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Bothwell v. Berryhill

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

February 1, 2019

ROY BOTHWELL, 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 Roy Bothwell, and Plaintiff's Brief in Support of Reversing the Decision of the Commissioner of Social Security [DE 17], filed June 27, 2018. Plaintiff requests that the decision of the Administrative Law Judge be reversed and remanded for further proceedings. On September 26, 2018, the Commissioner filed a response, and on October 8, 2018, Plaintiff filed a reply. For the following reasons, the Court grants Plaintiff's request for remand.

         I. Background

         On March 24, 2005, Plaintiff was found to be disabled and entitled to disability benefits. On March 19, 2012, the agency determined that Plaintiff was no longer disabled or entitled to benefits. Plaintiff requested reconsideration, but was denied. On September 11, 2013, Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Henry Kramzyk issued a decision denying benefits, and the Appeals Council denied review. On October 1, 2015, this Court issued an opinion and order reversing and remanding the ALJ's decision. On August 19, 2016, Administrative Law Judge William E. Sampson held a hearing at which Plaintiff, with an attorney, an impartial medical expert, and a vocational expert (“VE”) testified. On November 16, 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 most recent favorable medical decision finding that the claimant was disabled is the decision dated March 24, 2005. This is known as the “comparison point decision” or CPD.
2. At the time of the CPD, the claimant had the following medically determinable impairments: multiple sclerosis and narcolepsy. These impairments were found to medically equal section(s) 11.09 of 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1.
3. Through March 19, 2012, the date the claimant's disability ended, the claimant did not engage in substantial gainful activity.
4. The medical evidence establishes that, as of March 19, 2012, the claimant had the following medically determinable impairments: multiple sclerosis, osteoarthritis of the left hip, pars defect of the lumbar spine, degenerative disc disease, attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) and obesity.
5. Since March 19, 2012, the claimant did not have an impairment or combination of impairments which met or medically equaled the severity of an impairment listed in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1.
6. Medical improvement occurred as of March 19, 2012.
7. The medical improvement is related to the ability to work because, as of March 19, 2012, the claimant's CPD impairment(s) no longer met or medically equaled the same listing(s) that was equaled at the time of the CPD.
8. As of March 19, 2012, the claimant continued to have a severe impairment or combination of impairments.
9. Based on the impairments present as of March 19, 2012, the claimant had the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(a) as the claimant is able to sit, stand and/or walk for six hours in an eight hour workday, except: the claimant requires a sit/stand option that allows him to alternate between sitting and standing every 30 minutes, is able to lift and/or carry 10 pounds maximum, is unable to climb ladders, ropes or scaffolds, crouch, kneel or crawl, may occasionally climb ramps and stairs, bend and twist, balance and stoop and must avoid even occasional exposure to extreme heat, hazards such as ...

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