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Nobile v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec.

United States District Court, N.D. New York

July 19, 2017

TAMMY L. NOBILE, Plaintiff,
v.
COMM'R OF SOC. SEC., Defendants.

          LAW OFFICES OF STEVEN R. DOLSON, ESQ. Counsel for Plaintiff

          U.S. SOCIAL SECURITY ADMIN. OFFICE OF REG'L GEN. COUNSEL - REGION II HEETANO SHAMSOONDAR, ESQ. Counsel for Defendant

          DECISION and ORDER [1]

          DANIEL J. STEWART United States Magistrate Judge

         Currently before the Court, is this Social Security action filed by Tammy L. Nobile (“Plaintiff”) against the Commissioner of Social Security (“Defendant” or “the Commissioner”) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) seeking review of a denial of Disability Insurance Benefits and Supplemental Security Income. For the reasons set forth below, the decision of the Commissioner is reversed and this matter is remanded back to the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) for further proceedings.

         I. RELEVANT BACKGROUND

         A. Factual Background

         Plaintiff was born in 1966, making her 40 years old at her alleged onset date, 46 years old at the date last insured, and 48 years old at the date of the ALJ's decision. Plaintiff has a 12th grade education and past work as a cashier-checker. Generally, Plaintiff alleges disability consisting of nerve damage in her stomach caused by a surgical accident and seizures.

         B. Procedural History

         Plaintiff applied for Disability Insurance Benefits and Supplemental Security Income on June 25, 2013, alleging disability beginning July 1, 2007. Plaintiff's application was initially denied on November 27, 2013, after which she timely requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”). Plaintiff appeared at a hearing before ALJ Terence Farrell on March 8, 2015. On June 19, 2015, the ALJ issued a written decision finding Plaintiff not disabled under the Social Security Act. (T. 14-32.)[1] On June 15, 2016, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review, making the ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner. (T. 1-3.)

         C. The ALJ's Decision

         Generally, in his decision, the ALJ made the following six findings of fact and conclusions of law. (T. 12-21.) First, the ALJ found that Plaintiff was insured for disability benefits under Title II until December 31, 2012. (T. 16.) Second, the ALJ found that Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since the alleged onset date. (Id.) Third, the ALJ found that Plaintiff's seizure disorder, cervical degenerative disc disease, lumbar spondylosis with radiculopathy, right shoulder rotator cuff tendonitis and calcific bursitis, chronic abdominal pain status-post surgery, major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and panic disorder are severe impairments. (T. 17.) Fourth, the ALJ found that Plaintiff's severe impairments do not meet or medically equal one of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. § 404, Subpart P, App. 1 (the “Listings”). (T. 17-20.)

         More specifically, the ALJ considered Listing 1.02 (major dysfunction of a joint), 1.04 (disorders of the spine), 11.00 (neurological disorders), 12.04 (mood disorders), and 12.06 (anxiety disorders). (Id.) Fifth, the ALJ found that Plaintiff has the residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform

light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b). She can lift, carry, push, and/or pull up to twenty pounds occasionally and ten pounds frequently, and can sit for up to six hours in an eight-hour workday with normal breaks. While she can stand and/or walk for a total of six hours in an eight-hour workday with normal breaks, she is limited to standing for approximately sixty minutes at a time, after which she must have the freedom to sit for a few minutes before resuming standing. Moreover, walking is limited to short distances of approximately one block at a time several times per day. The claimant can occasionally balance, crawl, crouch, stoop, kneel, and climb ramps and stairs, but can never climb ladders, ropes or scaffolds. She is further limited to only occasional reaching with her non-dominant upper extremity, and must avoid all exposure to workplace hazards such as unprotected heights and dangerous machinery. Additionally, she is limited to simple, unskilled work.

(T. 20.) Sixth, the ALJ found that Plaintiff remains able to perform her past relevant work as a cashier-checker as generally and ...


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