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Reynolds v. Berryhill

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

August 20, 2018

JUDITH REYNOLDS, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Deputy Commissioner for Operations, Social Security Administration, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          JOHN E. MARTIN JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on a Complaint [DE 1], filed by Plaintiff Judith Reynolds on June 30, 2017, and Plaintiff's Opening Brief [DE 19], filed December 20, 2017. Plaintiff requests that the decision of the Administrative Law Judge be reversed and remanded for further proceedings. On January 31, 2018, the Commissioner filed a response, and on February 6, 2018, Plaintiff filed a reply. For the following reasons, the Court grants Plaintiff's request for remand.

         I. Background

         On March 11, 2014, Plaintiff filed an application for benefits alleging that she became disabled on January 30, 2014. Plaintiff's application was denied initially and upon reconsideration. On May 12, 2016, Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Shane McGovern held a hearing at which Plaintiff, with an attorney, and a vocational expert (“VE”) testified. On June 27, 2016, 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 meets the insured status of the Social Security Act through December 31, 2019.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since January 30, 2014, the alleged onset date.
3. The claimant has severe impairments: diabetes mellitus with neuropathy, obesity, bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorder.
4. 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.
5. The claimant had the residual functional capacity to perform light work, except: the claimant can never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds but can occasionally climb ramps or stairs and occasionally balance, stoop, crouch, kneel, and crawl. The claimant can have no exposure to unprotected heights or moving mechanical parts. The claimant is limited to simple, routine, and repetitive tasks free of production rate pace and quotas. The claimant cannot perform any teamwork or tandem tasks and requires low stress jobs. The claimant can have occasional interaction with coworkers and supervisors; and no more than 10% interaction with the general public.
6. The claimant is unable to perform past relevant work.
7. The claimant was 48 years old, defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the alleged disability onset date. The claimant subsequently changed age category to closely approaching advanced age.
8. The claimant has at least a high school education and is able to communicate in English.
9. Transferability of job skills is not material to the determination of disability because the claimant is “not disabled, ” whether or not ...

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