Webb v. Saul
MEMORANDUM Opinion and Order. Signed by the Honorable Heather K. McShain on 9/19/2022. Mailed notice. (pk, )
Case: 1:19-cv-08397 Document #: 22 Filed: 09/19/22 Page 1 of 10 PageID #:813
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
No. 19 CV 8397
ACTING COMMISSIONER OF
Magistrate Judge McShain
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiff Derek W. brings this action for judicial review of the Social Security
Administration’s (SSA) decision denying his application for benefits. For the following
reasons, the Court grants plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment ,2 denies the
Acting Commissioner of Social Security’s motion for summary judgment , and
remands this case to the agency for further administrative proceedings.
In August 2016, plaintiff filed a Title II application for a period disability and
disability insurance benefits, alleging a disability onset date of February 16, 2016.
See [9-1] 20. The claim was denied initially and on reconsideration. [Id.]. Plaintiff
requested a hearing, which was held by an administrative law judge (ALJ) on May
23, 2018. [Id.] 35-66. In a decision dated October 5, 2018, the ALJ found that plaintiff
was not disabled and denied his application. [Id.] 20-29. The Appeals Council denied
review on October 18, 2019 [id.] 1-5, making the ALJ’s decision the agency’s final
decision. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.955 & 404.981. Plaintiff timely appealed to this Court ,
In accordance with Fed. R. Civ. P. 25(d), Kilolo Kijakazi, the Acting Commissioner of Social
Security, is substituted as the defendant in this case in place of the former Commissioner of
Social Security, Andrew Saul.
Bracketed numbers refer to entries on the district court docket. Referenced page numbers
are taken from the CM/ECF header placed at the top of filings, except for citations to the
administrative record [9-1], which refer to the page numbers in the bottom right corner of
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and the Court has subject-matter jurisdiction to review the Acting Commissioner’s
decision under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).3
Plaintiff, who was 44 years old on his alleged onset date and had worked as a
tool and die maker, see [9-1] 67, sought disability benefits based primarily on his
thoracolumbar scoliosis and kyphosis with spinal cord compressions and
degenerative disc disease. [Id.] 23. Plaintiff stated in his SSA function report that
these impairments caused chronic pain in his back and hips and prevented him from
bending, lifting, twisting, and standing for any long period of time. [Id.] 214, 219.
Plaintiff’s Spinal Condition
When he was 12 years old, plaintiff was diagnosed with congenital scoliosis, “a
lateral curvature of the spine which can cause backache and fatigue.” Van Buskirk v.
Saul, No. 18 C 8035, 2022 WL 475968, at *2 n.5 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 15, 2022). [9-1] 282.
Plaintiff’s condition was managed conservatively and without significant issues
through his mid-twenties. See [id.] 305, 344. In more recent years, however, plaintiff
developed posterior thoracolumbar back pain that progressed and “ultimately
prevent[ed] him from exerting his job which is quite physical.” [Id.] 344. Plaintiff also
began to experience pain, tingling, and numbness in his left leg, “especially . . . when
he is bending forward.” [Id.] 305. Plaintiff’s spinal deformity was “extremely severe”
and involved “a very sick spinal cord.” [Id.] 390. One of his treaters opined that, had
plaintiff’s spinal condition been left untreated, “the natural history” of the condition
“involves almost 100% of eventual paralysis.” [Id.].
In April 2016, plaintiff was examined at the Illinois Bone and Joint Institute
by Dr. Steven Mardjetko. [9-1] 291-92. Plaintiff presented with pain and numbness
in his back and legs as well as mild paraparesis. [Id.] 291. Dr. Mardjetko observed
that plaintiff’s condition involved both kyphosis, which “is a curving of the spine that
causes a bowing or rounding of the back” that “leads to a hunchback or slouching
posture,” Latoria v. Astrue, No. 12 C 1097, 2013 WL 438120, at *2 n.2 (N.D. Ill. Feb.
5, 2013), and scoliosis. [9-1] 291. Based on his review of plaintiff’s x-rays and an MRI,
Dr. Mardjetko stated that “[t]he question is how much surgery we do on this
gentleman.” [Id.] 291-92. Mardjetko opined that a posterior stabilization without a
posterior vertebral column reconstruction (PVCR) “would be a conservative approach
and probably neurologically safer.” [Id.] 292. But Dr. Mardjetko was “not sure” that
this conservative approach “would adequately decompress the spinal cord” given that
“some of this is deformity related and not just a compressive pathology noted.”
