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Dawood v. Commissioner of Social Security

United States District Court, Sixth Circuit

September 24, 2013

DONINA DAWOOD, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

WILLIAM H. BAUGHMAN, Jr., Magistrate Judge.

Introduction

Before me[1] is an action by Donina Dawood under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) for judicial review of the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security denying her applications for disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income.[2] The Commissioner has answered[3] and filed the transcript of the administrative record.[4] Under my initial order[5] and procedural order, [6] the parties have briefed their positions[7] and filed supplemental charts[8] and the fact sheet.[9] The parties have participated in a telephonic oral argument.[10]

For the reasons that follow, the decision of the Commissioner will be reversed as not supported by substantial evidence, and the matter remanded for further proceedings.

Facts

A. Background facts and decision of the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ")

Dawood, who was 18 years old as of the alleged onset date, is a high school graduate with two years of college and is a certified state tested nursing assistant.[11] Despite that background and training, Dawood testified that she has not been able to work consistently because of complications from her Crohn's disease.[12]

The ALJ, whose decision became the final decision of the Commissioner, found that Dawood had severe impairments consisting of Crohn's disease including history of ileocectomy [sic] with ileocolic anastomosis and regional enterisits [sic], anemia, hiatal hernia, obesity, major depression, and personality disorder with borderline features.[13] The ALJ concluded that none of Dawood's impairments met or equaled a listing but did find that she had moderate difficulties with regard to concentration, persistence, and pace.[14]

The ALJ then made the following finding regarding Dawood's residual functional capacity:

After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform sedentary work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(a) and 416.967(a) except for the following limitations:
• The claimant can lift 10 pounds frequently, and 15 pounds occasionally
• She can never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds
• She can only occasionally stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl
• She requires access to a restroom as needed within a five minute ...

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