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Alevras v. Colvin

United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division

May 6, 2015

ANTONIO ALEVRAS, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER [1]

Sidney I. Schenkier Magistrate Judge

Plaintiff Antonio Alevras has filed a memorandum (doc. # 18: PI. Br. in Support of Reversal) requesting that we reverse or remand the final determination by the Commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner"), denying his application for Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB"). The Commissioner has filed a motion seeking affirmance of the decision denying benefits (doc. # 25: Def. Mot. for Summary Judgment) and Mr. Alevras has filed a reply (doc. # 33: PI. Reply). Because the Appeals Council declined Mr. Alevras' request for review (R. 1-3), the ALJ's ruling represents the Commissioner's final decision. O'Connor-Spinner v. Astrue, 627 F.3d 614, 618 (7th Cir.2010). For the following reasons, the Court remands this case for further consideration.

I.

Mr. Alevras filed a claim for DIB on January 29, 2011, alleging a disability onset date of April 1, 2005 (R. 141). At the hearing, he amended his onset date to September 22, 2006, the date of his heart attack.[2] His date last insured was December 31, 2008, and so Mr. Alevras had to be found disabled between his onset date and his date last insured to be eligible for benefits. His claim was denied initially and on reconsideration, and a hearing was held before an ALJ on June 28, 2012. In a written opinion issued on July 27, 2012, the ALJ concluded that Mr. Alevras was not disabled during the time period between his alleged onset date and his date last insured (R. 11-20).

A.

In her opinion, the ALJ characterized the objective signs and findings of Mr. Alevras' physical impairments as "not particularly adverse, " before summarizing the medical evidence related to Mr. Alevras' heart disease (R. 68). Specifically, the ALJ recounted the following medical information from the time during and immediately after the claims period:

• In September 2006, Mr. Alevras was hospitalized for congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease; at the time, his heart had an ejection fraction of 30% (R. 68, 260, 279).[3]
• Upon being hospitalized, Mr. Alevras underwent coronary by-pass surgery with graft and placement of an aortic balloon (Id.).
• Within days of surgery, S. Dundoulakis, M.D, assessed Mr. Alevras's heart ultrasound as showing "no significant stenosis or abnormalities", but noted that his exam was limited because Mr. Alevras was on a balloon pump (R. 68, 239).
• An echocardiogram performed on September 23, 2006 and interpreted by Purshotam Sawlani, M.D., showed a mildly dilated left ventricle, moderate hypokinesia, mild nitro regurgitation, and minimal tricuspid regurgitation, with otherwise normal studies (R. 68, 241).
• Lab results in October 2006 showed abnormalities in Mr. Alevras' cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, creatine, hemoglobin, and platelet count (R. 68, 244).
• Helen Ho, M.D., interpreted a chest x-ray from October 2006 as having residual infiltration and fluid at the lung bases, but improved over another x-ray taken in September 2006 (R. 68, 246).
• A December 2007 chest x-ray revealed post-surgical changes and calcification of the aorta (R. 68, 224).
• In July 2009, a chest x-ray interpreted by Jeremy Simon, M.D., showed myocardial effusion wall motion, and an ejection fraction test showed partially reversible small, moderately severe perfusion defect, with ...

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