[Id.] 292. Rather, Dr. Mardjetko believed that a PVCR “would likely be required.”
[Id.]. This was a “fairly big operation that carrie[d] significant neurological risk[.]”
The parties consented to the exercise of jurisdiction in this case by a United States
Magistrate Judge. .
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[Id.]. Given the gravity of the situation, Dr. Mardjetko recommended that plaintiff
solicit additional opinions. [Id.].
In July 2016, plaintiff was examined by Dr. Ricardo Fontes of Rush University
Neurosurgery Chicago. [9-1] 344-48. Plaintiff reported, inter alia, pain radiating into
the posterior legs that was worse when he flexed forward and instances of tripping
due to left leg incoordination. [Id.] 344. Dr. Fontes observed that plaintiff had a
normal gait, but was unable to heel-, toe-, or tandem-walk. [Id.] 345. Fontes concluded
that plaintiff had refractory pain due to deformity but also clinically significant
thoracic myelopathy due to spinal cord compression. [Id.] 347. According to Dr.
Fontes, plaintiff’s condition posed “a severe problem with potential for paralysis if
allowed to progress” and “pose[d] significant risk for paralysis during corrective
surgery.” [Id.]. Nevertheless, Dr. Fontes recommended that plaintiff undergo T4-L4
fusion and PVCR surgery because these procedures could allow plaintiff to
“maintain[ ] some additional motion[.]” [Id.].
In September 2016, Dr. Fontes performed what even the ALJ recognized was
“an extensive surgical procedure” on plaintiff’s spine. [9-1] 25, 390-91. The surgery,
which lasted about twelve hours [id.] 52, entailed (1) posterior osteotomies at T7-8,
T8-9, T9-10, T11-12, T12-L1, and L1-2;4 (2) a multilevel kyphectomy; (3) placement
of posterior segmental instrumentation at multiple levels of the spine; (4) application
of an anti-kyphosis device; (5) an instrumented fusion of T4 through L4; and (6) a
transpedicular decompression and partial vertebrectomy at T11-12. [Id.] 25, 390. Two
transpedicular screws were inserted into plaintiff’s back and stabilized by vertical
rods. [Id.] 451. Dr. Fontes attempted a limited correction of plaintiff’s scoliosis during
the operation, but the poor condition of plaintiff’s spinal cord led Fontes to abandon
this part of the surgery. [Id.] 391.
Plaintiff was seen by Dr. Fontes for a follow-up appointment in November
2016, seven weeks after surgery. [9-1] 576-77. Plaintiff reported that his kyphotic
deficit had completely resolved and “the pain associated with it was less[.]” [Id.] 576.
He complained of occasional new pain in his mid-thoracic region and numbness in his
feet, but “[o]verall” plaintiff reported feeling “much better” than he had felt before
surgery. [Id.]. On examination, Dr. Fontes found that plaintiff’s stance and gait were
aided, plaintiff used a walker to guide his gait, and plaintiff’s range of motion in the
thoracic spine was restricted. [Id.]. Fontes concluded that plaintiff was “much
improved when compared to before surgery,” the “coordination issues are gone in his
lower extremities,” and the radiating pain and back pain were likewise gone. [Id.]
577. Dr. Fontes asked whether plaintiff wished to undergo a second-stage surgery
that might have further reduced his pain, but plaintiff said he “definitely would not
want another surgery.” [Id.].
An osteotomy is a surgical procedure that “cuts and reshapes bones.” Fromer v. Riggs, No.
2:17-cv-66-JMS-DLP, 2019 WL 1416728, at *4 n.2 (S.D. Ind. Mar. 29, 2019).
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Plaintiff returned to see Dr. Fontes in December 2016. [9-1] 579-80. Fontes
noted that plaintiff was “doing very well for the severity of his preoperative problem”
[id.] 580, but also “persist[ed] with balance problems and had a recent fall.” [Id.] 579.
