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Nathansen v. Berryhill

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

March 23, 2018

DAVID NATHENSEN, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY 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 on February 5, 2017, and Plaintiff's Brief in Support of Reversing the Decision of the Commissioner of Social Security [DE 19], filed on August 7, 2017. Plaintiff requests that the decision of the Administrative Law Judge be reversed and remanded for further proceedings. On October 12, 2017, the Commissioner filed a response, and on November 13, 2017, Plaintiff filed a reply. For the following reasons, the Court grants Plaintiff's request for remand.

         I. Procedural Background

         On June 20, 2013, Plaintiff filed an application for benefits alleging that he became disabled on May 20, 2013. Plaintiff's application was denied initially and upon reconsideration. On November 16, 2015, Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Howard Kauffman held a hearing at which Plaintiff, with an attorney representative, and a vocational expert (“VE”) testified. On December 9, 2015, the ALJ issued a decision finding that Plaintiff was not disabled. The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review, leaving the ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner.

         The ALJ made the following findings under the required five-step analysis:

1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through December 31, 2018.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since May 20, 2013, the alleged onset date.
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and morbid obesity. His other medically-determinable impairments, including obstructive sleep apnea, are non-severe. Other alleged impairments, including sciatica, are not medically determinable.
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 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1.
5. The claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 C.F.R. 404.1567(b) and 461.967(b), lifting up to 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently and standing or walking for up to 6 hours in an 8-hour work day, except that he can never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds and can only occasionally climb ramps and stairs, balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl.
6. The claimant is able to perform past relevant work as a security guard and as a bus driver. 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 from May 20, 2013, through the date of the decision.

         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 this case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § ...


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