Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Bole v. Berryhill

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

March 12, 2018

HEATHER D. BOLE, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          DECISION AND ORDER

          NANCY JOSEPH United States Magistrate Judge.

         Heather Bole seeks judicial review of the final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration denying her claim for supplemental security income under the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). For the reasons stated below, the Commissioner's decision is reversed and the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this decision pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), sentence four.

         BACKGROUND

         Bole applied for supplemental security income, alleging she had been disabled since October 7, 2009 due to diabetes, a learning disability, seizures, and high blood pressure. (Tr. 258.) Bole's claims were denied initially and upon reconsideration. A hearing was held before an Administrative Law Judge on March 27, 2012. (Tr. 81.) On August 24, 2012, the ALJ issued an unfavorable decision (Tr. 40-54) and Bole requested Appeals Council review, which was denied (Tr. 20). Bole subsequently filed a civil action in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin and on November 9, 2015, I granted the parties' joint motion to remand Bole's case for further proceedings. (Tr. 953-54.)

         The Appeals Council issued a remand order on January 14, 2016, which directed that Bole's newly filed SSI application be consolidated with the old, remanded case. (Tr. 962-64.) A new hearing was held on April 26, 2016. (Tr. 863.) Bole, represented by counsel, testified at this hearing, as did Leslie Goldsmith, a vocational expert. (Id.)

         In a written decision issued June 2, 2016, the ALJ found Bole had the severe impairments of diabetes mellitus, left shoulder impairment, and bipolar disorder. (Tr. 835.) The ALJ further found that Bole did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that met or medically equaled one of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. pt. 404, subpt. P, app. 1 (the “Listings”). (Id.) The ALJ found Bole had the residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform light work with the following limitations: she can perform no more than five pounds lifting with her left hand; she is precluded from more than occasional climbing of ramps and stairs; she is precluded from any climbing of ropes, ladders or scaffolds; she is precluded from more than frequent reaching with her left (non-dominant) hand/arm; she is precluded from work exposing her to concentrated dust, fumes, smoke, chemicals or noxious gases; and she is precluded from work at unprotected heights, around dangerous machinery, or at temperature extremes. Bole was further limited to no more than frequent interaction with the general public and only occasional interaction with supervisors; she is limited to performing simple, routine tasks in a job requiring few, if any work place changes; she has limited reading and math abilities; and she is likely to be off task for about 5-10% of the workday in addition to regularly scheduled breaks from work.

         Bole subsequently filed this action in federal court, without Appeals Council review. (Pl.'s Br. at 2, Docket # 15.)

         DISCUSSION

         1. Applicable Legal Standards

         The Commissioner's final decision will be upheld if the ALJ applied the correct legal standards and supported his decision with substantial evidence. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g); Jelinek v. Astrue, 662 F.3d 805, 811 (7th Cir. 2011). Substantial evidence is not conclusive evidence; it is “such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.” Schaaf v. Astrue, 602 F.3d 869, 874 (7th Cir. 2010) (internal quotation and citation omitted). Although a decision denying benefits need not discuss every piece of evidence, remand is appropriate when an ALJ fails to provide adequate support for the conclusions drawn. Jelinek, 662 F.3d at 811. The ALJ must provide a “logical bridge” between the evidence and conclusions. Clifford v. Apfel, 227 F.3d 863, 872 (7th Cir. 2000).

         The ALJ is also expected to follow the SSA's rulings and regulations in making a determination. Failure to do so, unless the error is harmless, requires reversal. Prochaska v. Barnhart, 454 F.3d 731, 736-37 (7th Cir. 2006). In reviewing the entire record, the court does not substitute its judgment for that of the Commissioner by reconsidering facts, reweighing evidence, resolving conflicts in evidence, or deciding questions of credibility. Estok v. Apfel, 152 F.3d 636, 638 (7th Cir. 1998). Finally, judicial review is limited to the rationales offered by the ALJ. Shauger v. Astrue, 675 F.3d 690, 697 (7th Cir. 2012) (citing SEC v. Chenery Corp., 318 U.S. 80, 93-95 (1943); Campbell v. Astrue, 627 F.3d 299, 307 (7th Cir. 2010)).

         2. Application to this Case

         Bole alleges that the ALJ erred in four ways. First, she argues the ALJ failed to consider the opinion of her treating mental health nurse practitioner. Second, she argues the ALJ improperly assessed her RFC as to her mental impairments. Third, she argues the ALJ improperly assessed her RFC as to her physical impairments. Finally, Bole argues the ALJ erred ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.