On examination, plaintiff was “still off-balance,” his range of motion was decreased,
and, although he could walk without assistance, he could not toe-, heel-, or tandemwalk. [Id.]. Dr. Fontes advised plaintiff that it was possible to continue with a
vertebral column reconstruction to correct his alignment, but plaintiff did not wish to
pursue this option. [Id.]. Fontes opined that plaintiff was “off-balance, as before
surgery, because of cord compression and myelomalacia and further surgery is not
likely to help that.” [Id.] 580. Regarding a possible return to work, Fontes opined that
plaintiff was “unable to perform physical labor because of myelopathy and the long
fusion” and unlikely to “regain that ability”; instead, Fontes advised plaintiff to “look
into re-training in some other occupation.” [Id.].
Plaintiff was evaluated by Dr. Fontes again in October 2017. [9-1] 652-54.
Plaintiff complained of numbness in the incision area and in his left leg, but otherwise
reported that he was doing “quite well” and his strength had improved compared to
his pre-operation condition. [Id.] 652. He reported mild back pain but he was not
taking medication for it. [Id.]. “Upon examination, [plaintiff] had limited motion in
the lumbar and cervical spine.” [9-1] 26. Plaintiff had a normal gait, and he could
heel-, toe-, and tandem-walk without difficulty. [Id.] 653. Dr. Fontes found that
plaintiff’s preoperative myelopathy had completely resolved and that he presented
good clinical alignment. [Id.] 654.
The Administrative Hearing
At the hearing before the ALJ, plaintiff described experiencing pain in his back
and hips. [9-1] 42, 49. Plaintiff treated his pain with muscle relaxers and pain killers,
the latter of which he used only occasionally, and by lying down, which took the pain
off his lower back. [Id.] 42, 52. Asked by the ALJ how far he could walk while using
his cane, plaintiff testified that he “got up from the building to here minus the
elevator. I don’t know how far that is. But that’s about normal before I sit down.” [Id.]
43. Plaintiff could sit up straight, but he was unable to lean back because of the rods
in his back, which had been placed just below his shoulders and extended to just
above his hips. [Id.] 50.
Plaintiff testified that he had difficulty bending because he was “screwed
Okay. And you had mentioned that bending was quite difficult.
Why is that?
I’m screwed together.
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And you lose balance at times?
Yes. I can’t – I can only bend so far.
Oh, okay. How far can you bend without it becoming a problem
with your balance? You’re, you’re kind of sitting at a 90 degree
angle. Like, could you bend 45 degrees? I don’t want you to have
to do it there, but you can –
Well it’s better to show than to – if I support myself, I can go about
that far. But right there is where I start feeling – right here.
Okay. So you’re standing not upright. You’re kind of, I don’t know.
Leaning a little bit –
I can stand.
Maybe at a 45 degree angle. So you can’t – you can’t bend beyond
the 45 degree?
Not without pain.
Not without pain? So you can’t – you couldn’t bend down and pick
off something off the floor?
If somebody drops $50, I’m out $50, that’s – unless I put my foot
Oh, okay. So if you were sitting, you can’t bend also and pick
something off the floor or anything like that?
No. I – my range of mobility side to side is this. That – that’s about
as far as I can –
How about stooping? Could you lean forward and kind of bend at
That’s what I was doing at the table. That’s this.
Okay. But you can’t – you can’t lean forward all the way and bend
at the waist off to –
– the ground or anything like that?
No, ma’am. And I’m going to need my cane back.
Plaintiff also testified that he can stand on his feet for “[m]aybe a half hour,”
and that he could sit for about the same length of time before he would stand up to
relieve the pain in his hips. [9-1] 43. However, plaintiff “usually lean[s] on something”
or “touch[es] something” when he stands, and he probably could not “free-stand for a
half an hour.” [Id.] 54-55.
Vocational expert (VE) Kari Seaver testified at the hearing. [9-1] 61. The ALJ
instructed the VE to assume an individual of plaintiff’s age, education, and work
experience who could (1) stand and/or walk a total of two hours during an eight-hour
workday, (2) sit at least six hours during an eight-hour workday with a sit/stand
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option where the individual could stand for one-to-two minutes after sitting for 30
minutes, and (3) occasionally stoop, crouch, kneel, crawl, bend, and twist. [Id.] 62.
Asked whether there were any jobs that such an individual could perform, the VE
testified that such an individual could work as a sorter, an assembler, and a packer.
