United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
JOHN BAKER, Plaintiff,
JO ANNE B. BARNHART, Commissioner of Social Security Defendant.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: MICHAEL MASON, Magistrate Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiff, John Baker ("Baker" or "plaintiff"), has brought a
motion for summary judgment seeking judicial review of the final
decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security
Administration ("Commissioner" or "defendant"), who denied
Baker's claim for Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") under the
Social Security Act ("Act"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 416(i), 423(d),
1381a.*fn1 Defendant Barnhart filed a cross-motion for
summary judgment asking that we uphold the decision of the
Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"). We have jurisdiction to hear
this matter pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3). For
the following reasons, we grant plaintiff's motion and deny
defendant's motion, remanding this case to the ALJ for further
proceedings consistent with this opinion.
Prior to January 1, 1997, plaintiff received SSI benefits based
on an alcohol related disability. (R. 116). Baker's benefits were
discontinued on that date due to the enactment of Public Law 104-121. Public Law 104-121, known as the
"Contract With America Advancement Act of 1996", eliminated SSI
benefits for persons whose "alcoholism or drug addiction would be
a contributing factor material to the Commissioner's
determination that the individual is disabled."
18 U.S.C. § 423(d)(2)(c). Aware that his SSI benefits were about to be
terminated, on August 6, 1996, plaintiff filed an application for
disability benefits based on grounds other than alcoholism. His
application was denied both initially and upon reconsideration.
On February 26, 1997, Baker requested, and was granted, a hearing
before ALJ Alvin Liebling. (R. 114-20). ALJ Liebling issued an
opinion denying Baker's August 6, 1996 application for benefits
on January 1, 1997. (R. 120). Plaintiff filed an appeal with the
Appeals Counsel, which was denied initially. (R. 206-209).
Subsequently, the Appeals Counsel vacated its original order,
remanding Baker's case for further proceedings. (R. 207).
ALJ John K. Kraybill conducted a subsequent administrative
hearing on November 9, 2000. Plaintiff, his neighbor, Donna
Quince, and a medical expert ("ME"), Dr. Kenneth Kessler,
testified at the hearing. (R. 37). At the conclusion of the
hearing, ALJ Kraybill left the administrative record open to
allow for post-hearing psychological testing. Thereafter, ALJ
Kraybill conducted a follow-up hearing on June 2, 2001,*fn2
at which plaintiff, Dr. Kessler, and vocational expert ("VE"),
GleeAnn Kehr, testified. (R. 81). On June 25, 2001, ALJ Kraybill
issued a written decision denying plaintiff's application for SSI
benefits. (R. 19-25). The Appeals Council denied plaintiff's
request for review and ALJ Kraybill's decision became the final decision
of the Commissioner. See Zurawski v. Halter, 245 F.3d 881 (7th
Cir. 2001); Reg. § 416.1481. Plaintiff now appeals that decision
to this court.
1. Medical Evidence
Mr. Baker has been diagnosed with a right clavicle fracture
that healed in a deformed and displaced manner, peripheral
neuropathy of the left wrist, and a history of chronic alcohol
abuse.*fn3 The medical evidence plaintiff presented to the
ALJ included medical records from Silver Cross Hospital,
treatment notes from Dr. Joyce Allen, both physical and
psychological consultative examination reports, and a physical
residual functional capacity ("RFC") assessment.
On December 10, 1996, Disability Determination Services ("DDS")
physician Dr. Rito Maningo examined plaintiff. (R. 160-64).
During the examination, Baker complained of pain in his right
shoulder, numbness in the fingers on his left hand, and
occasional pain in his left wrist. Dr. Maningo noted that Baker
fractured his right clavicle in a car accident in the mid 1990s,
had a medial orbital fracture of the right orbit in April 1996,
and had surgery on his left wrist to repair severed nerves. He
also noted that Baker was right-handed and, without any problem,
could use his right hand to button and unbutton his shirt and tie
and unties his shoes.
Dr. Maningo did not note any evidence of acute inflammatory
conditions in Baker's left wrist or right clavicle. (R. 163). He also found
that plaintiff did not display atrophy or hypertrophy of the
muscles and that his gait and weight-bearing were normal. (R.
163). Ultimately, Dr. Maningo diagnosed Baker with chronic pain
in the right shoulder, peripheral neuropathy in his left wrist,
and a history of chronic ethanol abuse, currently in short-term
remission. (R. 164).
