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.

Gibson v. Astrue

September 20, 2010

LOREN ERIC GIBSON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Arthur J. Schwab United States District Judge

Electronically Filed

MEMORANDUM OPINION

I.Introduction

Plaintiff Loren Eric Gibson ("Gibson") brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3), seeking judicial review of the final determination of the Commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner") denying his applications for disability insurance benefits ("DIB") and supplemental security income ("SSI") benefits under Titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act ("Act") [42 U.S.C. §§ 401-433, 1381-1383f]. Consistent with the customary practice in the Western District of Pennsylvania, the parties have filed cross-motions for summary judgment based on the record developed during the administrative proceedings. Doc. Nos. 7 & 9.

After careful consideration of the Commissioner‟s decision, the memoranda of the parties, and the entire evidentiary record, the Court concludes that the Commissioner‟s decision must be vacated, and that the case must be remanded for further proceedings pursuant to the fourth sentence of § 405(g). Therefore, the Court will deny the Commissioner‟s motion for summary judgment, deny Gibson‟s motion for summary judgment to the extent that it requests an award of benefits, and grant Gibson‟s motion for summary judgment to the extent that it seeks a vacation of the Commissioner‟s decision, and a remand for further administrative proceedings.

II.Procedural History

Gibson initially applied for DIB and SSI benefits on October 22, 2004, alleging that he had become disabled on October 2, 2003. R. 12. The claims proceeded through the administrative process and were ultimately denied in a decision dated March 20, 2007. R. 12. Gibson took no further action with respect to those applications. R. 12.

Gibson protectively applied for DIB and SSI benefits on February 14, 2008, alleging disability as of April 1, 2007. R. 106. The applications were administratively denied on April 16, 2008. R. 76, 80. Gibson responded by filing a timely request for an administrative hearing. On July 20, 2009, a hearing was held before Administrative Law Judge James Bukes (the "ALJ"). R. 50. Gibson, who was represented by counsel, appeared and testified at the hearing.

R. 52-68. Samuel Edelman ("Edelman"), an impartial vocational expert, also testified at the hearing. R. 69-71.

In a decision dated August 21, 2009, the ALJ determined that Gibson was not "disabled" within the meaning of the Act. R. 9-30. The Appeals Council denied Gibson‟s request for review on February 3, 2010, thereby making the ALJ‟s decision the final decision of the Commissioner in this case. R. 1. Gibson commenced this action on March 24, 2010, seeking judicial review of the Commissioner‟s decision. Doc. No. 1. Gibson and the Commissioner filed cross-motions for summary judgment on July 20, 2010. Doc. Nos. 7 & 9. These motions are the subject of this memorandum opinion.

III.Statement of the Case

In his decision, the ALJ made the following findings:

1. The claimant the met insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through March 30, 2009 (Exhibit 2D).

2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since April 1, 2007, the alleged onset date (20 CFR 404.1520(b), 404.1571 et seq., 416.920(b) and 416.971 et seq.).

3. The claimant has the following severe mental impairments: bipolar affective disorder and drug (cocaine) and alcohol abuse (20 CFR 404.1520(c) and 416.920(c)).

4. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR 404.1520(d) and 416.920(d)).

5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that, based on all of the impairments, including the substance use disorders, the claimant‟s [sic] residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b) except that he must avoid hazards such as moving machinery. In addition, he is limited to simple instructions, and should avoid extensive supervision, changes in the work setting, and assembly line pace work. Moreover, he would have difficulty maintaining regular attendance, would on average miss more than three days per month from work, and would be incapable of handling any stress in the work setting.

6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work (20 CFR 404.1565 and 416.965).

7. The claimant was 35 years old on the alleged disability onset date and defined as a younger individual age 18-49 (20 CFR 404.1563 and 416.963).

8. The claimant has the equivalent of a high school education and is able to communicate in English (20 CFR 404.1564 and 416.964).

9. The claimant‟s acquired job skills do not transfer to other occupations within the residual functional capacity defined above (Vocational expert testimony; 20 CFR 404.1568 and 416.968).

10. Considering the claimant‟s age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity based on all of the impairments, including the substance use disorders, there are no jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that the claimant can perform (20 CFR 404.1560(c), 404.1566, 416.960(c), and 416.966).

11. If the claimant stopped the substance use, the remaining limitations would cause more than a minimal impact on the claimant‟s ability to perform basic work activities; therefore, the claimant would continue to have a severe impairment or combination of impairments.

12. If the claimant stopped the substance use, the claimant would not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals any of the impairments listed in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR 404.1520(d) and 416.920(d)).

13. If the claimant stopped the substance use, the claimant would have the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b) except that he must avoid hazards such as moving machinery. In addition, he is limited to simple instructions, and should avoid extensive supervision, changes in the work setting, and assembly line pace work.

14. If the claimant stopped the substance use, the claimant would continue to be unable to perform past relevant work (20 CFR 404.1565 and 416.965).

15. Transferability of job skills is not material to the determination of disability because using the Medical-Vocational Rules as a framework supports a finding that the claimant is "not disabled," whether or not the claimant has transferable job skills (See SSR 82-41 and 20 CFR Part 404, Pubpart P, Appendix 2).

16. If the claimant stopped the substance use, considering the claimant‟s age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity, there would be a significant number of jobs in the national economy that the claimant could perform (20 CFR 404.1560(c), 404.1566, 416.960(c), and 416.966).

17. Because the claimant would not be disabled if he stopped the substance use (20 CFR 404.1520(g) and 416.920(g)), the claimant‟s substance use disorders is a contributing factor material to the determination of disability (20 CFR 404.1535 and 416.935). Thus, the claimant has not been disabled within the meaning of the Social ...


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.