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.

Stephens v. Berryhill

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

April 24, 2018

Kirk W. Stephens, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Nancy A. Berryhill, Deputy Commissioner for Operations, Social Security Administration, Defendant-Appellee.

          Argued April 21, 2017

          Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division. No. 15-CV-00043 - Joseph S. Van Bokkelen, Judge.

          Before Wood, Chief Judge, Sykes, Circuit Judge, and Coleman, District Judges. [*]

          Coleman, District Judge.

         Kirk W. Stephens contends that he is disabled by diabetes, kidney disease, knee and back pain, heart disease, high blood pressure, asthma, arthritis, and obesity. He applied for and was denied Supplement Security Income ("SSI") benefits; on review the district court reversed and remanded for a new hearing. Following the second hearing, a different Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") determined that Stephens' impairments, although severe, were not disabling and that he could perform relevant past work. The district court upheld the agency's decision. We affirm.

         I. Background

         Stephens was born in 1957 and has a ninth grade education. He worked as a taxi dispatcher and a security guard in the 15 years preceding his alleged disability. Stephens has a family history of diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. Several of his family members suffered heart attacks in their sixties.

         Stephens has an extensive history of medical ailments. He was a pack a day smoker for 20 years, quitting in June 1998. In 1999, Stephens was diagnosed with diabetes mellitus, type 2. Shortly after moving in with his mother and uncle, Stephens contracted pneumonia. In 2000, he had surgery to resolve a problem with "redundant foreskin, " which was not entirely successful. In 2003, Stephens was diagnosed with hypertension and was referred for evaluation for chronic kidney disease. Stephens was also suffering from insomnia, reflux, and renal artery disease.

         By 2006, Stephens had persistent pain in his neck and mid-back. His body mass index ("BMI") fluctuated from 38.14 to 43.7 between 2008 and 2013, the available time frame.

         In July 2009, Stephens was having problems sleeping, causing daytime sleepiness. Dr. Hector Perez noted "diabetic nephrology" in August 2009. While examining Stephens for pain in his left thumb, right shoulder, hips, and knees in July 2010, Dr. Christopher LaSalle noted the following ailments: fecal incontinence, insomnia, night sweats, urinary retention, and sleep apnea. Dr. William Smits diagnosed sleep apnea and sleep disturbance in August 2010 and sent Stephens to a sleep specialist, Dr. Sanjay Jain, who performed a CPAP sleep study. Stephens began with a nasal mask for the CPAP but switched to a face mask because it was uncomfortable.

         By October 2010, activity aggravated Stephens' knee pain, which improved with rest. He continued to suffer from insomnia, shortness of breath, and urinary retention and weakness. He also had chronic inflammation of the foreskin tissue that was unresolved by circumcision in 2000. A second circumcision to remove the irritated foreskin helped, though he still had trouble urinating. In November 2010, he under- went surgery for prostate issues that caused him to take up to two minutes to void. Following the prostate surgery, his condition improved but was not completely resolved.

         Stephens had trouble adjusting to the CPAP, and his insomnia persisted without regular use of the CPAP. He suffered from ongoing fecal incontinence, urinary retention and weakness, and lumbar back pain. Dr. Sanjay Patel noted intermittent symptoms of Chronic Kidney Disease. By November 2012, Stephens used his nebulizer two to three times a day. Dr. Guy Asher opined that Stephens' hypertension and diabetes were causing Chronic Kidney Disease. Dr. Asher also noted anemia and hyperparathyroid issues.

         Stephens applied for SSI benefits, asserting a disability onset date of January 5, 2007. The ALJ considered the application and issued an unfavorable decision on October 24, 2011. The district court reversed and remanded for a new hearing.

         Stephens filed a subsequent application for SSI, and the State Agency issued a favorable decision, finding Stephens disabled from the date of his application on March 18, 2013. The agency did not address the period between January 5, 2007, and March 18, 2013. On September 26, 2014, following the remand from the district court, a different ALJ held a second ...


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.