A physical RFC assessment dated December 17, 1996, reported
that Baker could lift up to fifty pounds occasionally, and
twenty-five pounds frequently. (R. 167). According to the RFC,
Baker could stand and/or walk about six hours in an eight-hour
day and could sit for a total of about six hours in an eight-hour
day. (R. 167). His ability to push and/or pull was unlimited and
he had no postural, visual, communicative, or environmental
limitations. (R. 168-71). However, plaintiff's ability to reach
in all directions with his right extremity was limited, but there
were no manipulative limitations for his left extremity. (R.
On July 9, 1998, Dr. James Ahstrom, an arthroscopic surgeon,
examined Baker. Dr. Ahstrom opined that plaintiff had an obvious
deformity in his right clavicle and that the right clavicle
fragments were significantly displaced. He also noted a limited
range of motion in Baker's right arm and shoulder. As for Baker's
left wrist, Dr. Ahstrom found limited motion and diminished
sensation over the tips of digits 2-5 on plaintiff's left hand
Dr. Ahstrom did not find any muscle atrophy, or real lack of
motion in the left hand However, he did note that Baker could
not touch his thumb to his pinky finger on his left hand and that
his grip was stronger with his right hand than with his left
On August 27, 1998, William Hilger, Jr. Ph.D., at the request
of the DDS, performed a consultative psychological examination of
Baker. (R. 181-83). During the examination, Baker reported that he was not taking any
medications on a regular basis. (R. 181). Dr. Hilger opined that
plaintiff showed poor levels of general knowledge, judgment,
calculational ability, conceptual reasoning, and abstract
reasoning. He considered plaintiff suitable for very simple and
routine work duties under close supervision. Dr. Hilger suggested
that plaintiff might be able to perform simple sedentary factory
jobs under fairly close supervision. (R. 183). Dr. Hilger
regarded plaintiff's reasoning ability as low, ability to make
occupational adjustments as minimal, ability to make personal
adjustments as normal, and ability to make social adjustments as
fair. (R. 184). Dr. Hilger also noted that plaintiff's last
regular employment was in 1978 as a laborer for GAF Corporation.
(R. 182). Plaintiff worked at GAF for four years until he was
terminated because of his alcohol use and poor attendance. (R.
182). Baker has not had any regular employment since his
termination in 1978. (R. 182). Dr. Hilger opined that plaintiff
would be unable to properly manage any benefit payments in view
of his low levels of judgment and calculational skills as well as
his propensity to use any benefit payments to pay for his alcohol
habit. (R. 183). Dr. Hilger did not regard plaintiff as limited
in his daily activities and did not note any deterioration in
personal habits. (R. 185).
On October 20, 2000, Dr. Joyce Allen completed a form for the
Township of Joliet's Community Work and Training Program. Based
on four separate visits with Baker, she opined that Baker's
severe degenerative joint disease and history of clavicle
fracture were disabling, although she did not know whether these
conditions were permanently disabling. (R. 251). She further
opined that plaintiff could not do any lifting or carrying. (R.
251). On January 31, 2001, Erwin Baukus, Ph.D., performed
consultative psychological testing, including intelligence
testing and memory testing, on Baker. (R. 262-65). Dr. Baukus
reported good motivation and good persistence and considered the
test results valid. (R. 264). Baker has an eleventh-grade
education, however he can only read at the fifth-grade level. (R.
262, 264). Plaintiff tested at the borderline level of
intellectual functioning, but Dr. Baukus did not regard plaintiff
as having severe functional restrictions based on intelligence.
(R. 265). Plaintiff was also well-oriented to person, time, and
place. (R. 264-65). Dr. Baukus regarded plaintiff as having a
good ability to perform the twenty-two mental functioning tasks
listed in the Medical Source Statement. (R. 266-67). Dr. Baukus
also opined that although plaintiff was intellectually capable of
managing his funds, if he resumed his drinking habit he would
likely spend his benefit payments on alcohol. (R. 265).
Finally, the administrative record contains Baker's various
treatment records from the Silver Cross Hospital and the
Will-Grundy Medical Clinic. These records document plaintiff's
repeated complaints of pain and his limited range of motion and
use of his right shoulder and left wrist. The records also
provide objective medical evidence of the deformity in
plaintiff's right shoulder and the peripheral neuropathy of his
2. Plaintiff's Testimony
At the second administrative hearing on November 9, 2000,
plaintiff appeared and testified before ALJ Kraybill. Plaintiff
testified that he was currently taking Vioxx, Robaxin, and
Relafen and he did not experience any side effects from these
prescription medications. (R. 42). Plaintiff further stated that
he could only carry small items like grocery bags with his right
hand (R. 47-48). At the time of the hearing, Baker lived by himself in an apartment that was part of a duplex
owned by long-time family friend, Donna Quince. (R. 41, 46,
57-58). Baker testified that he cleaned his apartment, but Ms.
