United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION ON PLAINTIFF'S BRIEF IN
SUPPORT OF APPEAL
Baker United States Magistrate Judge.
appeals the Social Security Administration's denial of
her application for disability insurance benefits.
Plaintiff's sole argument on appeal is that the ALJ
improperly rejected the opinion of a consultative examining
physician. As explained below, the ALJ's decision is
supported by substantial evidence and provides a good
explanation as to why the ALJ did not adapt a portion of that
physician's functional limitation recommendations.
Therefore, Plaintiff's request for remand should be
filed an application for a period of disability and
disability insurance benefits. The Social Security
Administration denied her claim initially and upon
reconsideration. After a hearing, the ALJ determined that
Plaintiff was not disabled.
considered Plaintiff's claim for benefits according to 20
C.F.R. § 404.1520(a). First, the ALJ found Plaintiff met
the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act
through December 31, 2017. Subsequently, at step one, the ALJ
determined that Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial
gainful activity since the alleged onset date. At step two,
the ALJ found that Plaintiff has the following severe
impairments: osteoarthritis and allied disorders and organic
mental disorder. The ALJ noted that these impairments
significantly limit the ability to perform basic work
activities as required by SSR 85-28.
three, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff did not have an
impairment or combination of impairments that met or
medically equaled the severity of one of the listed
impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. Before
reaching step four, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had the
residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined
in 20 CFR 404.1567(b), except:
[Plaintiff] can lift twenty pounds occasionally and lift and
carry ten pounds frequently. She can stand and/or walk six
hours each and sit for six hours in an eight-hour workday.
She can occasionally climb ramps and stairs, but cannot climb
ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. She can occasionally balance on
a level surface. She can occasionally stoop, kneel, crouch,
and crawl. Lastly, she can understand, remember, and carry
out simple, routine, and repetitive tasks with little to no
[Filing No. 5-2, at ECF p. 28.]
at step four, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff could perform
past relevant work as a housekeeper/cleaner because this work
does not require the performance of work-related activities
that are precluded by Plaintiff's residual functional
capacity. [Filing No. 5-2, at ECF p. 31.] The ALJ
concluded that Plaintiff was not disabled.
broadly argues that the ALJ erred as a matter of law in
determining that she is not entitled to Social Security
benefits and that the ALJ's decision is not supported by
substantial evidence. [Filing No. 8, at ECF p. 1.]
The Court reviews the ALJ's decision to determine whether
the factual findings in the decision are supported by
substantial evidence. See, e.g., Biestek v.
Berryhill, __ U.S. __, __, 139 S.Ct. 1148, 1153 (2019)
(“On judicial review, an ALJ's factual findings . .
. shall be conclusive if supported by substantial
evidence.” (Internal quotation marks omitted).
“The court is not to reweigh evidence, resolve
conflicts, decide questions of credibility, or substitute its
judgment for that of the Commissioner. Where substantial
evidence supports the ALJ's disability determination, we
must affirm the decision even if reasonable minds could
differ concerning whether the claimant is disabled.”
Burmester v. Berryhill, 920 F.3d 507, 510 (7th Cir.
2019) (internal citations, quotation marks, and brackets
Plaintiff contends that the ALJ improperly rejected the
opinion of examining physician Gregory M. French, MD.
[Filing No. 8, at ECF p. 6.] Plaintiff notes that
Dr. French opined that Plaintiff could sit for 30 minutes,
stand for 15 minutes, and walk for 15 minutes at one time
without interruption and could sit, stand, or walk for a
total of two hours each in an eight-hour workday. [Filing
No. 8, at ECF P. 7.] The ALJ, by contrast, concluded