Alfano v. Social Security Administration, Commissioner
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Senior Judge Inge P Johnson on 8/19/13. (ASL)
2013 Aug-19 PM 02:27
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
FLOYD JOSEPH ALFANO,
CASE NO.: CV-11-J-3055-IPJ
Commissioner of Social Security,
The plaintiff appeals from the decision of the Commissioner denying his
application for Disability Insurance Benefits. The case is now properly before the
court. See 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). After a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”), the ALJ found him to suffer from migraine headaches, and to suffer from
residual effects of a transient ischemic attack (R. 25), impairments he found to be
severe but not to constitute an impairment listed in, or medically equal to, one of
those listed in Appendix 1 of Subpart P of Social Security Regulations No. 4 (R. 25).
The ALJ expressly found that the plaintiff’s “allegedly disabling headache symptoms
have not been particularly serious as alleged or can otherwise be treated effectively
with medication” (R. 28) seemingly because “as there is some evidence of
exaggeration with ride (sic)-sided weakness in the record, the claimant’s migraine
allegations at the hearing may not be entirely reliable either” (R. 26). He concludes
that the “evidence as a whole fails to confirm disabling limitations arising from the
claimant’s impairments, and his impairments are not of such severity that they can
reasonably be expected to give rise to disabling limitations....”1 (R. 29-30). The ALJ
concluded that the plaintiff was not disabled within the meaning of the Social
Security Act for purposes of receiving Disability Insurance Benefits (R. 30).
The Appeals Council denied review on June 21, 2011 (R. 4-6). This action for
judicial review followed. The court has considered the record and the briefs of the
parties. For the reasons set forth herein, the decision of the Commissioner is
REVERSED and REMANDED to the Agency for further action in accordance with
this Opinion and the accompanying Order.
The plaintiff was born September 21, 1961, and has a twelfth grade education
(R. 390-391). Since his alleged onset date of disability, the plaintiff has been
attending community college to take air conditioning repair classes with the hope of
being able to do air conditioner repair, but he misses about a quarter of the classes (R.
390-391). His past work has been as a heavy equipment mechanic in various
capacities, each of which was medium, skilled work (R. 380, 407). The plaintiff
stopped working in January 2008 because of the migraine headaches (R. 393, 395).
In other words, the ALJ tautologically concludes that evidence does not support
disability based on plaintiff’s impairments because plaintiff’s impairments are not severe enough
to support disability.
The plaintiff’s problems began in March 2007 with what was then believed to
be a stroke,2 which left him with right side parethesis problems (R. 381). It began
with a severe headache, which plaintiff described “like somebody had been hitting
me in the back of the head” (R. 381). Since then, the frequency of headaches keeps
him from working because about one-third of the month, he is at home with a severe
migraine, for which he lies in bed in the dark (R. 383, 387). As the plaintiff
explained, “it wasn’t the fact that I wasn’t able totally to do the job 100%, is I could
not show up. I couldn’t even drive. On real bad days with migraines and the attacks,
I couldn’t even drive to work to show up physically” (R. 384). The plaintiff readily
states he can work when he is not having a severe migraine attack (R. 384).
The plaintiff has undergone testing for a variety of diseases, all of which was
negative, as multiple doctors have attempted to find the root of plaintiff’s medical
problems (R. 383).
The headaches have no set frequency, and no known triggers (R. 395-396).
The plaintiff stated when he gets one, the only thing he can do is lie down and take
the medication doctors have prescribed (R. 385). The shortest one lasted less than
two days, while others have lasted more than a week (R. 385). When he has a severe
headache, he also has no use of the right side of his body, causing his treating
As the plaintiff acknowledged at his hearing, some doctors have questioned whether this
event was actually a stroke although he was told it was (R. 383).
physician to refer to them as hemiplegic migraine headaches (R. 386-387). When he
has a headache, he just lies in bed (R. 387). His wife assists him with getting up to
go to the bathroom, and other than that he does not get up or eat (R. 387, 389).
Upon further questioning, the plaintiff explained
Some months you’re – you may have – I may have a headache that lasts
like three or four days. And that would knock me out the rest of that
week on that one. Next week, I may be fine, but just slow. I would be
slow. Yeah, struggling through to get through the day. The headache
is still there, but it’s not as intense and debilitating, but it’s still with me.