Quince did his laundry, helped him shop for food, cooked some of
his meals, and sometimes drove him to his appointments. (R. 44,
46, 47, 57, 64-65, 70-71).
3. Medical Expert's Testimony
ME Kenneth Kessler, Ph.D., testified at plaintiff's November 9,
2000 and June 2, 2001 administrative hearings. At the June 2
hearing, Dr. Kessler opined that, based on the results of Dr.
Baukus' intelligence testing, Baker was functioning within the
borderline intellectual range. (R. 85). Baker could read single
words at a fifth-grade level, however Dr. Baukus did not test his
comprehension skills. Baker was well oriented to people, place,
and time (in the ninety-ninth percentile), which Dr. Kessler
found typical and an indication that Baker was being cooperative
during the testing.
Plaintiff was in the twenty-sixth percentile for his ability to
remember digits forward, a measure of attention span. However,
Baker performed in the mild to moderately impaired range with his
ability to remember digits backwards. Dr. Kessler interpreted
these results as an indication that "in a day-to-day practical
setting, as long as everything was going well in the best case
scenario [Baker] would have a decent immediate recall of
something that he just heard if it was fairly discrete and not
too long." (R. 87). Baker would have more difficulty with recall
if there were any distractions or confusion.
Dr. Kessler also found that plaintiff's verbal memory was very
limited (in approximately the tenth percentile). (R. 88). This
means that if Baker was verbally told a paragraph's worth of instructions, he could not retain much of
the information. (R. 88). Baker's visual memory without
distractions was much better than his verbal memory, but with
distractions it was in the mildly impaired range. (R. 88).
After reviewing Dr. Baukus' evaluation and Baker's test
results, Dr. Kessler disagreed with Dr. Baukus' mental RFC
assessment. Dr. Baukus opined that plaintiff could perform each
of the twenty-two mental functioning categories listed in the
Medical Source Statement in the "good" range. Dr. Kessler opined
that plaintiff could perform less than half of those categories
in the "good" range. Kessler found Baker's mental functional
capacity for two of those categories to be "poor,' while his
functioning in the remainder was "fair." (R. 89).
Dr. Kessler agreed with Dr. Baukus that Baker had a "good"
ability to: (1) remember locations and work-like procedures; (2)
make simple work-related decisions; (3) interact appropriately
with the public; (4) ask simple questions or request assistance;
(5) accept instructions and respond appropriately to criticism;
(6) get along with coworkers; (7) maintain socially appropriate
behavior; (8) adhere to basic standards of neatness; and (9) be
aware of normal hazards and take appropriate precautions. (R.
91-92). The agreement ends there.
Dr. Kessler opined that Baker only had a "fair" ability to: (1)
understand and remember short, simple instructions; (2) carry out
short, simple instructions; (3) maintain attention and
concentration for extended periods; (4) perform activities within
a schedule, maintain regular attendance, and be punctual; (5)
sustain an ordinary routine without special supervision; (6) work
with or near others without being distracted by them; (7)
complete a normal workday or workweek; (8) perform at a
consistent pace; (9) respond appropriately to changes in the work setting; (10) travel
to unfamiliar places and use public transportation; and (11) set
realistic goals or make plans independently of others. (R.
91-92). Finally, he found that Baker had a "poor" ability to
understand, remember, and carry out detailed instructions. (R.
91). Dr. Kessler defined "fair" as an ability to do these mental
functions satisfactorily some of the time. (R. 94).
Based on the aforementioned limitations, Dr. Kessler opined
that plaintiff could not work in a fast food restaurant because
he could not handle the orders. (R. 92-93). Given Baker's scores,
Dr. Kessler also opined that his functioning would be optimal in
a situation where the tasks were extremely predictable and
repetitive and there was not much confusion, interaction, or any
independent decision making. (R. 92-93). Further, plaintiff would
require close supervision when initially learning a task and when
learning any modifications of that task. (R. 96-97). However,
once plaintiff learned a task, he would no longer require close
supervision. (R. 96-97).
