United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
OPINION AND ORDER
E. MARTIN MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court on a Complaint [DE 1], filed by
Plaintiff Michael Bulla on December 14, 2017, and
Plaintiff's Brief in Support of Reversing the Decision of
the Commissioner of Social Security [DE 17], filed June 20,
2018. Plaintiff requests that the decision of the
Administrative Law Judge be reversed for an award of
benefits, or alternatively, reversed and remanded for further
proceedings. On August 27, 2018, the Commissioner filed a
response, and on October 2, 2018, Plaintiff filed a reply.
For the following reasons, the Court grants Plaintiff's
request for reversal, with remand for further proceedings.
November 16, 2011, Plaintiff filed an application for
benefits alleging that he became disabled on December 30,
2008. Plaintiff's application was denied initially and
upon reconsideration. On February 12, 2014, Administrative
Law Judge (“ALJ”) Patricia Witkowski Supergan
issued a decision finding that Plaintiff was not disabled,
and Plaintiff appealed the decision. On September 14, 2016,
this Court issued an opinion and order reversing and
remanding the ALJ's decision, and the Appeals Council
remanded the matter to the ALJ. On September 20, 2016, ALJ
Supergan held a video hearing at which Plaintiff, with an
attorney representative, a medical expert, and a vocational
expert testified. On September 13, 2017, the ALJ issued a
second decision finding that Plaintiff was not disabled.
made the following findings under the required five-step
1. The claimant met the insured status requirements of the
Social Security Act through December 31, 2008.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since the alleged onset date.
3. The claimant has had the following severe impairments:
obesity, degenerative joint disease of the left shoulder,
arthritis, osteoarthritis of the lumbar spine, and
4. The claimant has not had 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
(“RFC”) to perform light work as defined in 20
CFR 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b) except the claimant can never
climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds; occasionally climb ramps
and stairs, balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl;
frequently reach in all directions but not reach overhead
with both upper extremities; and frequently handle, finger,
and feel with both upper extremities. He can tolerate
occasional exposure to and/or occasionally work around
extreme cold and heat, wetness, vibration, and hazards such
as moving machinery or unprotected heights. He is limited to
performing simple routine tasks requiring no more than short
simple instructions and simple work-related decision making
with few workplace changes.
6. The claimant has no past relevant work.
7. Prior to the established disability onset date, the
claimant was an individual closely approaching advanced age.
On August 16, 2016, the claimant's age category changed
to an individual of advanced age.
8. The claimant has a limited education and is able to
communicate in English.
9. Transferability of job skills is not an issue in this case
because the claimant does not ...