I get those – I live with a headache every day on it. And some of them
– some days, I could – like today it’s tolerable. Then some days, I’m
just debilitated. I’m out.
(R. 388). The plaintiff estimated that 25% of the month, he is completely debilitated
(R. 388). When he does not have a headache, his right side strength is roughly half
of his left (R. 397).
Since March of 2007, the headaches have not gotten better or worse (R. 395).
To try to control the headaches, plaintiff received an occipital block, but it did not
help (R. 248, 389). His doctor had recently prescribed Zomig,3 which he stated
Zolmig is the brand name of zolmitriptan, which belongs to a class of drugs known as
triptans. It affects a certain natural substance (serotonin) that causes narrowing of blood vessels
in the brain. It may also relieve pain by affecting certain nerves in the brain. It does not prevent
future migraines or lessen how often a migraine attack occurs.
Side effects of triptans include nausea, dizziness, drowsiness and muscle weakness.
“seems to knock it back a little bit, but it doesn’t knock it all the way out” (R. 396397). He also is prescribed gabapentin4 for maintenance.
In spite of the plaintiff’s allegations of an inability to work due to debilitating
pain from migraine headaches, the ALJ asked the Vocational Expert (“VE”), no
questions concerning the effect of pain on a person’s ability to work. Similarly, the
ALJ asked no questions which took into account the medically confirmed right-sided
weakness plaintiff experiences. However, the VE did testify that missing two out of
five work days would violate all expected attendance rules (R. 410). The VE testified
that in the realm of unskilled work, missing more than one day of work per month
would not be tolerated by an employer (R. 411).
The plaintiff’s medical records demonstrate he has been treated for migraine
headaches by a variety of doctors with a variety of medications since March 2007
when he presented with slurred speech, right side numbness and headache and was
sent to the emergency room (R. 171, 180).5 He was diagnosed with a CVA and
placed on Plavix (R. 170, 184). A similar event occurred in May 2007 when plaintiff
presented with slurred speech, right side weakness, difficulty walking and blurred
Gabapentin is the generic name for Neurontin, which is used to prevent and control
seizures. However, it has been found to have a prophylactic effect for individuals with
Prior to March 2007 the plaintiff received ongoing treatment due to bulging discs for
which he received epidural injections (R. 172-173).
vision (R. 183). A CT scan record from May 2007 noted the plaintiff had right-sided
weakness and was being treated with Coumadin (R. 145). That scan found no
abnormal densities (R. 145). However, other testing at that time found a suggestion
of significant stenosis involving the left brachiocephalic vein with delayed venous
flow (R. 147). Plaintiff’s regular treating physician referred plaintiff to a neurologist,
who diagnosed the plaintiff with Lupus based on elevated ANA, while records at that
time noted the plaintiff had a headache since March 20, 2007, off and on (R. 168,
192). Based on possible vasculitis, the plaintiff was also started on Coumadin and
referred to a rheumatologist (R. 191). However, a hospital record from the same time
period reflects differential diagnoses of cerebral infarction and TIA, complicated
migraine, or conversion symptoms (R. 185). The rheumatologist told the plaintiff he
did not have Lupus (R. 186).
An October 2007 record mentions that the plaintiff has seen eight neurologists,
his right side goes numb, and he takes three days to a week to recover (R. 167).
Headaches are noted every day (R. 167). At that time his medical records stated “TIA
recurrent” and the plaintiff was prescribed Lortab, after signing a narcotics contract
with his doctor (R. 167).
In January 2008 plaintiff’s treating physician noted a CVA and poor grip
strength (R. 166). Plaintiff’s then treating physician wrote that he “[discussed with]
Dr. Randy C (my hospitalist). We decided against direct admit & opted for ER for
rapid head CT – Goal: est. anticoag[ulent] tx ASAP [with] admit. ER charge nurse
noticed” (R. 166). At this time, the plaintiff’s medical records reflected a diagnosis
of “atypical migraines” (R. 165). Another record reflects a diagnosis of complicated
migraine headache with right arm and leg weakness and abnormal sensation, noting
the plaintiff had eight or nine of these “spells” always accompanied by headache (R.
186). He was prescribed Elavil for help sleeping and migraine prevention (R. 186).
