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.

Detterman v. Berryhill

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

June 12, 2017

TIMOTHY W. DETTERMAN, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, [1]Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          CATHERINE D. PERRY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Timothy W. Detterman brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) for judicial review of the Commissioner's final decision finding his disability to have ended March 15, 2014. Because the basis for the Commissioner's final decision is unclear, I cannot say that it is supported by substantial evidence on the record as a whole. I will therefore reverse the decision and remand the matter to the Commissioner for further proceedings.

         Procedural History

         On February 4, 2009, the Social Security Administration (SSA) awarded Detterman benefits on his application for disability insurance benefits, finding him disabled as of August 30, 2008, because of schizophrenic disorder-paranoid and other functional psychotic disorder. On March 4, 2014, during periodic review for continued entitlement to benefits, the SSA determined that Detterman achieved medical improvement to a degree that enabled him to perform work. (Tr. 99-102.) An SSA hearing officer thereafter found that Detterman was no longer disabled as of March 2014 (Tr. 122-33), and Detterman's receipt of benefits ceased June 30, 2014 (Tr. 83-86).

         At Detterman's request, a hearing was held before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) on December 11, 2014, at which Detterman and his mother testified. (Tr. 63-82.) A vocational expert later responded to written interrogatories put to her by the ALJ. (Tr. 300-04.) On May 29, 2015, the ALJ issued a decision finding that as of March 15, 2014, Detterman could perform work as it existed in the national economy and thus was no longer disabled. (Tr. 45-56.) On July 11, 2016, the Appeals Council denied Detterman's request for review of the ALJ's decision. (Tr. 1-5.) The ALJ's determination thus stands as the final decision of the Commissioner. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

         In this action for judicial review, Detterman contends that the ALJ's decision is not supported by substantial evidence on the record as a whole. Detterman specifically argues that the ALJ erred by failing to include mental limitations in the residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment, especially given that the ALJ credited medical opinion evidence that Detterman experienced such limitations. Detterman also contends that the vocational expert's interrogatory answers conflict with the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT) and that the ALJ erred by failing to identify this conflict and resolve it. Detterman asks that I reverse the Commissioner's final decision and order reinstatement of his disability benefits, or that the matter be remanded for further proceedings. For the reasons that follow, I will remand the matter to the Commissioner for further proceedings.

         Medical Records and Other Evidence Before the ALJ

         At the time of the hearing in December 2014, Detterman was thirty-three years old and had been living with his mother, who is his legal guardian, since July 2013. (Tr. 80.) Immediately prior to moving in with his mother, Detterman spent four years in hospitals and residential care facilities for treatment of schizophrenia. (Tr. 77.) He currently works part-time as a dishwasher. (Tr. 70.)

         With respect to the medical records and other evidence of record, I adopt Detterman's recitation of facts set forth in his Statement of Uncontroverted Material Facts (ECF #15-1) to the extent they are admitted by the Commissioner (ECF #20-1). I also adopt the additional facts set forth in the Commissioner's Statement of Additional Material Facts (ECF #20-2), which Detterman admits in their entirety. Together, these statements provide a fair and accurate description of the relevant record before the Court.

         Additional specific facts will be discussed as needed to address the parties' arguments.

         Discussion

         A. Legal Standard

         To be eligible for disability insurance benefits under the Social Security Act, Detterman must prove that he is disabled. Pearsall v. Massanari, 274 F.3d 1211, 1217 (8th Cir. 2001); Baker v. Secretary of Health & Human Servs., 955 F.2d 552, 555 (8th Cir. 1992). The Social Security Act defines disability as the “inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any 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 12 months.” 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A). An individual will be declared disabled “only if his physical or mental impairment or impairments are of such severity that he is not only unable to do his previous work but cannot, considering his age, education, and work experience, engage in any other kind of substantial gainful work which exists in the national economy.” 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(2)(A).

         Once a claimant becomes entitled to disability benefits, the Commissioner must periodically review the claimant's continued entitlement. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1594(a). If there has been a medical improvement in a claimant's impairments and such improvement relates to the claimant's ability to work, the disability will be found to have ended if the claimant is able to engage in substantial gainful activity. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1594(a), (b)(3). The claimant has a “continuing burden” to demonstrate that he is disabled. Nelson v. Sullivan,946 F.2d 1314, 1315 (8th Cir. 1991) (per curiam) (citing Mathews v. Eldridge,424 U.S. 319, ...


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.