction of the major joints, bilateral carpal and cubital tunnel syndrome; cervical spine degenerative disc disease with bilateral C5-6 and C6-7 foraminal stenosis; status-post hernia repair surgery; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); diabetes mellitus; plantar fasciitis; and obesity.
3. 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, Appendix 1.
4. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform sedentary work as defined in 20 CFR 416.967(a) except involving occasional lifting, carrying, pushing and/or pulling up to 10 pounds occasionally and less than 10 pounds frequently; sitting 6 hours of an 8-hour workday; standing and/or walking 2 hours total of an 8-hour workday with normal breaks; occasional climbing of ramps and/or stairs, but no climbing of ladders, ropes or scaffolds; occasional balancing, stooping, kneeling, crouching or crawling; [must] avoid concentrated exposure to extremes of temperatures and all exposure to pulmonary irritants and limited to frequent bilateral handling/fingering.
5. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work.
6. The claimant was born [in 1967] and was 45 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-44 [sic], on the date the application was filed. The claimant subsequently changed age category to a younger individual age 45-49.
7. The claimant has at least a high school education and is able to communicate in English.
8. Transferability of job skills is not an issue in this case because the claimant's past relevant work is unskilled.
9. 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.
10. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, since May 28, 2013, the date ...

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