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Rozivka v. Berryhill

United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division

November 28, 2017

ANNIE C. ROZIVKA PLAINTIFF
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration DEFENDANT

          RECOMMENDED DISPOSITION

         The following Recommended Disposition ("Recommendation") has been sent to United States District Judge James M. Moody, Jr. You may file written objections to all or part of this Recommendation. If you do so, those objections must: (1) specifically explain the factual and/or legal basis for your objections; and (2) be received by the Clerk of this Court within fourteen (14) days of this Recommendation. By not objecting, you may waive the right to appeal questions of fact.

         I. Introduction:

         Plaintiff, Annie C. Rozivka, applied for disability income benefits and supplemental security income benefits on May 30, 2012, alleging a disability onset date of February 8, 2012, which was also the date of an unfavorable decision from a prior application. (Tr. at 12, 107). After conducting a hearing on June 6, 2013, the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") denied Rozivka's application, in a decision dated February 21, 2014. (Tr. at 107-118). The Appeals Council remanded the case to the same ALJ with the following instructions (Tr. at 125-126):

1) consider whether good cause exists to reopen the prior unfavorable decision issued on February 8, 2012, in accordance with HALLEX 1-2-9-40;
2) consider evidence submitted after the hearing and further develop the medical evidence as needed;
3) further evaluate the RFC with particular emphasis on the opinion of treating physician Graham Reid, M.D., to which the ALJ gave little weight; and
4) obtain additional evidence from the Vocational Expert ("VE") with respect to the effect of assessed limitations on Rozivka's occupational base.

         On October 1, 2015, the same ALJ held a hearing, and on January 5, 2016, he issued the unfavorable decision that is the subject of this case. (Tr. at 12-23). The Appeals Council denied Rozivka's request for review. (Tr. at 1). The ALJ's decision now stands as the final decision of the Commissioner. Rozivka has requested judicial review.

         For the reasons stated below, this Court should reverse the ALJ's decision and remand for further review.

         II. The Commissioner's Decision:

         The ALJ found that Rozivka met the insured status requirements through March 31, 2013. (Tr. at 14). He found that she had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since the alleged onset date of February 8, 2012, although she had earned wages from the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism after the alleged onset date. (Tr. at 14-15). At Step Two, the ALJ found that Rozivka has the following severe impairments: coronary artery disease, disorder of the back, a mood disorder, and anxiety. (Tr. at 15).

         After finding that Rozivka's impairments did not meet or equal a listed impairment (Tr. at 15), the ALJ determined that Rozivka had the residual functional capacity ("RFC") to perform the full range of sedentary work, except that: (1) she could only occasionally climb, balance, crawl, kneel, stoop, and crouch; (2) she would be able to perform simple, routine, and repetitive tasks in a setting where interpersonal contact is incidental to the work performed; and (3) she could perform jobs where the supervision is simple, direct, and concrete. (Tr. at 16). Next, the ALJ determined that Rozivka was unable to perform any past relevant work. (Tr. at 22). Finally, relying upon the testimony of the Vocational Expert ("VE") at Step Five, the ALJ found that, based on Rozivka's age, education, work experience and RFC, jobs existed in significant numbers in the national economy that she could perform, specifically, document preparation clerk, addressing clerk, and nut sorter. (Tr. at 23). Consequently, the ALJ found that Rozivka was not disabled. Id.

         III. ...


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