[Id.] 62-63. The VE added that such an individual could work in those jobs even if he
needed a cane to get to and from the workstation, but no jobs would be available if
the individual “needed a cane to stand at the workstation.” [Id.] 63. The VE added
that work as a sorter, assembler, and packer would be precluded if the individual
“cannot stand without leaning on something for at least a half an hour[.]” [Id.] 66.
Under questioning by plaintiff’s attorney, the VE testified that such an individual
could not perform the sorter, assembler, or packer positions if he could not bend at
the waist. [9-1] 64. While none of the jobs required bending, the VE explained, some
bending was inherent in the acts of sitting down at, and standing up from, the
workstation. [Id.]. Finally, the VE testified that the individual hypothesized by the
ALJ could not perform the sorter, assembler, or packer jobs if he were capable of “less
than occasional bending.” [Id.] 65.
The ALJ’s Decision
At step one of her decision, the ALJ found that plaintiff had not engaged in
substantial gainful activity since his alleged onset date. [9-1] 22-23. At step two, the
ALJ concluded that plaintiff’s thoracolumbar scoliosis and kyphosis with spinal cord
compression and degenerative joint disease were severe impairments. [Id.]. At step
three, the ALJ determined that plaintiff did not have an impairment or combination
of impairments the met or medically equaled the severity of a listed impairment. [Id.]
23-24. The ALJ then ruled that plaintiff had the residual functional capacity (RFC)
to perform sedentary work, except that plaintiff (1) could never climb ropes, ladders,
or scaffolds; (2) could occasionally climb ramps and stairs, balance, stoop, crouch,
kneel, crawl, bend, or twist; (3) must be provided a sit/stand option allowing him to
stand for one or two minutes after sitting for 30 minutes; and (4) must be allowed to
use a cane as needed to get to and from the workstation. [9-1] 24. Turning to step
four, the ALJ found that plaintiff could not perform his past relevant work as a tool
and die maker and a pinsetter mechanic. [Id.] 27-28. At step five, the ALJ ruled that
jobs existed in significant numbers in the national economy that plaintiff could
perform–namely, the sorter, assembler, and packer jobs identified by the VE. [Id.] 2829. The ALJ accordingly found that plaintiff was not disabled.
Under the Social Security Act, disability is defined 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).
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To determine whether a claimant is disabled, the ALJ conducts a five-step
inquiry: (1) whether the claimant is unemployed; (2) whether the claimant has a
severe impairment or combination of impairments; (3) whether the claimant’s
impairment meets or equals any listed impairments; (4) whether the claimant can
perform his past relevant work; and (5) whether the claimant is unable to perform
any other available work in light of his age, education, and work experience. See 20
C.F.R §§ 404.1520(a)(4) & 416.920(a). “An affirmative answer leads either to the next
step, or, on Steps 3 and 5, to a finding that the claimant is disabled. A negative answer
at any point, other than Step 3, ends the inquiry and leads to a determination that a
claimant is not disabled.” Clifford v. Apfel, 227 F.3d 863, 868 (7th Cir. 2000).
The Court reviews the ALJ’s decision deferentially to determine if it is
supported by substantial evidence. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Substantial evidence is “not a
high threshold: it means only ‘such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might
accept as adequate to support a conclusion.” Karr v. Saul, 989 F.3d 508, 511 (7th Cir.
2021) (quoting Biestek v. Berryhill, 139 S. Ct. 1148, 1152 (2019)). But the standard
“is not entirely uncritical. Where the Commissioner’s decision lacks evidentiary
support or is so poorly articulated as to prevent meaningful review, the case must be
remanded.” Brett D. v. Saul, No. 19 C 8352, 2021 WL 2660753, at *1 (N.D. Ill. June
29, 2021) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
Plaintiff argues that the ALJ’s decision should be reversed and remanded for
three reasons. First, plaintiff argues that the ALJ’s subjective symptom analysis was
patently erroneous because (1) the objective findings in plaintiff’s medical records
were “far more dire” than the ALJ appreciated, (2) the ALJ gave undue weight to the
fact that plaintiff’s condition and pain improved after surgery without considering
whether plaintiff had “improved enough to be capable of sustaining full time
employment,” (3) the ALJ’s assumption that plaintiff would have sought further
specialist treatment if his symptoms were as severe as he alleged ignored the
significant risks of further surgery, and (4) there was no evidence to contradict
plaintiff’s allegations regarding his limited ability to balance and bend.  8-13.
