Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Murray v. Colvin

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

January 25, 2017

ROBERT A. MURRAY, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          HON. MARIA VALDEZ United States Magistrate Judge

         This action was brought under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) to review the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security denying a claim of Robert A. Murray (“Claimant”) for Disability Insurance Benefits. The parties have consented to the jurisdiction of the United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). For the reasons that follow, Claimant's motion for summary judgment is granted and the Commissioner's cross-motion for summary judgment [Doc. No. 15] is denied.

         BACKGROUND

         I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On April 14, 2011, Claimant filed claims for Disability Insurance Benefits, alleging disability since December 12, 2006. (R. 144.) The claim was denied initially and upon reconsideration, after which he timely requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”), which was held on November 12, 2012. Claimant personally appeared and testified at the hearing and was represented by counsel. Vocational expert Cheryl Hoiseth also testified.

         On January 23, 2013, the ALJ denied Claimant's claims for Disability Insurance Benefits, finding him not disabled under the Social Security Act. The Social Security Administration Appeals Council then denied Claimant's request for review, leaving the ALJ's decision as the final decision of the Commissioner and, therefore, reviewable by the District Court under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). See Haynes v. Barnhart, 416 F.3d 621, 626 (7th Cir. 2005).

         II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         A. Background

         Claimant was born on December 12, 1969 and was forty-three years old at the time of the ALJ hearing. He worked as a manager at various auto-repair and oil-change business until December 2006, when he injured his back while moving a 55-gallon drum down some stairs at work. (R. 41, 44, 227.)

         B. Medical Evidence

         Claimant suffers from numerous ailments, including arthritis in both knees and lumbar stenosis. His treatments for his orthopedic conditions have included surgery on both knees and on his back, multiple injections, oral pain medications, and physical therapy. (See, e.g., 375-76, 444-52, 555, 565-67.) He also has periodic atrial fibrillation characterized by irregular heartbeats and chest discomfort, which is treated with medication. (R. 301-15, 332-35.) He has obesity classified as Level III or “extreme” obesity, with a body mass index of over 40. See SSR 02-01p; R. 759. Claimant's cardiologist has recommended lap band surgery to help with his obesity and heart health, but he does not have insurance to cover it. (R. 45, 611.) He is also being treated for anxiety. (R. 751.)

         Bruce J. Montella, M.D., Claimant's treating orthopedic surgeon, indicated in a letter dated February 2009, that Claimant's 2006 work-related injuries were “consistent with lumbar disk injury and left knee chondral injury.” He further opined that Claimant had permanent functional impairments, and had lost 70% of his functional ability with respect to his back and 80% of his functional ability with respect to his left knee. He recommended an ongoing course of epidural injections, low-dose narcotic pain medications, and therapy. (R. 583.)

         In a consultative exam performed on August 3, 2011, Dr. Scott A. Hale noted that Claimant was not limping and did not need a cane. Claimant reported continued pain in his low back with radiation to both legs. He could sit for only half an hour. He had no knee complaints and was able to take public transportation. He had a limited range of motion in all directions in his lumbar spine, and normal ranges of motion elsewhere. (R. 513-20.)

         On August 24, 2011, state agency reviewer Donald Cochran, Ph.D. reviewed Claimant's file and confirmed his history of an anxiety-related disorder with panic. (R. 530, 535.) He found that Claimant moderate difficulties in the activities of daily living, mostly secondary to physical problems, and moderate difficulties in maintaining social functioning. (R. 530, 535, 540, 542.) On the same day, Dr. Cochran completed a Mental Residual Functional Capacity Assessment determining that Claimant had some moderate limitations in understanding and ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.