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Chorba v. Berryhill

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

April 27, 2018

MARY M. CHORBA, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Deputy Commissioner for Operations, performing the duties and functions not reserved to the Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          JOHN E. MARTIN MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on a Complaint [DE 1], filed by Plaintiff Mary Chorba on April 4, 2017, and an Opening Brief [DE 12], filed by Plaintiff on August 4, 2017. Plaintiff requests that the decision of the Administrative Law Judge be reversed and remanded for further proceedings. On September 15, 2017, the Commissioner filed a response, and on October 14, 2017, Plaintiff filed a reply. For the following reasons, the Court grants Plaintiff's request for remand.

         I. Background

         On or about April 18, 2013, Plaintiff filed an application for disability insurance benefits alleging that she was disabled starting on November 30, 2011. Plaintiff's application was denied initially and upon reconsideration. On May 20, 2015, Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Dennis R. Kramer held a hearing at which Plaintiff, represented by an attorney, appeared and testified. Plaintiff's husband, two medical experts, and a vocational expert (the “VE”) also testified. On June 22, 2015, the ALJ issued a decision finding that Plaintiff was not disabled within her insured period, and therefore was ineligible for benefits.

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

1. The claimant last met the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act (the “Act”) on March 31, 2012.
2. The claimant did not engage in substantial gainful activity from her alleged onset date of November 11, 2011, through her date last insured of March 31, 2012.
3. As of her date last insured, the claimant had the severe impairments of mild dementia, probable Huntington's disease (which was later confirmed by genetic testing), asthma, major depressive disorder, and anxiety.
4. The claimant did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that met or medically equaled the severity of one the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1.
5. The claimant had the residual functional capacity to lift and carry up to 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently; to sit, stand and/or walk for 2 hours at a time for a total of up to 6 hours each in an 8-hour workday; to frequently reach, handle, finger, feel, push, and pull bilaterally; to frequently climb ramps and stairs (but never ladders or scaffolds), balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl; and to occasionally operate a motor vehicle. She could tolerate an environment with loud noise; frequent exposure to vibrations, occasional exposure to humidity, wetness, dust, odors, fumes, and pulmonary irritants, but no exposure to unprotected heights and moving mechanical parts. She was limited to simple, routine and repetitive tasks; should could understand, remember, and carry out simple instructions and make judgments on simple work-related decisions; she could respond to usual work situations and to changes in a routine work setting; and she could respond appropriately to co-workers, supervisors, and the public. She was unable to perform production rate work but could have an end-of-day production quota. She was limited to work environments with limited distractions caused by people walking by.
6. The claimant had no past relevant work.
7. The claimant was 53 years old, which is defined as an individual closely approaching advanced age, on the date last insured.
8. The claimant had at least a high school education and was able to communicate in English.
9. Transferability of job skills was not material because the claimant had no ...

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