Howard v. Social Security Administration
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER -- Having reviewed the medical evidence of record, the transcript of the administrative hearing, the decision of the ALJ, and the pleadings and briefs of the parties, the undersigned magistrate judge REVERSES the Commissioners decision and REMANDS the matter for further administrative findings consistent with this opinion. Signed by Magistrate Judge Shon T. Erwin on 7/7/17. (mc)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
WESTERN DISTRICT OF OKLAHOMA
FLORENCE C. HOWARD,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting
Commissioner of the Social Security
Case No. CIV-16-1117-STE
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiff brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) for judicial review of the
final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration denying Plaintiff’s
applications for benefits under the Social Security Act. The Commissioner has answered
and filed a transcript of the administrative record (hereinafter TR. ____). The parties have
consented to jurisdiction over this matter by a United States magistrate judge pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c).
The parties have briefed their positions, and the matter is now at issue. Based on
the Court’s review of the record and the issues presented, the Court REVERSES and
REMANDS the Commissioner’s decision for further administrative findings.
Nancy A. Berryhill is now the Acting Commissioner of Social Security. Pursuant to Rule 25(d)
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Nancy A. Berryhill should be substituted for Acting
Commissioner Carolyn W. Colvin as the defendant in this suit. No further action needs to be taken
to continue this suit by reason of the last sentence of section 205(g) of the Social Security Act,
42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
The Social Security Administration denied Plaintiff’s applications for disability
insurance benefits and supplemental security income initially and on reconsideration.
Following a hearing, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) issued an unfavorable decision.
(TR. 14-20). The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff’s request for review. (TR. 1-4). Thus,
the decision of the ALJ became the final decision of the Commissioner.
THE ADMINISTRATIVE DECISION
In evaluating Plaintiff’s claims of disability, the ALJ followed the five-step
sequential evaluation process required by agency regulations. See Fischer-Ross v.
Barnhart, 431 F.3d 729, 731 (10th Cir. 2005); 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520 & 416.920. At step
one, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since
September 25, 2012, the alleged onset date. (TR. 16). At step two, the ALJ determined
that Ms. Howard had the following severe impairments: lumbar back pain and spinal
stenosis. (TR. 16). At step three, the ALJ found that Plaintiff’s impairments did not meet
or medically equal any of the presumptively disabling impairments listed at 20 C.F.R. Part
404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. (TR. 17).
At step four, the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff had the residual functional capacity
(RFC) to “perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b) with
occasional stooping, kneeling, and crouching.” (TR. 17). With this RFC, the ALJ concluded
that Plaintiff could perform her past relevant work as a sales associate. (TR. 18). Even
so, the ALJ proceeded to step five. There, the ALJ presented several limitations to a
vocational expert (VE) to determine whether there were other jobs in the national
economy that Plaintiff could perform. (TR. 35-36). Given the limitations, the VE identified
three jobs from the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT). (TR. 36-37). The ALJ adopted
the testimony of the VE and concluded that Ms. Howard was not disabled based on her
ability to perform the identified jobs. (TR. 19-20).
On appeal, Plaintiff alleges error: (1) in the evaluation of a mental impairment, (2)
in the evaluation of a treating physician’s opinion, and (3) in the credibility analysis.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
This Court reviews the Commissioner’s final “decision to determin[e] whether the
factual findings are supported by substantial evidence in the record and whether the
correct legal standards were applied.” Wilson v. Astrue, 602 F.3d 1136, 1140 (10th Cir.
2010). “Substantial evidence is such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept
as adequate to support a conclusion.” Id. (quotation omitted).
While the court considers whether the ALJ followed the applicable rules of law in
weighing particular types of evidence in disability cases, the court will “neither reweigh
the evidence nor substitute [its] judgment for that of the agency.” Vigil v. Colvin, 805
F.3d 1199, 1201 (10th Cir. 2015) (internal quotation marks omitted).
THE ALJ’S EVALUATION OF DR. MALDONADO’S OPINION
From August 16, 2013 to December 23, 2014, Dr. Juan Maldonado treated Plaintiff
for back pain. (TR. 372-383, 390-404). As alleged by Ms. Howard, the ALJ erred in his
evaluation of Dr. Maldonado’s opinion.
ALJ’s Duty to Assess a Treating Physician’s Opinion
An ALJ must follow a particular analysis in evaluating a treating physician’s opinion.
