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Coleman v. Commissioner, Social Security Administration

United States District Court, D. Colorado

December 11, 2018

MARCUS COLEMAN, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER, SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER REVERSING THE COMMISSIONER'S DECISION

          Marcia S. Krieger Chief United States District Judge

         THIS MATTER comes before the Court on the Plaintiff's Complaint (# 1), the Plaintiff's Opening Brief (# 17), the Defendant's Response (# 18), and the Plaintiff's Reply (# 21). For the following reasons, the Commissioner's decision is reversed and the matter is remanded for further proceedings.

         I. JURISDICTION

         The Court has jurisdiction over an appeal from a final decision of the Commissioner under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

         II. BACKGROUND

         A. Procedural History

         Marcus Coleman seeks judicial review of a final decision by the Commissioner denying his claim for disability insurance benefits (DIB) and supplemental security income (SSI) under the Social Security Act. In April 2014, Mr. Coleman filed for DIB and SSI, claiming he became disabled in September 2013. Tr. at 218-30. His application was denied at all administrative levels and he now appeals to this Court pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

         B. Factual Background

         The Court summarizes only the medical evidence relevant to its decision.

         At the time of his alleged onset of disability, Mr. Coleman was 34 years old. Tr. at 219. He was previously employed in a number of jobs, but primarily as a fire inspector. Tr. at 278. He claimed that he was disabled due to, among other things, back pain, migraines, and anxiety. Tr. at 79.

         In June 2016, a day after the administrative hearing in this case, Dr. Fernando Miranda wrote a brief opinion about Mr. Coleman's impairments. Tr. at 723. The opinion read: “Patient cannot sit or stand for long periods of time needs to sit and stand at will due to back, leg, neck pain.” Tr. at 723.

         C. The ALJ's Decision

         In October 2016, the ALJ issued an unfavorable decision to Mr. Coleman. Tr. at 20-31. At step one, the ALJ found that Mr. Coleman had not engaged in substantial gainful activity from September 18, 2013, through his date last insured of December 31, 2018. Tr. at 22. At step two, the ALJ found that Mr. Coleman had the following severe impairments: spine disorders, an anxiety disorder, and migraine headaches. Tr. at 22-23. At step three, she found that Mr. Coleman had no impairment that met or medically equaled the presumptively disabling conditions listed in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Appendix 1. Tr. at 23-24. The ALJ found that Mr. Coleman had the residual functional capacity (RFC) to perform light work with the following limitations: he must be able to switch between sitting and standing every 30 minutes if he desires; he can only occasionally stoop, or push and pull with his lower extremities; he can never climb ladders, ropes, and scaffolds; he can never be exposed to workplace hazards such as moving mechanical parts and unprotected heights; he must work indoors to avoid direct sunlight; he can only be exposed to a moderate noise intensity; he can have no more than occasional exposure to pulmonary irritants such as dusts, odors, fumes, and gases; he is limited to simple, routine, repetitive tasks and simple work-related decisionmaking; he cannot work at a production pace; he can only adjust to at most occasional changes in the general nature of the work setting or tasks to be performed; and he can have no more than occasional interaction with coworkers, supervisors, and the general public. Tr. at 25. At step four, the ALJ found that Mr. Coleman was unable to perform his past relevant work. Tr. at 29. At step five, the ALJ concluded that, considering Mr. Coleman's age, education, work experience, and RFC, he could perform the following jobs in the national economy: general office helper, mail sorter, and photocopy scanner operator. Tr. at 29-30. In crafting the RFC, the ALJ gave some weight to Dr. Miranda's opinion. Tr. at 28.

         III. ...


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