United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division
LAURA R. KACZMAREK, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Deputy Commissioner for Operations, Social Security Administration, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
R. CHERRY MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on a Complaint [DE 1], filed by
Plaintiff Laura R. Kaczmarek on August 18, 2017, and a Social
Security Opening Brief of Plaintiff [DE 14], filed by
Plaintiff on January 17, 2018. Plaintiff requests that the
September 13, 2016 decision of the Administrative Law Judge
denying her claim for disability insurance benefits and
supplemental security income be reversed and remanded for an
award of benefits or for further proceedings. On January 25,
2018, the Deputy Commissioner filed a response, and Plaintiff
filed a reply on March 28, 2018. For the following reasons,
the Court grants Plaintiff's request for remand.
13, 2011, Plaintiff filed applications for disability
insurance benefits and supplemental security income, alleging
disability beginning July 14, 2008. The applications were
denied initially and on reconsideration. Administrative Law
Judge William D. Pierson (“ALJ”) held a hearing
and, on May 14, 2013, Magistrate Judge Andrew P. Rodovich,
presiding by consent of the parties, granted Plaintiff's
request to remand the matter to the agency for further
proceedings. On remand, the Appeals Council remanded the
matter to ALJ Pierson for a hearing and new decision. The ALJ
held a hearing on July 12, 2016. In attendance at the hearing
were Plaintiff, Plaintiff's attorney, Plaintiff's
son, and an impartial vocational expert. On September 13,
2016, the ALJ issued a written decision denying benefits,
making the following findings:
1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the
Social Security Act through December 31, 2013.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since July 14, 2008, the alleged onset date.
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments:
osteoarthritis and bursitis of the hips, sacroiliitis,
chronic pain syndrome, myofascial pain syndrome, disorders of
the spine (including discogenic and degenerative changes in
the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine), bilateral shoulder
problems (including tendonitis, bursitis, rotator cuff
tearing, and degenerative changes), bilateral knee problems
(including bursitis, degenerative changes, chondromalacia,
patallae alta, Osgood-Schlatter syndrome, and low-grade
injuries to some of the ligaments), and obesity.
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,
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual
functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20
CFR 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b) except that she can only
occasionally bend and stoop in addition to what is required
to sit. She can also occasionally kneel, crouch, crawl, and
use ramps and stairs (1-2 flights with handrails). She cannot
climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds at all.
6. The claimant is capable of performing her past relevant
work as a fast food worker.
7. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined
in the Social Security Act, from July 14, 2008, through the
date of this decision.
Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review,
leaving the ALJ's decision the final decision of the
Commissioner. See 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.981,
416.1481. Plaintiff filed this civil action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c) for review of 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.