A consultative examination by Dr. Dallas Russell, M.D., a neurologist, referred
to the March 2007 event as a cardiovascular accident (“CVA”) (R. 160). Upon
examination, Dr. Russell found mild weakness of the right upper extremity as
compared to the left (R. 161). He noted “drift with his arms held straight out in front
of him. He seems to have about 4/5 weakness of muscles of the right arm....” and
“4/5 weakness of tested muscles of the right lower extremity,” along with decreased
sensation on that side (R. 161). Although he noted some “inconsistencies” in
plaintiff’s exam, the plaintiff “did seem to have reduced strength and dexterity on the
right side as compared to the left” (R. 161).
Plaintiff began treatment at the Veteran’s Administration due to his insurance
lapsing when he stopped working. A May 2008 CT scan of his head was normal, but
medical records note that plaintiff came to the emergency room with an intense
headache and right side numbness “like a dentist had numbed it” (R. 232, 253). Right
side ptosis (drooping of the eyelid) was also noted (R. 339-340). He also reported he
could not work due to right side weakness6 (R. 253). He was noted to have 4/5
strength in his right upper extremity, with 5/5 strength elsewhere (R. 253). Plaintiff’s
regular treating physician at that time, Dr. Felicia Noerager, referred him to a
neurologist (R. 251). Plaintiff’s VA neurologist referred him to the VA Pain Clinic
for a consultation (R. 241). Those notes reflect a diagnosis of occipital neuralgia7 and
These records also reflect that the plaintiff quit taking the aspirin, Coumadin, and Plavix
which he was prescribed all at the same time due to bleeding which required a transfusion (R.
253). In fact, his records note “it is not clear why the patient was prescribed ASA, Plavix and
Coumadin simultaneously” (R. 254). A June 2008 record states that plaintiff “had bleeding
complications from aspirin, Plavix, and Coumadin to the extent that he needed a blood
transfusion ... I have stopped Tramadol and have advised him not to take aspirin or Plavix...” (R.
330). Sadly, in what can only be described as intentionally misleading, the ALJ states that the
plaintiff’s migraine allegation “may not be entirely reliable” because “the medical evidence”
reflects that “by May 2008 the claimant had quit taking all prescription medicine” although he
alleged having “serious debilitating headaches” (R. 26). No evidence supports a finding that
Coumadin and Plavix are used for headaches, although they are used for stroke prevention. The
failure to mention that the plaintiff was removed from the medications by physicians is evidence
of glaring bias by the ALJ.
Occipital neuralgia is a neurological condition in which the occipital nerves -- the nerves
that run from the top of the spinal cord at the base of the neck up through the scalp -- are
inflamed or injured. Occipital neuralgia can be confused with a migraine because the symptoms
can be similar. The main symptom of this condition is chronic headache. The pain is commonly
localized in the back of head and around or over the top of the head, sometimes up to the
eyebrow or behind the eye. Because chronic headaches are a common symptom for numerous
conditions, occipital neuralgia is often misdiagnosed at first. It is characterized by very intense,
severe pain that begins in the upper neck and back of the head. This pain is typically one sided,
and may radiate forward toward the eye, as it follows the path of the occipital nerve(s).
Individuals may have blurred vision as the pain radiates near or behind the eye. The pain is
commonly described as sharp, shooting, zapping, an electric shock, or stabbing. The bouts of
pain are rarely consistent, even within an individual. The amount of time the pain lasts typically
varies each time the symptom appears, it may last a few seconds or be almost continuous. Other
symptoms of occipital neuralgia may include aching, burning, and throbbing pain that typically
starts at the base of the head and radiates to the scalp. In some patients there may be numbness
in the affected area. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Occipital_neuralgia;
state that the plaintiff reported that the pain was continual with waxing and waning
(R. 243). He also reported that the pain felt “like somebody whacked me in back of
my head with baseball bat” (R. 243). At the time, his pain was a six out of ten, but
ranged from a five to a ten (R. 243). He was found to have tenderness in the occipital
nerve area as well as his lower lumbar spine and have a slight limp (R. 247). That
consult concluded with an impression of chronic headache, right occipital pain, and
a history of unspecified hemiplegia/hemiparesis (R. 247). He was referred for an
occipital nerve block but reported no relief from this (R. 248, 278, 389).
A January 2009 MRI was performed due to a chronic right side headache and
intermittent right hemi body weakness, and the findings were again normal (R. 229).