First, the ALJ has to determine, then explain, whether the opinion is entitled to controlling
weight. Langley v. Barnhart, 373 F.3d 1116, 1119 (10th Cir. 2004). An opinion is entitled
to controlling weight if it is “well supported by medically acceptable clinical and laboratory
diagnostic techniques and is consistent with the other substantial evidence in the record.”
Allman v. Colvin, 813 F.3d 1326, 1331 (10th Cir. 2016) (citation and internal quotation
marks omitted). “But if the ALJ decides that the treating physician’s opinion is not entitled
to controlling weight, the ALJ must then consider whether the opinion should be rejected
altogether or assigned some lesser weight.” Id. (internal quotation marks omitted).
In doing so, the ALJ must: (1) assess the opinion under a series of factors2 and give
“good reasons” for the weight assigned to the opinion. Id. at 1332. “The reasons must
be sufficiently specific to make clear to any subsequent reviewers the weight the [ALJ]
gave to the treating source’s medical opinion and the reason for that weight.” Id. If the
ALJ rejects an opinion completely, he must give “specific, legitimate reasons” for doing
so. Watkins v. Barnhart, 350 F.3d 1297, 1300 (10th Cir. 2003) (internal citations omitted).
These factors include: (1) the length of the treatment relationship and the frequency of
examination; (2) the nature and extent of the treatment relationship, including the treatment
provided and the kind of examination or testing performed; (3) the degree to which the
physician’s opinion is supported by relevant evidence; (4) consistency between the opinion and
the record as a whole; (5) whether or not the physician is a specialist in the area upon which an
opinion is rendered; and (6) other factors brought to the ALJ’s attention which tend to support
or contradict the opinion. See Allman, at 1331-1332; 20 C.F.R §§ 404.1527, 416.927.
Dr. Maldonado’s Opinion
On April 7, 2014, Dr. Maldonado completed a “Medical Opinion Regarding Residual
Functional Capacity” where the physician documented Ms. Howard’s physical impairment,
including her various work-related abilities and limitations. (TR. 383). There, the physician
stated that since 2012 Ms. Howard had been suffering low back pain caused by a
herniated disc impinging on her left side. (TR. 383). With the impairment, Dr. Maldonado
opined that Plaintiff had the ability to:
stand and walk less than 2 hours during an 8-hour day,
sit for 2 hours during an 8-hour day, and
occasionally and/or frequently lift and/or carry less than 10 pounds.
(TR. 383). Dr. Maldonado also stated that Ms. Howard’s impairment: (1) was likely to
interfere with her ability to maintain attention and concentrate for 25% or more of her
workday and (2) would likely cause her to be absent from work more than 3 days per
month. (TR. 383).
Error in the ALJ’s Consideration of Dr. Maldonado’s Opinion
The ALJ acknowledged Dr. Maldonado as Plaintiff’s treating physician and
recognized the April 7, 2014 RFC assessment as “opinion evidence,” but only mentioned
limitations in the opinion related to Plaintiff’s ability to sit, stand, and walk. (TR. 18).
Ultimately, the ALJ accorded the opinion “little weight,” citing three reasons:
“normal” neurological functioning noted during 13 office visits,
an absence of “significant positive finding[s] related to [Plaintiff’s] back,”
Dr. Maldonado failed to recommend any treatment for Plaintiff aside from
(TR. 18). Plaintiff argues that the ALJ’s reasons for discounting Dr. Maldonado’s opinion
lack substantial evidence. (ECF No. 16:10-16). The Court agrees.3
First, the ALJ cites “normal” neurological functioning during 13 office visits with
Dr. Maldonado. (TR. 18). As part of Dr. Maldonado’s treatment notes, the physician
completes a checklist of symptoms and findings for various areas of the patient, including
an area for “Neuro.” (TR. 390). In the “Neuro” column, “normal” findings are present if
the patient has normal cerebellar and cortical function, gait, and deep tendon flexes, and
grossly normal cranial nerves 2-12. (TR. 390). But “normal” neurological findings, as that
term is used in the physician’s report would not account for Ms. Howard’s complaints of
lower back pain, which Dr. Maldonado documented during every office visit. (TR. 373,
374, 376, 378, 380, 382, 391, 393, 395, 396, 397, 399, 401, 402, 403). And although the
majority of the office visits reported “normal” neurological findings, the August 23, 2013
report noted “abnormal” neurological findings in Plaintiff’s neck and low spine and positive
straight leg-raise findings. (TR. 374).
