United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
LALISEA V. BROWN, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Deputy Commissioner for Operations, Social Security Administration, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
E. MARTIN MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court on a Complaint [DE 1], filed by
Plaintiff Lalisea V. Brown on February 14, 2018, and an
Opening Memorandum [DE 19], filed August 16, 2018. Plaintiff
requests that the decision of the Administrative Law Judge be
reversed and remanded for further proceedings. On September
12, 2018, the Commissioner filed a response, and on October
4, 2018, Plaintiff filed a reply.
November 18, 2013, Plaintiff filed applications for benefits
alleging that she became disabled on June 30, 2012.
Plaintiff's applications were denied initially and upon
reconsideration. On November 9, 2016, Administrative Law
Judge (“ALJ”) Edward Kristof held a hearing at
which Plaintiff, Plaintiff's case manager, and a
vocational expert (“VE”) testified. Plaintiff was
represented by an attorney at the hearing. On February 15,
2017, the ALJ issued a decision finding that Plaintiff was
made the following findings under the required five-step
1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the
Social Security Act through June 30, 2015.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since June 30, 2012, the alleged onset date.
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments:
fibromyalgia, mild degenerative changes in the lumbar spine
and mild degenerative changes in the cervical spine, sleep
apnea, mild right shoulder tendinosis and mild left
subacromial subdeltoid bursitis and focal tendinitis of the
shoulder, obesity, and a bipolar disorder versus depression.
4. 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
5. The claimant has the residual functional capacity to lift
and carry up to 10 pounds occasionally and nominal weight
frequently, stand and/or walk for about 2 hours of an 8 hour
workday and sit for about 6 hours of an 8 hour workday. She
uses a cane in one hand for standing and walking and cannot
operate a motor vehicle as part of her job duties. She can
occasionally bend and stoop, and never climb
ramps/stairs/ladders/ropes/scaffolds, kneel, crouch, or
crawl. She cannot reach overhead bilaterally and can perform
no more than frequent handling and fingering. She should
avoid exposure to workplace hazards including unprotected
heights or moving machinery. She is limited to simple,
routine, repetitive tasks; occasional interaction with
supervisors and coworkers; no interaction with the general
public; and cannot perform assembly line type of work or
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work.
7. The claimant was 45 years old, which is defined as a
younger individual age 45-49, on the alleged disability onset
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 using the
Medical-Vocational Rules as a framework supports a finding
that the claimant is “not disabled, ” ...