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Rhode v. Saul

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

August 19, 2019

KENNETH L. RHODE, 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 Kenneth L. Rhode on March 29, 2018, and Plaintiff's Opening Brief [DE 19], filed September 24, 2018. Plaintiff requests that the decision of the Administrative Law Judge be reversed and remanded for further proceedings. On November 6, 2018, the Commissioner filed a response, and on November 26, 2018, Plaintiff filed a reply.

         I. Background

         On June 18, 2014, Plaintiff filed an application for benefits alleging that he became disabled on January 15, 2013. Plaintiff's application was denied initially and upon reconsideration. On August 3, 2016, Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) William Spalo held a video hearing at which Plaintiff, with an attorney, and a vocational expert (“VE”) testified. On August 29, 2016, 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 met the insured status of the Social Security Act through December 31, 2018.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since October 26, 2013, the day after the previous final determination.
3. The claimant has severe impairments: left vision loss secondary to an optic arterial stroke, diabetes mellitus, and hypertension.
4. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meet or medically equal the severity of one the listed impairments in 20 CFR 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1.
5. The claimant had the residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform light work, except: no climbing ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. No. crawling with only occasional climbing ramps or stairs; occasional balancing, stooping, crouching, and kneeling. Claimant must avoid all exposure to all hazards. Claimant has no visual acuity, but retains the ability to tolerate occasional depth perception, but he cannot drive as a condition of employment.
6. The claimant is capable of performing past relevant work as a private investigator. This work does not require the performance of work-related activities precluded by the claimant's (“RFC”).
7. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from October 26, 2013, through the date of the 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 ...


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