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Parris v. Berryhill

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

August 13, 2018

JEREMY WAYNE PARRIS Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security Administration, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          JOSEPH S. VAN BOKKELEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Jeremy Wayne Parris seeks judicial review of the Social Security Commissioner's decision denying her disability benefits, and asks this Court to remand the case. For the reasons below, this Court remands the ALJ's decision.

         A. Overview of the Case

         Plaintiff alleges that he became disabled on June 1, 2013. (R. at 207.) His date last insured (“DLI”) is December 31, 2014. (R. at 210.) Plaintiff most recently worked as a foreclosed-home estimator, but has not worked since 2010. (R. at 223.) The Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) found that Plaintiff suffered from severe physical impairments. (R. at 22.) However, the ALJ concluded that he could perform other jobs that existed in significant numbers. (R. at 29.) Therefore, the ALJ denied him benefits. (R. at 30.) This decision became final when the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review. (R. at 1.) Plaintiff previously applied for disability benefits in 2010, but a different ALJ denied him benefits. (R. at 95-109.) The current ALJ declined to reopen that decision. (R. at 20.)

         B. Standard of Review

         This Court has authority to review the Commissioner's decision under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). The Court will ensure that the ALJ built an “accurate and logical bridge” from evidence to conclusion. Thomas v. Colvin, 745 F.3d 802, 806 (7th Cir. 2014). This requires the ALJ to “confront the [plaintiff's] evidence” and “explain why it was rejected.” Thomas v. Colvin, 826 F.3d 953, 961 (7th Cir. 2016). The Court will uphold decisions that apply the correct legal standard and are supported by substantial evidence. Briscoe ex rel. Taylor v. Barnhart, 425 F.3d 345, 351 (7th Cir. 2005). Evidence is substantial if “a reasonable mind might accept [it] as adequate to support [the ALJ's] conclusion.” Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971).

         C. Disability Standard

         The Commissioner follows a five-step inquiry in evaluating claims for disability benefits under the Social Security Act:

(1) whether the claimant is currently employed; (2) whether the claimant has a severe impairment; (3) whether the claimant's impairment is one that the Commissioner considers conclusively disabling; (4) if the claimant does not have a conclusively disabling impairment, whether he can perform his past relevant work; and (5) whether the claimant is capable of performing any work in the national economy.

Kastner v. Astrue, 697 F.3d 642, 646 (7th Cir. 2012).

         The claimant bears the burden of proof at every step except step five. Clifford v. Apfel, 227 F.3d 863, 868 (7th Cir. 2000).

         D. Analysis

         Plaintiff argues that the ALJ erred in finding that he was not disabled. Specifically, Plaintiff argues that the ALJ ignored his hand limitations, improperly attacked his credibility, and improperly weighed medical opinions.

         (1) The Prior ALJ's Decision Does Not Impose a ...


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