On January 12, 2009, plaintiff was seen at the emergency room for face and jaw pain
noted as an 8/10 (R. 270). A neurology clinic note summarizes plaintiff’s problems
as “unilateral headache associated with R hemibody paralysis. He has had occipital
nerve blocks in the past with relief for about 1 week. He has had a constant headache
since 3/07 and has intermittent weakness of R hemibody, usually every 6-8 weeks,
which then lasts 1-2 days” (R. 263). He also was noted to have 4/5 break-way
weakness in his right upper and lower extremity and further noted to drag his right
leg (R. 265).
In February 2009 plaintiff’s treating physician, Dr. Noerager, completed a food
stamp form for plaintiff stating that he was not able to work because of lumbar back
pain from degenerative discs and complicated migraines with right body hemiparesis
(R. 367A). She opined his condition was permanent (R. 367A). In May 2009 she
completed a headache residual functional capacity questionnaire on plaintiff’s behalf
(R. 362). In it, she opines that the plaintiff suffers from daily headaches, ranging
from a 4 to a 10 out of 10 with severe headaches 1 to 2 times per week (R. 362). She
notes he has vertigo, malaise, photosensivity, mood changes, and mental confusion/
inability to concentrate associated with these headaches, with no known triggers (R.
363). Tenderness, impaired sleep and impaired appetite were all noted as objective
signs of his headaches (R. 364). Dr. Noerager specifically noted that plaintiff was not
a malingerer, and his impairments were reasonably consistent with his symptoms and
functional limitations (R. 364). She also noted that preventative medications had
been tried to no avail (R. 365). His headaches are of a severity that he is precluded
from even basic work activity when he has one (R. 365). Additionally, the plaintiff
would need 2-3 additional breaks per work day, of 1½- 2 hours each, before he could
return to work (R. 365). She also estimated plaintiff would be absent from work more
than four times per month because of his headaches, and had right sided weakness,
mild limping, and unsteady tenderness (R. 366).
Standard of Review
The court’s role in reviewing claims brought under the Social Security Act is
a narrow one. The scope of its review is limited to determining: 1) whether there is
substantial evidence in the record as a whole to support the findings of the
Commissioner, and 2) whether the correct legal standards were applied. 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g); See Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 390, 401, 91 S. Ct. 1420, 28 L.
Ed. 843 (1971); Wolfe v. Chater, 86 F.3d 1072, 1076 (11th Cir.1996); Martin v.
Sullivan, 894 F.2d 1520, 1529 (11th Cir.1990); Lamb v. Bowen, 847 F.2d 698, 701
(11th Cir.1988). The Court may not decide facts, reweigh evidence, or substitute its
judgment for that of the Commissioner. See Bloodsworth v. Heckler, 703 F.2d 1233,
1239 (11th Cir.1983). However, this limited scope does not render affirmance
for “despite [this] deferential standard for review of claims . . . [the]
Court must scrutinize [the] record in its entirety to determine
reasonableness of the decision reached.” Bridges v. Bowen, 815 F.2d
622 ( 11th Cir. 1987).
Lamb, 847 F.2d at 701. Moreover, failure to apply the correct legal standards is
grounds for reversal. See Bowen v. Heckler, 748 F.2d 629, 634 (11th Cir.1984).
In determining whether substantial evidence exists, this court must scrutinize
the record in its entirety, taking into account evidence both favorable and unfavorable
to the Commissioner’s decision. Lamb v. Bowen, 847 F.2d 698, 701 (11th Cir.1988);
Walker v. Bowen, 826 F.2d 996, 1000 (11th Cir.1987). “Even if the Court finds that
the evidence weighs against the Commissioner’s decision, the Court must affirm if
the decision is supported by substantial evidence.” Allen v. Schweiker, 642 F.2d
799,800 (5th Cir.1981); see also Harwell v. Heckler, 735 F.2d 1292 (11th Cir.1984);
Martin v. Sullivan, 894 F.2d 1520 (11th Cir.1990).
No presumption of correctness, however, applies to the Commissioner’s
conclusions of law, including the determination of the proper standard to be applied
in reviewing claims. Brown v. Sullivan, 921 F. 2d 1233, 1235 (11th Cir.1991);
Cornelius v. Sullivan, 936 F.2d 1143, 1145 (11th Cir.1991).