4. Vocational Expert's Testimony
Finally, VE GleeAnn Kehr testified at the June 2 hearing. At
the hearing, the ALJ asked VE Kehr if there were any jobs in the
regional economy, meaning the Chicago metropolitan area and the
six surrounding counties, that the following hypothetical person
could perform: a forty-nine-year-old man with limited education,
no past relevant work, status post right clavicle fracture,
peripheral neuropathy of the left wrist, and a history of chronic
alcohol abuse in short-term remission. (R. 99). The ALJ also
added the following limitations to the hypothetical; the work
must require no more than a medium exertion level, cannot require
any overhead work with the man's right extremity, must be
repetitive and have simple instructions, cannot require
independent decision making or problem solving, must be limited to superficial public
contact, and cannot be in a place where alcohol is on the
premises. (R. 99). The VE opined that such a person could
generally perform packaging, assembly, and sorting jobs and that
most of those jobs would be at the light, not medium, exertional
level. (R. 99). There would be about 11,500 such jobs in the
VE Kern also stated that difficulty grasping with either hand,
would preclude the hypothetical man from performing all of the
above referenced jobs and most jobs of a very simple and
repetitive nature. (R. 101). VE Kehr also stated that, if the
person could only grasp with both hands occasionally, meaning
one-third of the work day, he would still be precluded from
performing those jobs. In a manufacturing setting, a worker needs
to be able to grasp with both hands on a frequent to constant
basis because pace is a very important requirement for those
types of jobs.
The VE also testified that based on Dr. Kessler's testimony and
his opinion that Baker's mental ability to perform a number of
work related tasks would only be "fair", plaintiff would not be
able to perform any substantial gainful activity. With a "fair"
functioning ability in numerous areas, plaintiff's performance
would not be consistent enough to complete a full workday or
workweek at a satisfactory level. The VE testified that the
"fairs" identified by Dr. Kessler would compound against each
other in a work setting and preclude all substantial gainful
activity. (R. 104). However, the specific functional limitations
described by Dr. Kessler, such as not working in a fast food
restaurant and performing simple, repetitive tasks, would not in
and of themselves preclude all substantial gainful employment.
(R. 104). Standard of Review
We must affirm the ALJ's decision if it is supported by
substantial evidence and free from legal error.
42 U.S.C. § 405(g); Steele v. Barnhart, 290 F.3d 936, 940 (7th Cir. 2002).
Substantial evidence is more than a scintilla of evidence and is
"such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as
adequate to support a conclusion." Diaz v. Chater, 55 F.3d 300,
305 (7th Cir. 1995) (quoting Richardson v. Perales,
402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971)). The ALJ need not weigh every piece of evidence,
however, when the Commissioner's "decision lacks evidentiary
support or is so poorly articulated as to prevent meaningful
review, the case must be remanded." Steele, 290 F.3d at 940.
Generally, we cannot substitute our judgment for that of the ALJ
by deciding facts anew, reweighing the evidence, resolving
conflicts in evidence, or deciding questions of credibility.
Estok v. Apfel, 152 F.3d 636, 638 (7th Cir. 1998).
The ALJ must "build an accurate and logical bridge from the
evidence to his conclusions so that [the Court] may afford the
claimant meaningful review of the [Commissioner's] ultimate
findings." Blakes ex rel. Wolfe v. Barnhart, 331 F.3d 565, 569
(7th Cir. 2003). Therefore, the administrative record must
contain evidence to support the ALJ's findings, and the ALJ
must rationally articulate a basis for those findings. Steele,
290 F.3d at 941.
A person is disabled under the Act if he or she has an
"inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by
reason of a medically determinable physical or mental impairment
which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or
can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than
twelve months." 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A). In determining whether a claimant is disabled, the
ALJ conducts a five step analysis: (1) whether the claimant is
presently unemployed, (2) whether the claimant's impairment is
severe, (3) whether the impairment meets or exceeds any of the
specific impairments listed in the regulation, (4) whether the
claimant is unable to perform his or her previous occupation and
(5) whether the claimant is unable to perform any other work in
the national economy given his or her age, education, or work
experience. Cichon v. Barnhart, 222 F.Supp.2d 1019, 1025 (N.D.
Ill. 2002) (citing 20 C.F.R. § 416.920(a)-(f)). If at any step in
the inquiry the ALJ determines that the claimant is not disabled,
the analysis ends. Goodson v. Barnhart, 217 F.Supp.2d 892, 900
(N.D.Ill. 2002). The claimant has the burden of establishing a
disability at steps one through four. Zurawski v. Halter,
245 F.3d 881, 886 (7th Cir. 2001). However, if the claimant reaches
step five, "the burden shifts to the ALJ to establish that the
claimant is capable of performing work in the national economy."
