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Hankinson v. Commissioner of Social Security

United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Division

December 9, 2019

MATICIA A. HANKINSON, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

          JAMES L. GRAHAM JUDGE

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Elizabeth P. Deavers Chief Magistrate Judge

         Plaintiff, Maticia A. Hankinson, brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) for review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security (“Commissioner”) denying her application for disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income. This matter is before the United States Magistrate Judge for a Report and Recommendation on Plaintiff's Statement of Errors (ECF No. 9), the Commissioner's Memorandum in Opposition (ECF No. 16), Plaintiff's Reply (ECF No. 17), and the administrative record (ECF No. 7). For the reasons that follow, it is RECOMMENDED that the decision of the Commissioner be REVERSED and that this action be REMANDED under Sentence Four of § 405(g).

         I. BACKGROUND

         In May 2014, Plaintiff filed an application for supplemental security income, and in July 2014, she applied for disability insurance benefits, alleging that she had been disabled since June 30, 2011. (R. at 84-85, 106-07, 166-73.) Plaintiff's applications were denied initially and upon reconsideration. (R. at 134-39, 141-45.) Plaintiff sought a de novo hearing before an administrative law judge. (R. at 146-47.) Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Paul E. Yerian held a hearing on September 23, 2016, at which Plaintiff, who was represented by counsel, appeared and testified. (R. at 51-79.) On December 30, 2016, the ALJ issued a decision finding that Plaintiff was not disabled within the meaning of the Social Security Act. (R. at 33-45.) On November 30, 2017, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review and adopted the ALJ's decision as the Commissioner's final decision. (R. at 1-6.) Plaintiff then timely commenced the instant action.

         II. RELEVANT MEDICAL RECORDS

         On August 11, 2014, Cynthia Waggoner, Psy.D., a state-agency psychologist, reviewed Plaintiff's medical record. (R. at 91-93, 101-03.) Dr. Waggoner opined that Plaintiff was able to perform tasks that require no more than superficial social interactions, infrequent changes, and no strict production quotas. (R. at 92-93, 102-03.) Dr. Waggoner further opined that Plaintiff was able to perform simple, repetitive one to two step tasks. (R. at 92, 102.)

         On November 8, 2014, Karen Terry, Ph.D., a state-agency psychologist, reviewed the medical record upon reconsideration. (R. at 116-18, 129-31.) Dr. Terry opined Plaintiff had, inter alia, the following restrictions:

[C]lmt is able to perform simple, repetitive, one to two step tasks. . . .Claimant can relate superficially and minimally with others; however, she will perform optimally in a more solitary setting, where she doesn't have to work around large groups of people and she is not required to interact with the general public. . . . Clmt is able to perform tasks that require infrequent changes, no strict production quotas. Due to her anxiety, she should not be made to travel in unfamiliar places, frequently interact with unfamiliar others, or use public transportation as a part of her job duties.

(R. at 117-18, 130-31.)

         III. ADMINISTRATIVE DECISION

         On December 30, 3016, the ALJ issued his decision. (R. at 33-45.) The ALJ found that Plaintiff met the special earnings requirements of the Social Security Act on the alleged onset date through December 31, 2016. (R. at 35.) At step one of the sequential evaluation process, [1]the ALJ found that Plaintiff had not engaged in substantially gainful activity since her alleged onset date of June 30, 2011. (Id.)

         At step two, the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff had the following severe impairments: obesity, hypertension, an affective disorder, an anxiety disorder, and a personality disorder. (R. at 36.)

         At step three of the sequential process, the ALJ concluded that that Plaintiff did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that met or medically equaled one of the listed impairments described in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. ...


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