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.

SKLENAR v. BARNHART

March 28, 2002

KATHLEEN SKLENAR, PLAINTIFF, JO ANNE B. BARNHART, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.[FN1]


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Standish, District Judge.

MEMORANDUM ORDER

On January 17, 2001, this case was referred to United States Magistrate Judge Francis X. Caiazza for pretrial proceedings in accordance with the Magistrates Act, 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(l)(A) and (B), and Rules 72.1.3 and 72.1.4 of the Local Rules for Magistrates.

On March 8, 2002, the magistrate judge issued a Report and Recommendation (Doc. 11) recommending that the District Court deny the Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 9), grant the Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 7), and remand the case to the Commissioner of Social Security for further proceedings as consistent with the Report and Recommendation.

Service of the Report and Recommendation was made on all parties, and no objections have been filed. After a review of the pleadings and documents in the case, together with the Report and Recommendation, the following order is entered:

AND NOW, this 28th day of March, 2002, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that: the Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 9) is DENIED; the Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 7) is GRANTED; and this case is REMANDED FORTHWITH to the Commissioner of Social Security for further proceedings as consistent with the Report and Recommendation.

The Report and Recommendation of Magistrate Judge Caiazza dated March 8, 2002 is hereby adopted as the opinion of the court.

MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

I. RECOMMENDATION

It is recommended that the District Court: deny the Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 9); grant the Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 7); and remand this case to the Commissioner of Social Security for further proceedings.

II. REPORT

BACKGROUND

The Plaintiff Kathleen Sklenar ("Ms. Sklenar" or "the Claimant") filed protectively with the Social Security Administration ("the SSA" or "the Administration") applications for supplemental security income and disability insurance benefits (referred to collectively as "benefits") on May 25, 1999. See R. at 97-99, 273-75 (applications for benefits); see also id. at 117 ("Disability Report," identifying "[p]rotective filing date" of May 25, 1999). The purported onset date of her disability was November 30, 1997, when she allegedly became unable to work due to "alcohol abuse, anxiety [and a] sleep disorder." See generally R. at 97, 108.

The Administration denied Ms. Sklenar's applications for benefits initially and again upon reconsideration. See R. at 73, 75, 276, 282. Thereafter the Claimant requested a hearing, which was held before administrative law judge Kenneth Andrews ("the ALJ") on May 9, 2000.

On August 24, 2000, the ALJ issued a decision denying the Claimant's applications for benefits ("the ALJ's decision"). See R. at 12-19. In his decision, the ALJ highlighted and applied regulations promulgated under the Contract with America Advancement Act of 1996, Public Law 104-121 (hereinafter "P.L. 104-121"). See 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(2)(C); see also ALJ's Decision, R. at 13 (citing 20 C.F.R. § 416.935(b)); id. at 15-17 (analyzing same). That statute effectively "bar[red] the award of disability benefits based on alcoholism or drug addiction." See Torres v. Chater, 125 F.3d 166, 169 (3d Cir. 1997). The ALJ made the following findings and rulings relevant to P.L. 104-121:

The medical evidence establish[ed] that the claimant ha[d] severe depression, anxiety and alcoholism.*fn2 The claimant's conditions cause[d] limitations [that were] of a severity to satisfy Listings 12.04 [regarding affective disorders] and 12.09 regarding substance addiction disorders. If the claimant did not have a substance addiction disorder, her remaining impairments would be severe but would not meet or equal the criteria of any of the impairments listed in [the relevant regulations].

The claimant's statements concerning her non-alcohol related impairments and their impact of her ability to work [we]re not credible in light of medical treatment required by the claimant's medical history.

Absent an addiction disorder, the claimant would have [had] the residual functional capacity ["RFC"] for simple, routine, repetitive work with 1 to 2 step instructions, could only have occasional contact with coworkers and/or supervisors, and could only tolerate a low stress environment[,] which [wa]s defined as requiring few decisions.

The claimant's past relevant work as a dry cleaner/presser did not require the performance of work[-]related activities precluded by the above limitations. [Thus, t]he claimant's impairments [did] not prevent [her] from performing [such] past relevant work . . . .

The claimant ha[d] not been under a disability[,] as defined in the Social Security Act, at any time through the date of the [ALJ's] decision.*fn3

See ALJ's Decision, R. at 18.

The Claimant filed with the Appeals Council a request for review of the ALJ's decision, which the Council denied. See R. at 5-6 ("Action of Appeals Council on Request for Review"). The Council's denial of her request rendered the ALJ's decision "the final decision of ...


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.