Second, plaintiff argues that the ALJ’s RFC determination is not supported by
substantial evidence because (1) the ALJ failed to account for the limitations
stemming from his non-severe shoulder impairment, (2) the medical evidence
contradicts the ALJ’s assessment of his ability to stand and bend, and (3) there is no
evidence in the record to support the ALJ’s determination that plaintiff was capable
of occasional bending. [Id.] 13-15. Third, plaintiff argues that the ALJ improperly
rejected the opinion of his treating neurosurgeon, Dr. Fontes, that plaintiff was
incapable of physical labor. [Id.] 15.
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The Court agrees that the ALJ’s RFC determination is not supported by
substantial evidence.5 Although the ALJ found that plaintiff required a cane to get to
and from the workstation, she made no finding respecting plaintiff’s ability to stand
without assistance. This was a critical error, not only because SSA regulations
required the ALJ to make a finding respecting plaintiff’s ability to stand and describe
the evidence supporting that finding, but also because the VE testified that plaintiff
would be unable to work if he could not stand unassisted for 30 minutes. Given
plaintiff’s testimony that he needed to lean on or touch something while standing,
and the ALJ’s failure to cite any medical evidence that was inconsistent with that
testimony, there is no substantial evidentiary support for the ALJ’s conclusion that
plaintiff had the RFC to perform a job that required him to stand unassisted for at
least 30 minutes.
“A disability claimant’s RFC describes the maximum she can do in a work
setting despite her mental and physical limitations.” Thomas v. Colvin, 745 F.3d 802,
807 (7th Cir. 2014). “The relevant regulation, SSR 96-8p, lists seven strength
functions that an ALJ must consider when assessing a claimant’s RFC to work:
lifting, carrying, sitting, standing, walking, pushing, and pulling.” Jarnutowski v.
Kijakazi, No. 21-2130, --- F.4th ----, 2022 WL 4126293, at *4 (7th Cir. Sept. 12, 2022).
“The regulation also requires an ALJ to describe how the evidence supports each
conclusion about a strength function, citing specific medical facts (e.g., laboratory
findings) and nonmedical evidence (e.g., daily activities, observations).” Id. (internal
quotation marks and brackets omitted). The claimant’s RFC is “based upon the
medical evidence in the record and other evidence, such as testimony by the claimant
or his friends and family.” Craft v. Astrue, 539 F.3d 668, 676 (7th Cir. 2008) (citing
20 C.F.R. § 404.1545(a)(3)); see also Arnett v. Astrue, 676 F.3d 586, 591 (7th Cir. 2012)
(“An ALJ must evaluate all relevant evidence when determining an applicant’s
In ruling that plaintiff had the RFC to perform sedentary work, the ALJ found
that plaintiff “must be provided a sit-stand option allowing him to stand for one or
two minutes after sitting for 30 minutes” and “must be allowed to use a cane as
needed to get to and from the workstation.” [9-1] 24. However, the ALJ made no
specific finding as to plaintiff’s ability to stand with or without assistance, nor did she
specifically discuss plaintiff’s testimony and the medical evidence that bore on this
issue. See [id.] 24-27.
The Court recognizes that “the lack of an explicit finding” regarding plaintiff’s
ability to stand “does not necessarily” require remand. Jeske v. Saul, 955 F.3d 583,
597 (7th Cir. 2020); see also Jarnutowski, --- F.4th ----, 2022 WL 4126293, at *4. In
this case, however, the ALJ could not have concluded that plaintiff could work as a
sorter, packer, or assembler without also finding that plaintiff could stand unassisted
at a workstation and without leaning on something for 30 minutes. When the ALJ
Consequently, the Court need not reach plaintiff’s other grounds for remand.
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asked the VE whether the individual in her hypothetical question could work in those
positions if he “needed a cane to stand at the workstation,” the VE responded that
“[t]here would be no work for that individual.” [9-1] 63. The VE also testified that “if
one cannot stand without leaning on something for at least a half an hour,” that
person could not work as a sorter, packer, or assembler. [Id.] 66. Nevertheless, the
ALJ made no finding respecting plaintiff’s ability to stand unassisted. Nor did she
address the apparently substantial evidence that plaintiff was unable to do so. For
one thing, plaintiff testified that he could stand for “[m]aybe a half hour,” but he
“usually lean[ed] on something” or “touch[ed] something” when doing so; he doubted
he could “free-stand for a half an hour.” [Id.] 54-55. This testimony was consistent,
moreover, with plaintiff’s appearance at the hearing. During a lengthy exchange
regarding plaintiff’s ability to bend and stand, plaintiff’s attorney observed, “[Y]ou’re
standing not upright. You’re kind of, I don’t know . . . Leaning a little bit.” [Id.] 50.
