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Stachowiak v. Colvin

United States District Court, Seventh Circuit

January 10, 2014

RICHARD D. STACHOWIAK, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN COLVIN, Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

ORDER

JAMES E. SHADID, Chief District Judge.

This matter is before this Court on Plaintiff, Richard D. Stachowiak's ("Stachowiak"), Motion for Summary Judgment [11] and Defendant, Carolyn Colvin's ("Commissioner"), Motion for Summary Affirmance [15]. This Order follows.

BACKGROUND

On December 7, 2009, Stachowiak filed an application for disability insurance benefits, alleging an onset date of June 15, 2009. These claims were initially denied on June 11, 2010 and upon reconsideration on September 22, 2010. Stachowiak then filed a written request for hearing on November 29, 2010, which was held on June 9, 2011. Following the hearing, an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") denied the application on June 20, 2011. Review was denied by the Appeals Council on October 16, 2012, making the ALJ's decision final.

At the time of the hearing, Stachowiak was 32 years old and married with two children. (R38) He had worked as a truck driver and also helped as a farm hand on the weekends. (R43) He indicated that he hurt his back while lifting a 30 lb. amplifier out of a pickup truck and then reinjured it while attempting to break up a fight between two other men. (R35) He attends group therapy 2-3 times per month. (R36) Although he smokes about a pack a day, he has not had an alcoholic drink for more than three years. Id . Stachowiak has a cell phone, computer, and Facebook account. (R37) He attends church at least every other Sunday. (R38) His driver's license was suspended for delinquency in paying child support. Id.

Stachowiak helps around the house by vacuuming, cooking, and doing dishes; he often needs to sit and take a break before completing his task. (R39) He also watches his 21-month-old granddaughter with some help from his mother and daughters. Id . When she isn't working at her part-time job, his mother comes over and helps with the cooking, cleaning, and taking care of the baby. (R48) He complains that he is constantly tired and dozes off during the day. (R46)

In addition to his back pain, he has numbness in his right leg and hand, as well as a short attention span. (R39) He has had admissions for mental health issues. In March 2011, he was admitted first for a nervous breakdown and then later for an attempted suicide. (R41) He admitted to having suicidal thoughts on a daily basis. (R45) Stachowiak has also experienced anger issues, as well as both auditory and visual hallucinations since sometime in 2010. (R42, 45, 51)

At the hearing, a Vocational Expert ("VE") testified. The VE stated that he had reviewed the exhibits in the file dealing with Stachowiak's prior work history and was present for the hearing testimony. The ALJ gave the VE the following hypothetical:

Q Have you had the opportunity to review the record as to Mr. Stachowiak's prior work and vocational background?
A Yes, I have.
Q Do you have any questions about the work?
A No.
Q And would you please describe it both as he might have performed it and as described in the DOT?
A The record shows that the gentleman was a deliverer for [INAUDIBLE] company from 96 to 97. Work is classified as medium with an SVP of 2, a DOT of 299.477-010. After that, he was an over-the-road driver from 98 to 07, classified as medium with an SVP of 4 and a DOT of 905.663-014. And also from 94 to 96, he was a ...

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