Having reviewed all of the evidence contained in the record, this court finds
substantial evidence to support the plaintiff’s claim that he is unable to engage in
substantial, gainful employment and has been so limited since his alleged onset date.
The ALJ found that the plaintiff’s statements were not fully credible by
manufacturing “possible exaggerations” (R. 26). The ALJ points to Dr. Russell’s one
time exam in which he noted reduced strength and dexterity on the right and give-way
weakness, but also found “inconsistencies” with the exam upon which he never
elaborated (R. 26, 161). Yet Dr. Russell noted the exact same 4/5 muscle strength
on the right side as every other doctor who has examined plaintiff noted, noted
reduced grip strength on the right side, and noted trouble picking up small objects
with the right hand (R. 161). The ALJ also makes much out of a neurology clinic
exam which found 5-/5 weakness (R. 26). However, less than 5 out of 5 strength is
not inconsistent with 4/5 muscle strength. Similarly, the later finding of 4+/5
strength, mentioned by the ALJ to support his conclusions, is consistent with 5-/5
The ALJ then uses the above non-existent “inconsistencies” to make the wholly
speculative conclusion that because plaintiff “exaggerated” his right side weakness,
his allegations of migraines “may not be entirely credible either” (R. 26). The ALJ
ignores the medical records actually before him. In fact, the medical records are
completely consistent between multiple doctors, including multiple neurologists, all
of whom noted right sided weakness and diagnosed the plaintiff with either complex
migraines or occipital neuralgia. Dr. Noerager’s opinions are wholly supported by
the medical records of the multiple other doctors to whom plaintiff was referred.
However, by simply disregarding the actual evidence in the record, and making up
what he wished the records to state, the ALJ concludes that “there is indication that
the claimant’s allegedly disabling headache symptoms have not been particularly
serious as alleged” (R. 28).
The ALJ next opines that the medical evidence does not support a finding that
“objectively determined medical conditions are of such severity that they can
reasonably be expected to give rise to disabling pain...” (R. 28). Given the diagnoses
of occipital neuralgia and complex migraines, one would expect the ALJ to have
applied the pain standard, with the understanding that neither of these diagnoses have
any objective test to confirm them. Rather, these diagnoses are made when objective
medical evidence rules out all other possible causes of the pain.
Without further explanation, the ALJ then determines that if the plaintiff finds
a job with a sit/stand option, only occasional bending, no climbing, no uneven or
rough terrain, no unprotected heights, no driving, and a temperature controlled
environment, he will only have mild to moderate restrictions from pain (R. 28).
Given that the ALJ opined the multiple doctors who found right side weakness were
all mistaken, the basis for these restrictions, particularly the sit/stand option, is
unknown. However, the ALJ does assign the non-examining state agency opinion
significant weight, finding the same to be consistent with the record (R. 28). The
ALJ also concludes that the plaintiff is capable of performing mechanic work at a
lower exertional level, despite the VE’s testimony that the plaintiff’s past relevant
work would not transfer to a lighter level (R. 28, 407).
The court finds the ALJ’s opinion to be in direct contravention of all of the
medical evidence in the record from the plaintiff’s numerous examining and treating
physicians. The court finds the only way the ALJ could reach his conclusions is by
wholly ignoring all of the plaintiff’s treating physicians’ records, as detailed above.
This court has no choice but to find the ALJ substituted his judgment for that of the
plaintiff’s treating physicians. The fact that the plaintiff’s treating doctors, including
neurologists, are unable to determine the cause of the plaintiff’s headaches does not
make them any less painful. Their medical records detailing various combinations
of medications for the plaintiff to try support a conclusion that none of them believed
the plaintiff to be exaggerating his pain or right side weakness.
The Commissioner’s “failure to apply the correct law or to provide the
reviewing court with sufficient reasoning for determining that the proper legal
analysis has been conducted mandates reversal.” Cornelius, 936 F.2d at 1145-1146.
The court finds insufficient reasoning to determine the proper legal analysis has been
conducted. The VE’s testimony about an individual who experiences mild to
moderate pain does not mean that the plaintiff suffers from only mild to moderate
pain, even though the ALJ so determined. Additionally, the ALJ’s conclusion that
the plaintiff can work with a sit/stand limitation has no support in the entire record.