For another, Dr. Fontes observed in December 2016 that, despite the many successes
associated with plaintiff’s spinal surgery, plaintiff “[p]ersists with balance problems
and had a recent fall,” and he was “still off-balance” on examination. [Id.] 580. Dr.
Fontes’s treatment note even seems to imply that plaintiff’s impaired balance was a
permanent limitation: Fontes opined that “further surgery is not likely to help”
resolve plaintiff’s balance issues. [Id.].
Defendant contends that the ALJ adequately accommodated plaintiff’s
limitations by requiring that he have a sit/stand option, and that the ALJ’s RFC
determination incorporated even greater limitations than the state agency reviewing
physicians had identified.  10. While defendant has accurately described the
ALJ’s decision, these arguments do not respond to plaintiff’s contention that the
ALJ’s RFC determination is fatally flawed because it did not account for his
“documented inability to stand independently[.]”  7; see also [id.] 14. The Court
further observes that nothing in the ALJ’s decision demonstrates how or why the ALJ
concluded that a sit/stand option would adequately accommodate plaintiff’s
limitations, nor does the decision explain the ALJ’s basis for concluding that plaintiff
was capable of repeatedly sitting down and standing up throughout the workday. See
In sum, the jobs that the ALJ found plaintiff could perform required the ability
to stand unassisted at the workstation for up to 30 minutes, but the ALJ’s RFC
determination does not include a finding that plaintiff could do so. The ALJ’s RFC
determination is not supported by substantial evidence, and the case must be
Although the ALJ’s mishandling of the standing issue alone warrants a
remand, the Court observes that the ALJ’s finding that plaintiff was capable of
occasional bending appears equally problematic. Under SSA regulations,
“occasionally” means “occurring from very little up to one-third of the time.” SSR 8310, 1983 WL 31251, at *5 (Jan. 1, 1983). First, the degree to which plaintiff could
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bend determined whether he could work as a sorter, packer, or assembler. While the
VE testified that these positions did not require any bending beyond that inherent in
the act of sitting down at, or getting up from, the workstation, see [9-1] 65, she also
testified that “these jobs would be eliminated” if the claimant were capable of only
“less than occasional bending.” [Id.]. Second, plaintiff offered vivid testimony at the
hearing that his ability to bend was significantly limited: he could bend “[m]aybe at
a 45 degree angle,” he could not bend down to pick something off the ground–not even
from a seated position–and his “range of mobility side to side” was impaired. [Id.] 5051. The ALJ’s decision provides no insight into how she determined that plaintiff was
capable of occasional bending: she did not cite any medical evidence contradicting this
testimony, she did not rely on a doctor’s functional report that was inconsistent with
plaintiff’s alleged bending limitations, and she did not cite anything in Dr. Fontes’s
treatment notes suggesting that plaintiff was capable of a certain amount of bending–
let alone bending for up to one-third of a workday. See Murphy v. Colvin, 759 F.3d
811, 817-18 (7th Cir. 2014) (ALJ’s finding that plaintiff could perform light work was
not supported by substantial evidence where “[t]here is no medical evidence in the
record to contradict Murphy’s claim” that she could not perform such work, and
primary doctor’s treating notes neither “contradict[ed] Murphy’s testimony” about
her limitations nor “address[ed] the legal requirements one must be able to perform
before the ALJ the can determine that the individual is able to do light work”); see
also Brett D., 2021 WL 2660753, at *1 (remand required where ALJ’s decision is “so
poorly articulated as to prevent meaningful review”). Accordingly, in determining
plaintiff’s RFC on remand, the ALJ should reexamine whether plaintiff is capable of
Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment  is granted, and the Acting
Commissioner’s motion for summary judgment  is denied. The decision of the SSA
is reversed, and, in accordance with the fourth sentence of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), this
case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this Memorandum Opinion
HEATHER K. McSHAIN
United States Magistrate Judge
DATE: September 19, 2022
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