Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Dungan v. Berryhill

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

June 19, 2018

WILLIAM T. DUNGAN, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Defendant.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Mark J. Dinsmore United States Magistrate Judge Southern District of Indiana

         William T. Dungan (“Dungan”) requests judicial review of the final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (“Commissioner”) denying his application for Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) under Title II of the Social Security Act (“the Act”). See42 U.S.C. §§ 416(i), 423(d), 1382c(a)(3)(A). For the reasons stated below, the Magistrate Judge recommends that the District Judge REVERSE and REMAND the decision of the Commissioner.

         I. Background

         On July 16, 2013, Dungan filed an application for DIB, alleging disability beginning July 16, 2013. [Dkt. 11-2 at 35.] Dungan alleges disability due to diabetes, peripheral neuropathy, diabetic ulcers on his feet, anxiety, depression, cataracts, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, and cellulitis. [Dkt. 14 at 3.][1] Dungan's claim was initially denied on October 31, 2013, and denied again on January 30, 2014, upon reconsideration. [Dkt. 11-2 at 36.]

         On March 19, 2014, Dungan filed a timely written request for a hearing, which was held on August 12, 2015 before Administrative Law Judge Paul Greenberg (“ALJ”). Id. at 33-34. The ALJ's decision, issued June 15, 2016, denied Dungan's application for DIB. Id. at 31-43. On May 25, 2017, the Appeals Council denied Dungan's request for review, making the ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner. Id. at 1-3. Dungan made a timely filing of his Complaint with this Court on July 24, 2017, and his Complaint is now before the Court. [Dkt. 1.]

         II. Legal Standard

         A claimant found to be disabled, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 423, is eligible for DIB. Here, disability is defined as the “inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of a medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.” 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A). To be found disabled, a claimant must demonstrate that his physical or mental impairments are so severe that “he is not only unable to do his previous work but cannot, considering his age, education, and work experience, engage in any other . . . substantial gainful work . . . in the national economy.” 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(2)(A).

         To evaluate whether a claimant is disabled, the Commissioner employs a five-step, sequential analysis: (1) the claimant is not disabled if he is engaged in substantial gainful activity; (2) the claimant is not disabled if he lacks a “severe” impairment; (3) the claimant is disabled if his impairment or combination of impairments meets or medically equals any impairment in the Listing of Impairments (“Listings”), found at 20 C.F.R. pt. 404, subpart P, App. 1; (4) the claimant is not disabled if he is (a) not found to be disabled at step three, and (b) able to perform his past relevant work; and (5) the claimant is not disabled if he is (a) not found to be disabled at step three, and (b) can perform other work available in the national economy. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520.

         The burden is on the claimant for the first four steps, but shifts to the Commissioner at the fifth step. Young v. Sec'y of Health & Human Servs., 957 F.2d 386, 389 (7th Cir. 1992). In order to evaluate the claimant's functional limitations and capacity for work-related activities, the ALJ assesses the claimant's residual functional capacity (“RFC”) before proceeding to steps four and five. S.S.R. 96-8p, 1996 WL 374184, at *1 (S.S.A. Jul. 2, 1996). The ALJ's findings become the Commissioner's findings when the Appeals Council denies review of the ALJ's findings. See Craft v. Astrue, 539 F.3d 668, 673 (7th Cir. 2008); Henderson v. Apfel, 179 F.3d 507, 512 (7th Cir. 1999).

         The Social Security Act provides for judicial review of a Commissioner's denial of benefits. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). However, the ALJ's findings of fact are conclusive and must be upheld by this Court “so long as substantial evidence supports them and no error of law occurred.” Dixon v. Massanari, 270 F.3d 1171, 1176 (7th Cir. 2001). “Substantial evidence means such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion, ” id., although the ALJ “need not evaluate in writing every piece of testimony and evidence submitted.” Carlson v. Shalala, 999 F.2d 180, 181 (7th Cir. 1993) (citing Stephens v. Heckler, 766 F.2d 284, 287 (7th Cir. 1985); Zblewski v. Schweiker, 732 F.2d 75, 79 (7th Cir. 1984)).

         This Court may not reweigh the evidence or substitute its judgment for that of the ALJ. Overman v. Astrue, 546 F.3d 456, 462 (7th Cir. 2008) (citing Schmidt v. Apfel, 201 F.3d 970, 972 (7th Cir. 2000)). However, the “ALJ's decision must be based upon consideration of all the relevant evidence.” Herron v. Shalala, 19 F.3d 329, 333 (7th Cir. 1994). All evidence need not be mentioned in the ALJ's decision, but the ALJ must “provide some glimpse into her reasoning, ” and “build an ‘accurate and logical bridge' from the evidence to her conclusion” in order to be affirmed. Dixon, 270 F.3d at 1176 (quoting Zurawski v. Halter, 245 F.3d 881, 887-89 (7th Cir. 2001)).

         III. The ALJ's Decision

         The ALJ determined that Dungan was last insured, as required for DIB, on March 31, 2014, and that Dungan's alleged disability onset date was May 30, 2013. [Dkt. 11-2 at 35, 63.] At step one, the ALJ found that Dungan did not engage in substantial gainful activity during the time between his alleged onset date and date last insured. Id. at 36. At step two, the ALJ concluded that Dungan suffered from two severe impairments, diabetes and diabetic neuropathy, but all other alleged impairments were nonsevere. Id. To determine whether Dungan's mental impairments were severe, the ALJ considered the four broad functional areas set out in the Listing of Impairments (“paragraph B criteria”): (1) daily living activities; (2) social functioning; (3) concentration, persistence, or pace; and (4) periods of decompensation. 20 C.F.R. pt. 404, subpart P, App. 1; [Dkt. 11-2 at 39.] The ALJ concluded that Dungan's mental impairments were nonsevere because he had only mild limitations in the first three functional areas and had experienced no extended periods of decompensation. [Dkt. 11-2 at 39.]

         At step three, the ALJ concluded that Dungan did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that met or medically equaled the severity of one of the Listings. [Dkt. 11-2 at 40;] 20 C.F.R. pt. 404, subpart P, App. 1; see also20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(d), 404.1525, 404.1526. The ALJ's decision only makes mention of an assessment under § 9.00 (Endocrine ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.