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Alvarez v. Berryhill

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

May 21, 2018

BRAULIO ALVAREZ, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY 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 on March 27, 2017, and Plaintiff's Brief in Support of Reversing the Decision of the Commissioner of Social Security [DE 18], filed on December 1, 2017. Plaintiff requests that the decision of the Administrative Law Judge be reversed and remanded for further proceedings. On January 12, 2018, the Commissioner filed a response, and on February 5, 2018, Plaintiff filed a reply. For the following reasons, the Court grants Plaintiff's request for remand.

         I. Procedural Background

         On October 1, 2013, Plaintiff filed an application for benefits alleging that he became disabled on July 1, 2013. Plaintiff's application was denied initially and upon reconsideration. On August 24, 2015, Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Kevin Plunkett held a hearing at which Plaintiff, with an attorney representative, and a vocational expert (“VE”) testified. On October 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 met the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through September 30, 2017.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since July 1, 2013, the alleged onset date.
3. The claimant has the following severe impairment: multiple sclerosis.
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, Appendix 1.
5. The claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) and 461.967(b), lifting and/or carrying twenty pounds occasionally and ten pounds frequently. The claimant is able to engage in sitting, standing, or walking for six hours each. The claimant can push and/or pull as much as he can lift and/or carry. The claimant can occasionally feel with his right and left upper extremities. The claimant can occasionally climb ramps and stairs, but never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds The claimant can occasionally balance, crouch, crawl, and kneel. The claimant can never be exposed to unprotected heights or moving mechanical parts. The claimant can never operate a motor vehicle.
6. The claimant is capable of performing past relevant work as a bodyguard and security guard. 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 July 1, 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. § 636(c) and 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

         II. ...


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