Ms. Howard makes a passing reference to the fact that “the ALJ skipped the first step [in
determining whether the opinion was entitled to “controlling weight”], only determining Dr.
Maldonado’s opinion warranted little weight.” (ECF No. 16:12). But she does not further pursue
this allegation as a separate point of error. In any event, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals has
indicated that no error exists based on the ALJ’s failure to explicitly discuss whether an opinion is
entitled to controlling weight, when it is apparent from the record that the ALJ had given the
opinion less than controlling weight, and continued through the remainder of the analysis. See
Andersen v. Astrue, 319 F. App’x 712, 720, n. 4, 721 (10th Cir. 2009).
Next, the ALJ’s references to “no significant positive findings related to the
[Plaintiff’s] back” and no “recommend[ation] [for] laboratory testing or treatment other
than the prescription of medication” were also inaccurate and not supported by the
record. On every single office visit, Dr. Maldonado noted Ms. Howard suffered from back
pain. (TR. 373, 374, 376, 378, 380, 382, 391, 393, 395, 396, 397, 399, 401, 402, 403).
The physician also noted that Ms. Howard experienced pain with walking and should
avoid heavy lifting. (TR. 380, 394).
And after nine months of office visits documenting the back pain, Dr. Maldonado
ordered an MRI of Plaintiff’s lumbar spine. (TR. 393). The MRI showed:
“severe bilateral facet arthropathy” in conjunction with a bulging disc at L45 which resulted in central canal stenosis,
slight degenerative anterolisthesis and moderate bilateral facet arthopathy
with small facet joint effusion at L3-4,
and loss of lordotic curvature which may indicate muscle spasm.
(TR. 384). After reviewing the MRI results, Dr. Maldonado noted an additional diagnosis
of spinal stenosis and degenerative disc disease and referred Plaintiff to neurosurgeon
Dr. David Pagnanelli. (TR. 395). And in addition to the neurosurgeon referral and MRI
and prescription medication, Dr. Maldonado also referred Plaintiff for physical therapy,
prescribed back exercises, and gave Ms. Howard Depo-Medrol injections to treat the pain.
(TR. 382, 391, 393, 395, 397, 401, 402).
In defense of the ALJ’s decision, the Commissioner lists various objective findings
in the record which she contends would support the RFC determination. (ECF No. 17:310). For example, Ms. Berryhill relies on:
findings from other physicians regarding good range of motion in Plaintiff’s
back, and normal neurological functioning,
Dr. Maldonado’s findings of “normal neurological functioning,”
Dr. Pagnanelli’s findings of “normal lower extremity strength and reflexes”
and “normal gait and station,”
The ALJ’s finding that Ms. Howard was “stable on current medication,” and
Findings from state agency physicians that Plaintiff could perform light
(ECF No. 17:3-10). In sum, the Commissioner states: “Since those opinions were
supported by substantial evidence, for the reasons discussed above, the ALJ’s decision in
this regard was supported by substantial evidence, and Plaintiff’s contention that the ALJ’s
RFC was not supported by substantial evidence, . . . is not persuasive.” (ECF No. 17:910).
Ms. Berryhill’s argument is unconvincing for two reasons. First, the ALJ did not rely
on the evidence cited by Defendant to reject Dr. Maldonado’s opinion. See TR. 18.
Accordingly, the Court rejects Defendant’s argument because the Court is not permitted
to supply post-hoc rationales to uphold the Commissioner’s decision. See Haga v. Astrue,
482 F.3d 1205, 1207 (10th Cir. 2007) (“[T]his court may not create or adopt post-hoc
rationalizations to support the ALJ’s decision that are not apparent from the ALJ’s decision
itself.”); Hackett v. Barnhart, 395 F.3d 1168, 1173 (10th Cir. 2005) (the Court should not
“substitute [its] judgment for that of the Commissioner.”).
