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Hernandez v. Berryhill

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

February 6, 2019

RAMIRO E. HERNANDEZ, 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 Ramiro E. Hernandez, and Plaintiff's Brief in Support of Reversing the Decision of the Commissioner of Social Security [DE 20], filed May 18, 2018. Plaintiff requests that the decision of the Administrative Law Judge be reversed and remanded for further proceedings. On June 11, 2018, the Commissioner filed a response, and on July 16, 2018, Plaintiff filed a reply. For the following reasons, the Court grants Plaintiff's request for remand.

         I. Background

         On September 10, 2013, Plaintiff filed an application for benefits alleging disability beginning September 1, 2013. Plaintiff's application was denied initially and upon reconsideration. On November 16, 2016, Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Edward Kristof held a hearing at which Plaintiff, with counsel, and a vocational expert (“VE”) testified. On December 28, 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 has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since September 10, 2013, the application date.
2. The claimant has the following severe impairments: schizophrenia and an affective disorder.
3. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of one the listed impairments in 20 CFR 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1.
4. The claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform a full range of work at all exertional levels but with several non-exertional limitations. Specifically, the claimant is able to understand, remember and carry out unskilled tasks. He is able to relate on at least a superficial and ongoing basis with co-workers and supervisors, but is to have no interaction with the public as part of his job duties. The claimant is able to attend to tasks for sufficient periods of time to complete such tasks and is able to manage the stresses involved with simple work. In addition, he is to avoid unprotected heights, moving machinery, and other workplace hazards. Last, he is never to operate a motor vehicle as part of job duties.
5. The claimant is capable of performing past relevant work as a machine packager. This work does not require the performance of work-related activities precluded by the claimant's residential functional capacity.
6. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, since September 10, 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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