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Stanton v. Berryhill

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

February 26, 2019

JAMES E. STANTON, 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 James E. Stanton, and Plaintiff's Memorandum in Support of Reversing the Decision of the Commissioner of Social Security [DE 15], filed June 4, 2018. Plaintiff requests that the decision of the Administrative Law Judge be reversed and remanded for further proceedings. On July 16, 2018, the Commissioner filed a response, and on July 30, 2018, Plaintiff filed a reply. For the following reasons, the Court grants Plaintiff's request for remand.

         I. Background

         On January 26, 2015, Plaintiff filed an application for benefits alleging disability beginning December 1, 2006. Plaintiff's application was denied initially and upon reconsideration. On January 13, 2017, Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Diane S. Davis held a video hearing at which Plaintiff, with counsel, and a vocational expert (“VE”) testified. On Feburary 7, 2017, 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 January 26, 2015, the application date.
2. The claimant has the following severe impairments: depression.
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 the following non-exertional limitations: The claimant cannot climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds, and should avoid work involving hazards such as unprotected heights and moving mechanical parts. He can understand, remember, and carry out simple, routine tasks involving only simple, work-related decisions. He can adapt to routine workplace changes. The claimant can work in proximity to others and tolerate occasional interaction with others. He can persist in such activities in two-hour intervals with adequate pace and perseverance.
5. The claimant has no past relevant work.
6. The claimant was 48 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the date the application was filed. The claimant subsequently changed age category to closely approaching advanced age.
7. The claimant has a limited education and is able to communicate in English.
8. Transferability of job skills is not an issue because the claimant does not have past relevant work.
9. Considering the claimant's age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity, there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national ...

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