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Loeffler v. Berryhill

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

August 9, 2018

CHRISTIAN E. LOEFFLER, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Deputy Commissioner for Operations, 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 Christian E. Loeffler on May 22, 2017, and Plaintiff's Brief in Support of His Motion to Reverse the Decision of the Commissioner of Social Security [DE 16], filed December 11, 2017. Plaintiff requests that the decision of the Administrative Law Judge be reversed and remanded for further proceedings. On January 23, 2018, the Commissioner filed a response, and on February 19, 2018, Plaintiff filed a reply. For the following reasons, the Court grants Plaintiff's request for remand.

         I. Background

         On May 21, 2013, Plaintiff filed an application for benefits alleging that he became disabled on March 1, 2004. Plaintiff's application was denied initially and upon reconsideration. On April 29, 2015, Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) William G. Reamon held a video hearing at which Plaintiff, with an attorney, and a vocational expert (“VE”) testified. On August 13, 2015, the ALJ issued a decision finding that Plaintiff was not disabled.

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

1. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since May 21, 2013, the application date.
2. The claimant has severe impairments: degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine with L4-5 disc space narrowing and obesity.
3. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meet or medically equal the severity of one the listed impairments in 20 CFR 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1.
4. The claimant had the residual functional capacity to perform light work, except: never climbing ladders, ropes, or scaffolds; occasionally climbing ramps or stairs; occasionally balance, stoop, crouch, kneel, and crawl. Claimant should avoid concentrated exposure to wetness and vibration. Claimant should have no exposure to unprotected heights, hazardous machinery, or slippery/uneven surfaces.
5. The claimant is capable of performing past relevant work as a Cabinet Assembler, light, semiskilled (SVP-3), as described in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT) and as performed by the claimant. This work doses not require the performance of work-related activities precluded by the claimant's residual functional capacity.
6. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, since May 21, 2013, the date the application was filed.

         The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review, leaving the ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner.

         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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