United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Jeffrey T. Gilbert Magistrate Judge
Howard Rein ("Claimant") seeks review of the final
decision of the Commissioner of Social Security
("Commissioner"), denying Claimant's
application for Disability Insurance Benefits
("DIB") and Supplemental Security Income
("SSI") under Titles II and XVI of the Social
Security Act ("Act"). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636(c) and Local Rule 73.1, the parties have consented to the
jurisdiction of a United States Magistrate Judge for all
proceedings, including entry of final judgment. [ECF No. 7.]
The parties have filed cross-motions for summary judgment
[ECF Nos. 14 and 21] pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 56. This Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 42
U.S.C. §§ 1383(c) and 405(g). For the reasons
stated below, Claimant's Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF
No. 14] is granted, and the Commissioner's Motion [ECF
No. 21] is denied. This matter is remanded for further
proceedings consistent with this Memorandum Opinion and
3, 2013, Claimant filed his claims for DIB and SSI, alleging
the onset of his disability as of May 13, 2012. (R. 20.)
These applications were denied initially and upon
reconsideration, after which Claimant requested an
administrative hearing before an administrative law judge
("ALJ"). (Id.) On December 11, 2014,
Claimant was represented by counsel and appeared and
testified at a hearing before ALJ Jessica Inouye. (R. 33-99.)
The ALJ also heard testimony from vocational expert
("VE") Susan Entenberg. (Id.)
April 10, 2015, the ALJ denied Claimant's claims for DIB
and SSI, based on a finding that he was not disabled under
the Act. (R. 20-28.) The opinion followed the five-step
sequential evaluation process required by Social Security
Regulations ("SSR"). 20 C.F.R, § 404.1520. At
step one, the ALJ found that Claimant had not engaged in
substantial gainful activity ("SGA") since his
alleged onset date of May 13, 2012. (R. 22.) At step two, the
ALJ found that Claimant had the severe impairment of
schizophrenia. (Id.) At step three, the ALJ found
that Claimant did not have an impairment or combination of
impairments that met or medically equaled the severity of one
of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404 Subpart P.,
Appendix 1. (Id.)
then found Claimant had the residual functional capacity
("RFC") to perform a full range of work at all
exertional levels, with the following nonexertional
Understand, remember, and cany out no more than simple,
routine, repetitive tasks; no more than occasional changes in
the work tasks; no more than occasional decision making
required by the work; no more than occasional completion of
written forms as part of the work; no more than occasional
interaction with others; no tandem tasks; no team work;
learns best by demonstration; is allowed to take notes; and
can sustain concentration, persistence, and pace to complete
work functions, as described, in two-hour increments.
(R. 24.) At step four, the ALJ determined that Claimant was
unable to perform any past relevant work. (R. 27.) Finally,
at step five, the ALJ found that there were jobs that existed
in significant numbers in the national economy that Claimant
could perform, such as dishwasher, packer, or cleaner. (R.
28.) Because of this determination, the ALJ found that
Claimant was not disabled under the Act. (Id.) The
Appeals Council declined to review the matter on September 2,
2016, making the ALJ's decision the final decision of the
Commissioner and, therefore, reviewable by this Court under
42 U.S.C. § 405(g). See Haynes v. Baumhart, 416
F.3d 621, 626 (7th Cir. 2005).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
decision by an ALJ becomes the Commissioner's final
decision if the Appeals Council denies a request for review.
Sims v. Apfel 530 U.S. 103, 106-07 (2000). Under
such circumstances, the district court reviews the decision
of the ALJ. (Id.) Judicial review is limited to
determining whether the decision is supported by substantial
evidence in the record and whether the ALJ applied the
correct legal standards in reaching his or her decision.
Nelms v. Astrue, 553 F.3d 1093, 1097 (7th Cir.
2009). The reviewing court may enter a judgment
"affirming, modifying, or reversing the decision of the
[Commissioner], with or without remanding the cause for a
rehearing." 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
evidence is "such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind
might accept as adequate to support a conclusion."
Richardson v. Perales, 42 U.S. 389, 401 (1971). A
"mere scintilla" of evidence is not enough.
Scott v. Barnhart, 297 F.3d 589, 593 (7th Cir.
2002). Even where there is adequate evidence in the record to
support the decision, the findings will not be upheld if the
ALJ does not "build an accurate and logical bridge from
the evidence to the conclusion." Berger v.
Astrue, 516 F.3d 539, 544 (7th Cir. 2008). In other
words, if the Commissioner's decision lacks evidentiary
support or adequate discussion of the issues, it cannot
stand. Villano v. Astrue, 556 F.3d 558, 562 (7th
Cir. 2009). Though the standard of review is deferential, a
reviewing court must "conduct a critical review of the
evidence" before affirming the Commissioner's
decision. Eichstadt v. Astrue, 534 F.3d 663, 665
(7th Cir. 2008). It may not, however, "displace the
ALJ's judgment by reconsidering facts or evidence."
Elder v. Astrue, 529 F.3d 408, 413 (7th Cir. 2008).
alleges a number of errors on appeal. First, Claimant asserts
that the ALJ improperly evaluated his subjective statements
about his symptoms and his credibility. [ECF No. 14, at 4-16,
] Second, Claimant contends that the ALJ improperly evaluated
the opinions of his treating psychiatrist, Dr. Weinstein.
(Id.) Finally, Claimant argues that the mental RFC
is not supported by substantial evidence. (Id.)