United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
OPINION AND ORDER
S. VAN BOKKELEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Doloris T. seeks judicial review of the decision denying her
disability benefits and asks this Court to remand the case.
For the reasons below, this Court remands the ALJ's
Overview of the Case
alleges that she became disabled on January 1, 2010. (R. at
159.) She meets insurance requirements through September 30,
2015. (R. at 159.) Before filing for disability, Plaintiff
worked with various home healthcare providers as a home
health aide from 1998 until 2010. (R. at 150-53.) Plaintiff
claims disability as of January 1, 2010, due to a combination
of damage to her knees as well as a near-total tear of the
supraspinatus. (R. at 44.) The Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) found that Plaintiff was able to perform
a number of jobs in the national and local economy. (R. at
26.) As a result, the ALJ denied her disability benefit
request on August 26, 2016. (R. at 27.)
Standard of Review
Court has authority to review the Commissioner's decision
under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). The Court will ensure that the
ALJ built an “accurate and logical bridge” from
evidence to conclusion. Thomas v. Colvin, 745 F.3d
802, 806 (7th Cir. 2014). This requires the ALJ to
“confront the [plaintiff's] evidence” and
“explain why it was rejected.” Thomas v.
Colvin, 826 F.3d 953, 961 (7th Cir. 2016). The Court
will uphold decisions that apply the correct legal standard
and are supported by substantial evidence. Briscoe ex
rel. Taylor v. Barnhart, 425 F.3d 345, 351 (7th Cir.
2005). Evidence is substantial if “a reasonable mind
might accept [it] as adequate to support [the ALJ's]
conclusion.” Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S.
389, 401 (1971).
determine eligibility for disability benefits under the
Social Security Act, the ALJ will perform a five-step
“(1) whether the claimant is currently employed; (2)
whether the claimant has a severe impairment; (3) whether the
claimant's impairment is one that the Commissioner
considers conclusively disabling; (4) if the claimant does
not have a conclusively disabling impairment, whether he can
perform his past relevant work; and (5) whether the claimant
is capable of performing any work in the national
Kastner v. Astrue, 697 F.3d 642, 646 (7th Cir.
burden of proof resides with the claimant for the first four
steps, shifting to the Commissioner for determination of
disability at step five. Clifford v. Apfel, 227 F.3d
863, 868 (7th Cir. 2000).
asserts the ALJ committed reversible error in assessing an
RFC which did not include her limitations from her tear of
the supraspinatus (Pl.'s Br. at 1). The ALJ is required
to consider all the relevant available medical evidence.
Garfield v. Schweiker, 732 F.2d 605, 609 (7th Cir.
1984). The ALJ must also build an “accurate and logical
bridge” from evidence to conclusion. Thomas v.
Colvin, 745 F.3d 802, 806 (7th Cir. 2014). Here, the ALJ
mentions the tear of the supraspinatus, but fails to assess
the impact of this severe tear upon Plaintiff's RFC. (R.
at 23). This does not meet the requirement of providing a
“logical bridge” as required to follow the
the ALJ notes that while there is “no evidence of the
claimant undergoing right shoulder surgery . . . lack of
complaints related to right shoulder pain since . . . June
2014 suggests that any surgical intervention was
successful.” Id. This statement implies that
the ALJ considered a possibility that surgical intervention
took place without any underlying evidence of such surgery.
The ALJ is not permitted to “cherry-pick facts that
support a finding of non-disability while ignoring evidence
that points to a disability finding.” Denton v.
Astrue, 596 F.3d 419, 425 (7th Cir. 2010). Implying that
a lack of further complaints suggests that successful
surgical intervention may have taken place is a step beyond
the cherry-picking of certain facts in evidence forbidden by
Denton and ...