The issue regarding the plaintiff’s disability is whether his headaches are severe
enough to cause him to miss the amount of time from work he alleges he would miss.
The VE testified that an employer would not tolerate more than one absence per
month in unskilled work (R. 411). All of the medical records reflect that the plaintiff
suffers from disabling headaches multiple times per month. The plaintiff himself
testified that physically he could work, but for his headaches.
Furthermore, nowhere does the ALJ make any finding with regard to the
plaintiff’s pain, other than his statement that his testimony regarding the same was not
fully credible. The plaintiff has been tried on multiple medications in an attempt to
find something that will relieve his pain and lessen its frequency. No doctor has
opined that he is exaggerating his pain, or drug-seeking. Only the ALJ reached the
conclusion that the plaintiff’s complaints of disability due to headache pain were
exaggerated. The ALJ’s own opinion of the evidence is not the requisite “good
cause” for not giving controlling weight to a treating physician. See e.g., Jones v.
Bowen, 810 F.2d 1001, 1005 (11th Cir.1986) (treating physician’s opinion is entitled
to “great weight” absent good cause to find to the contrary). This court finds that the
pain medication prescribed for plaintiff by his treating physicians support his
allegations of pain. See Foote v. Chater, 67 F.3d 1553, 1560 (11th Cir.1995); Landry
v. Heckler, 782 F.2d 1551, 1553 (11th Cir.1986).
The ALJ clearly ignored the testimony that such pain is disabling, as well as
the records finding such a level of pain.
The ALJ cannot arbitrarily reject
uncontroverted medical testimony. Walden v. Schweiker, 672 F.2d 835, 839 (11th
Cir.1982); see also Flynn v. Heckler, 768 F.2d 1273, 1275 (11th Cir.1995). “The ALJ
is not a medical doctor and his opinion is not to be substituted for medical evidence
supporting disability.” Youngblood v. Shalala, 1994 WL 722863 (N.D.Ala.1994) at
In assessing pain allegations, this court must consider whether any objective
medical evidence confirms the level of severity of the alleged pain arising from that
condition or whether the objectively determinable medical condition is of a severity
which can reasonably be expected to give rise to the alleged pain. See e.g. Martinson
v. Shalala, 843 F.Supp. 1448, 1450 (M.D.Fla.1994). The record is replete with
medical records detailing the plaintiff’s allegations of pain. This court finds the
plaintiff’s subjective complaints of pain to be credible and equivalent to the pain
expected by chronic migraine headaches or occipital neuralgia.
This court finds an abundance of evidence, detailed above, to support the
plaintiff’s subjective complaints of pain. This court finds these allegations to be
credible and in line with the pain expected from someone with the condition the
plaintiff suffers. By inferring that the plaintiff was able to work from his selective
review of the evidence, the ALJ substituted his opinion for that of all of the medical
reports in the file. “[A]s a hearing officer [the ALJ] may not arbitrarily substitute his
own hunch or intuition for that of a medical professional.” Marbury v. Sullivan, 957
F.2d 837, 840-41 (11th Cir.1992) (concurring opinion).
The ALJ did not consider the actual evidence that was in the record before him.
His finding that the plaintiff is not disabled is against the substantial weight of the
evidence. See Martin v. Sullivan, 894 F.2d 1520, 1529 (11th Cir.1990) (stating the
ALJ’s factual findings are conclusive if supported by substantial evidence). The
court finds that the substantial weight of the evidence dictates a finding that the
plaintiff has been under a disability since February 28, 2008. However, the plaintiff
also testified at his April 29, 2009, hearing that he was trying a new medication and
it seemed to be helping. Thus, the court has no means to determine whether the
plaintiff’s disability continued past the date of his hearings, and for the purpose of
this determination, shall remand this action to the Commissioner.
Based on the lack of substantial evidence in support of the ALJ’s findings and
the ALJ’s failure to apply the proper legal standards, it is hereby
ORDERED that the decision of the Commissioner is REVERSED and this
case is REMANDED to the Agency for further proceedings, which may include a
new hearing and/or reopening the record, to determine whether the plaintiff continues
under a disability from April 2009 forward. The court strongly recommends that
upon remand, this matter be assigned to any ALJ other than the ALJ who rendered the
decision in this case.
DONE and ORDERED the 19th day of August, 2013.
INGE PRYTZ JOHNSON
SENIOR U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
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