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Montoya v. Saul

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

August 14, 2019

DONALD N. MONTOYA, 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 Donald Montoya on January 12, 2018, and Plaintiff's Brief in Support of Reversing the Decision of the Commissioner of Social Security [DE 14], filed July 19, 2018. Plaintiff requests that the decision of the Administrative Law Judge be reversed and remanded for further proceedings. On August 29, 2018, the Commissioner filed a response, and on September 27, 2018, Plaintiff filed a reply.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff was previously found disabled as of September 2, 2010, in a determination dated June 21, 2011, but on November 3, 2014, it was determined that as of November 1, 2014, Plaintiff was no longer disabled. This determination was upheld initially and upon reconsideration. On January 23, 2017, Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Jennifer Smiley held a video hearing, at Plaintiff, with an attorney, and a vocational expert (“VE”) testified. On February 22, 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 is December 31, 2015.
2. The most recent favorable medical decision finding that the claimant was disabled is the determination dated June 21, 2011. This is known as the “comparison point decision” (“CPD”).
3. At the time of the CPD, the claimant had the following medically determinable impairments: cell-mediated immunity defect and mycobacterium tuberculosis.
4. Through December 31, 2015, the claimant's date last insured, the claimant did not engage in substantial gainful activity.
5. The medical evidence establishes that, from November 1, 2014 to the date last insured, the claimant had the following severe medically determinable impairments: psoriatic arthritis; joint dysfunction; degenerative disc disease; and obesity.
6. 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.
7. Medical improvement occurred on November 1, 2014.
8. The medical improvement is related to the ability to work because, by November 1, 2014, the claimant's CPD impairments no longer met or medically equaled the same listing(s) that was met at the time of the CPD.
9. From November 1, 2014 to December 31, 2015, the claimant continued to have a severe impairment or ...

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