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Swan v. Berryhill

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

June 19, 2019

CHRISTOPHER E. SWAN, 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 Christopher Swan on February 1, 2018, and Plaintiff's Brief in Support of Reversing the Decision of the Commissioner of Social Security [DE 18], filed August 17, 2018. Plaintiff requests that the decision of the Administrative Law Judge be reversed and remanded for further proceedings. On September 25, 2018, the Commissioner filed a response, and on October 15, 2018, Plaintiff filed a reply.

         I. Background

         On December 20, 2013, Plaintiff filed an application for benefits alleging that he became disabled on September 28, 2008. Plaintiff's application was denied initially and upon reconsideration. On August 5, 2016, Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Shane McGovern held a hearing, which was continued in order for Plaintiff to secure representation. A second hearing occurred on February 2, 2017, at which Plaintiff, with an attorney, and a vocational expert (“VE”) testified. On March 29, 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 had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since December 20, 2013, the application date.
2. The claimant has severe impairments: adjustment disorder; major depressive disorder; alcohol use disorder; cannabis use disorder; antisocial personality disorder; mood disorder NOS; mild lumbar spine degenerative disc disease and mild cervical spine degenerative disc disease.
3. Through the date last insured, the claimant did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that met or medically equal the severity of one the listed impairments in 20 CFR 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1.
4. Through the date last insured, the claimant had the residual functional capacity (RFC) to perform light work as defined in 20 C.F.R. § 416.967(b) except the claimant could never climb ladders, ropes or scaffolds; occasionally climb ramps and stairs, balance, stoop, kneel, crouch and crawl; never overhead reach on the right otherwise frequent reaching bilaterally; no exposure to moving mechanical parts or unprotected heights; simple, routine and repetitive tasks; no tandem tasks or teamwork where one production step is dependent upon a prior step; no interaction with the public and occasional interaction with coworkers and supervisors.
5. The claimant has no past relevant work.
6. The claimant was 39 years old at the time the application was filed, which is defined as a younger individual.
7. The claimant has at least a high school 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 were jobs that existed in significant numbers in the national ...

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