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Bateman v. Saul

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

August 8, 2019

TAMERA L. BATEMAN, Plaintiff,
v.
ANDREW SAUL, Commissioner of the 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 Tamera L. Bateman on May 18, 2018, and Plaintiff's Opening Brief [DE 14], filed September 20, 2018. Plaintiff requests that the decision of the Administrative Law Judge be reversed and remanded for further proceedings. On December 28, 2018, the Commissioner filed a response, and on February 5, 2019, Plaintiff filed a reply.

         I. Background

         On February 18, 2014, Plaintiff filed applications for benefits alleging that she became disabled on January 1, 2014. Plaintiff's application was denied initially and upon reconsideration. On May 23, 2016, Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Dennis Kramer held a video hearing, at which Plaintiff, with an attorney, a medical expert (“ME”), and a vocational expert (“VE”) testified. On June 21, 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's date last insured was December 31, 2018.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since January 1, 2014, the alleged onset date.
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: hepatitis C, osteoarthritis of the spine and knees, irritable bowel syndrome and headaches.
4. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of one of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(d), 404.1525, 404.1526, 416.920(d), 416.925, and 416.926).
5. The claimant has the residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform light work as defined in 20 C.F.R. § 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b) except the claimant is able to sit for four hours in an eight hour workday, is unable to climb ladders, ropes or scaffolds, can occasionally climb ramps and stairs, balance, stoop, kneel, crouch or crawl and must avoid all exposure to hazards such as unprotected heights and dangerous machinery, more than occasional exposure to operating a motor vehicle and excessive vibrations and more than frequent exposure to humidity and wetness, pulmonary irritants such as dust, fumes and gasses and extreme heat.
6. The claimant is capable of performing past relevant work as a cashier, fast food worker, sandwich maker, and waitress. This work does not require the performance of work-related activities precluded by the claimant's residual functional capacity.
7. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from January 1, 2014, through the date of this decision.

         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. [DE 25]. Therefore, this Court has jurisdiction to decide ...


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