In this case, the ALJ applied the five-step analysis outlined
above and his conclusions at steps one through three are not
contested. At step one, ALJ Kraybill found that plaintiff was not
engaged in substantial gainful activity and had not been since
the alleged onset of his disability. (R. 21). At step two, the
ALJ determined that plaintiff suffered from the severe medical
impairments of a status post right clavicle fracture, peripheral
neuropathy of the left wrist, and a history of chronic alcohol
abuse. Id. Although these impairments were severe within the
meaning of the Regulations, ALJ Kraybill found that they did not
meet or medically equal any of the impairments listed in the
Regulation. Id. At step four, the ALJ concluded that plaintiff
had no past relevant work experience and, therefore could not
perform any past relevant work. The ALJ also found that Baker had the residual functioning capacity
to perform light level exertional work. (R. 21-22). Finally, at
step five, the ALJ considered the plaintiff's age, education,
vocational experience, residual functioning capacity, and the
testimony of a vocational expert, and found that plaintiff could
perform a significant number of jobs in the national economy. (R.
25). Therefore, the ALJ concluded that Baker was not disabled
under the Act. Id.
Baker raises the following four issues on appeal: (1) the ALJ
misrepresented the VE's testimony in his written opinion; (2) the
ALJ improperly disregarded the ME's testimony; (3) the ALJ
ignored the findings of Dr. Allen, plaintiff's treating
physician; and (4) the ALJ did not rationally articulate the
basis for findings and conclusions within his written opinion.
1. Misrepresentation of Evidence
As stated above, for an ALJ's findings to be affirmed they must
rest on substantial evidence. Steele 290 F.3d at 940.
Therefore, when an ALJ has "patently misconstrued the evidence,
has based a finding on a record lacking sufficient evidence, or
has misconstrued the law, then we may vacate that decision and
remand the case for a proper adjudication." Scott v. Shalala,
898 F.Supp. 1238, 1245 (N.D. Ill. 1995).
In this case, ALJ Kraybill misconstrued a critical question
posed to VE Kehr and her corresponding answer. As discussed more
fully supra, at the June 2, 2001 hearing, plaintiff's counsel
asked VE Kehr if Dr. Kessler's testimony regarding plaintiff's
mental functioning abilities would alter her answer to the ALJ's
hypothetical. VE Kehr answered in the affirmative. In his
opinion, ALJ Kraybill stated that plaintiff's counsel asked VE
Kehr to add numerous pains to the ALJ's hypothetical. Not true.
The VE was never asked about pain. Rather, she was asked whether the mental
limitations discussed by Dr. Kessler would impact plaintiff's
ability to work. VE Kehr found that those functional limitations
would negatively affect plaintiff's ability to work.
Specifically, VE Kehr testified that the numerous categories in
which plaintiff could only function at a "fair" level would
compound against each other, precluding all substantial gainful
employment. In his opinion, ALJ Kraybill incorrectly states that
the VE testified that "adding numerous pains would compound
against each and based on that finding, there would be no jobs."
This is a blatant mischaracterization of the VE's testimony,
requiring a remand of this case to the ALJ.
2. Disregarding Testimony
Next, Baker argues that in his opinion, the ALJ disregarded Dr.
Kessler's testimony concerning Baker's limited mental functioning
ability. As stated above, ALJ Kraybill misconstrued the testimony
of VE Kehr when he erroneously characterized the limitations Dr.
Kessler discussed as relating to pain. Those limitations were
actually related to Baker's mental functioning capacity, not his
allegations of pain. Dr. Baukus performed intelligence testing on
Baker and concluded that Baker had "good" functioning ability in
the twenty-two mental functioning categories he tested. Dr.
Kessler disagreed with Dr. Baukus' findings, stating that
plaintiff's functioning was "fair", not "good," in approximately
half of those categories and "poor" in two categories. As stated
above, VE Kehr opined, based on Dr. Kessler's findings, that the
multiple areas where plaintiff's mental functioning was only
"fair," would compound against each other, eliminated his ability
to perform any substantial gainful employment. ALJ Kraybill never addresses Dr. Kessler's findings, or VE
Kehr's testimony about the effects of those findings. In his
written opinion, the ALJ solely included Dr. Baukus' opinion that
plaintiff's mental functioning was "good" in all areas. Although,
the ALJ does not have to address each and every piece of
evidence, the ALJ cannot reject an entire line of evidence
without articulating his reasoning for doing so. Herron v.
