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Grimes v. Colvin

United States District Court, S.D. Alabama, Southern Division

June 3, 2015

CATHY HAMILTON GRIMES, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

WILLIAM E. CASSADY, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff brings this action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1383(c)(3), seeking judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security denying her claim for supplemental security income benefits. The parties have consented to the exercise of jurisdiction by the Magistrate Judge, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), for all proceedings in this Court. ( Compare Doc. 28 ("In accordance with provisions of 28 U.S.C. §636(c) and Fed.R.Civ.P. 73, the parties in this case consent to have a United States magistrate judge conduct any and all proceedings in this case, ... order the entry of a final judgment, and conduct all post-judgment proceedings.") with Doc. 29 (endorsed order referring this matter to the undersigned for all proceedings).) Upon consideration of the administrative record, plaintiff's brief, and the Commissioner's brief, it is determined that the Commissioner's decision denying benefits should be reversed and remanded for further proceedings not inconsistent with this decision.[1]

Plaintiff alleges disability due to obesity, osteoarthritis, plantar warts/callosity, chronic pain syndrome, a learning disability, and anxiety disorder. The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) made the following relevant findings:

1. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since March 26, 2012, the application date (20 CFR 416.971 et seq. ).
2. The claimant has the following severe impairments: obesity, osteoarthritis, pain disorder, learning disability, and anxiety disorder (20 CFR 416.920(c)).
...
3. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR 416.920(d), 416.925 and 416.926).
...
The severity of the claimant's mental impairments, considered singly and in combination, do not meet or medically equal the criteria of listing 12.06. In making this finding, the undersigned has considered whether the "paragraph B" criteria are satisfied. To satisfy the "paragraph B" criteria, the mental impairments must result in at least two of the following: marked restriction of activities of daily living; marked difficulties in maintaining social functioning; marked difficulties in maintaining concentration, persistence, or pace; or repeated episodes of decompensation, each of extended duration. A marked limitation means more than moderate but less than extreme. Repeated episodes of decompensation, each of extended duration, means three episodes within 1 year, or an average of once every 4 months, each lasting for at least 2 weeks.
In activities of daily living, the claimant has mild restriction. She drives and has an active driver's license. She has no problem with her personal hygiene matters. She can do laundry and maintain her household chores, prepare simple meals, and shop for the things she needs.
In social functioning, the claimant has mild difficulties. She lives in an apartment with her adult son. She has been married twice and has four adult children.... She attends church regularly, goes swimming, and to the park. She gets along well with authority figures but has been fired fr not getting along with others.
With regard to concentration, persistence or pace, the claimant has moderate difficulties. She watches television, can pay bills, count change, use checkbooks or money orders, and handles a savings account. She can drive and pay attention at church.
As for episodes of decompensation, the claimant has experienced one or two episodes of decompensation, each of extended duration. The claimant denied any psychiatric hospitalizations other than a single commitment to Altapointe in 2011.
Because the claimant's mental impairments do not cause at least two "marked" limitations or one "marked" limitation and "repeated" episodes of decompensation, each of extended ...

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