Shalala, 19 F.3d 329, 333 (7th Cir. 1994). An ALJ also may not
"select and discuss only that evidence which favors his ultimate
conclusion." Id. (citing Oriando v. Heckler, 776 F.2d 209,
213 (7th Cir. 1985). The omission of Dr. Kessler's actual
testimony in the ALJ's written opinion is not harmless error as
the Commissioner suggests. Def.'s Summ. J. Br. at 11. The
failure of the ALJ to properly address the testimony of Dr.
Kessler and VE Kehr requires a remand On remand, the ALJ must
address Dr. Kessler's findings regarding the plaintiff's mental
functioning ability. He must also address VE Kehr's testimony
regarding Dr. Kessler's findings and what effect, if any, those
conclusions have on plaintiff's ability to perform substantial
3. Dr. Allen's Findings
Third, the ALJ failed to address an important finding by Dr.
Allen, plaintiff's treating physician. In an October 20, 2000
report, Dr. Allen opined that based on plaintiff's physical
ailments, he could not do any lifting or carrying. In his
opinion, the ALJ mentioned Dr. Allen's October 20 report, but did
not address Dr. Allen's specific finding that plaintiff could not
do any lifting or carrying. The ALJ further concluded that
plaintiff could in fact lift and or carry up to twenty pounds
occasionally, and ten pounds frequently. As stated above, an ALJ
may not "select and discuss only that evidence which favors his
ultimate conclusion." Herron, 19 F.3d at 333. In Social
Security cases, "treating source opinions must be given special consideration."
Brown v. Barnhart, 298 F.Supp.2d 773, 778 (7th Cir. 2004). If
the ALJ chooses not to afford the treating physician's opinion
controlling weight, he may not simply reject it. Id. Instead,
he is required to "evaluate the opinion's weight by looking at
the length, nature and extent of the plaintiff's and physician's
treatment relationship; the degree to which the opinion is
supported by the evidence; the opinion's consistency with the
record as a whole; whether the doctor is a specialist and `other
In his opinion ALJ Kraybill impermissibly ignored Dr. Allen's
finding regarding plaintiff's ability to lift and carry. On
remand, the ALJ must address this aspect of Dr. Allen's October
20 report and accord her findings the weight required by
controlling case law.
4. No Rational Basis for the ALJ's Findings and Conclusion
Finally, Baker argues that there is no rational basis for the
ALJ's findings and conclusions, and that they are not supported
by substantial evidence. We agree. The ALJ's opinion is premised
on a error of fact, namely the mischaracterization of the
testimony of Dr. Kessler and ME Kehr. The opinion also fails to
reference substantial relevant evidence within the administrative
record. As stated above, the ALJ is required to build an accurate
and logical bridge from the evidence to his conclusion. Dixon,
270 F.3d at 1177. He also must "sufficiently articulate his
assessment of the evidence to assure us that the ALJ considered
the important evidence . . . [and to enable] us to trace the path
of the ALJ's reasoning." Rohan v. Chater, 98 F.3d 966, 971 (7th
Cir. 1996). After reviewing the ALJ's opinion and the
administrative record, this court cannot find that the ALJ has
built the requisite accurate and logical bridge from the evidence
to the conclusion. ALJ Kraybill has also not provided us with
sufficient analysis to trace the path of his reasoning. On
remand, the ALJ must better articulate how a person with
objective medical pathology in both his upper extremities can
perform light work, and more specifically, any manufacturing
For the reasons stated above, the court remands this case to
the ALJ for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. On
remand the ALJ should: (1) re-evaluate the testimony of Dr.
Kessler and VE Kehr and consider the effect, if any, that
testimony has on his determination regarding plaintiff's RFC; (2)
consider Dr. Allen's finding that plaintiff cannot do any lifting
or carrying and what effect, if any, that has on his
determination regarding plaintiff's RFC; and (3) elaborate on his
finding that plaintiff is capable of performing light work given
his diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy of the left wrist and a
deformed and displaced right clavicle. Although we have
identified a number of deficiencies in the opinion before us, we
cannot say that plaintiff is entitled to an outright award of
benefits. Such a determination will be left to the ALJ on remand
Accordingly, we grant plaintiff's motion for summary judgment and
deny defendant's motion for summary judgement. It is so ordered.