Second, Plaintiff’s argument regarding a lack of substantial evidence to support
the RFC is premised on the fact that the ALJ failed to properly evaluate Dr. Maldonado’s
opinion. (ECF No. 16:16). Although Defendant argues that the RFC determination is based
on substantial evidence, the Court cannot reach the same conclusion in the absence of a
re-evaluation of Dr. Maldonado’s opinion. Only after Dr. Maldonado’s opinion has been
re-evaluated utilizing the proper legal framework with findings supported by the record
can a determination be made regarding whether the RFC is supported by substantial
THE ALJ’S EVALUATION OF PLAINTIFF’S ANXIETY
Ms. Howard alleges error in the evaluation of her anxiety. (ECF No. 16:16-20). The
record contains evidence that Plaintiff suffered from anxiety and was prescribed
medication. (TR. 289, 291, 293). Based on these records, Ms. Howard contends that the
ALJ erred in failing to evaluate the impairment utilizing the regulatory special technique
promulgated by the Commissioner for evaluation of mental impairments. (ECF No. 16:1620). The Court agrees.
The ALJ’s Duty to Evaluate a Mental Impairment
When assessing a plaintiff’s mental impairment, the ALJ is required by regulation
to apply a “special technique.” See 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520a, 416.920a. The first step in
that technique is to “evaluate [the claimant’s] pertinent symptoms, signs, and laboratory
findings to determine whether [the claimant has] a medically determinable mental
impairment(s).” Id. at §§ 404.1520a(b)(1), 416.920a(b)(1). “A physical or mental
impairment must be established by medical evidence consisting of signs, symptoms, and
laboratory findings, not only by [a claimant’s] statement of symptoms.” Id. at §§
404.1508, 416.908. Once a medically determinable impairment is found, the ALJ must
“rate the degree of functional limitation resulting from the impairment(s).” Id. at §§
404.1520a(b)(2), 416.920a(b)(2). The ALJ does this by rating the claimant's limitations
in “four broad functional areas,” which are: “Activities of daily living; social functioning;
concentration, persistence, or pace; and episodes of decompensation.” Id. at §§
404.1520a(c)(3), 416.920a(c)(3). These ratings are then used to determine the severity
of the mental impairment(s). Under the regulations,
the [ALJ’s] written decision must incorporate the pertinent findings and
conclusions based on the technique. The decision must show the significant
history, including examination and laboratory findings, and the functional
limitations that were considered in reaching a conclusion about the severity
of the mental impairment(s). The decision must include a specific finding
as to the degree of limitation in each of the [four broad] functional areas[.]
Id. at §§ 404.1520a(e)(2), 416.920a(e)(2).
Error in Failing to Properly Evaluate Ms. Howard’s Mental
The ALJ erred by failing to properly evaluate whether Ms. Howard suffered from a
mental impairment. The record established that Plaintiff had been diagnosed with anxiety
and had been taking prescription medication to treat the condition. (TR. 289, 291, 293).
This evidence was sufficient to establish the existence of a medically determinable mental
impairment. See George v. Astrue, 451 F. App'x 767, 768 (10th Cir. 2011) (sufficient
evidence to establish medically determinable mental impairment where claimant was
diagnosed with anxiety and treated with drugs). Accordingly, the ALJ was required to
evaluate the anxiety utilizing the “special technique.” See 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520a(b)(2),
The Commissioner argues that no error existed because other providers did not
diagnose a mental impairment and examinations revealed that Plaintiff was “alert and
oriented, and demonstrated a normal, appropriate mood; a normal, appropriate, calm
affect; appropriate cooperative behavior; effective communication; intact memory; and
normal fund of knowledge.” (ECF No. 17:12) (citations omitted). It is entirely possible
that on remand, the ALJ will find that Ms. Howard’s anxiety has no impact on her ability
to work. But because the ALJ has not made any factual findings—one way or the other—
about the existence, severity, or functional limitations, if any, imposed by Ms. Howard’s
anxiety, the Court cannot jump to this conclusion. This issue is for the fact-finder—the
ALJ—to resolve. See Allen v. Barnhart, 357 F.3d 1140, 1144 (10th Cir.2004) (“[A]s a court
acting within the confines of its administrative review authority, we are empowered only
to review the ALJ’s decision for substantial evidence and, accordingly, we are not in a
position to draw factual conclusions on behalf of the ALJ.”) (quotations omitted).
Simply put, when presented with evidence of a medically determinable mental
impairment, the ALJ failed to: (1) mention the mental impairment, (2) apply the “special
technique,” or (3) provide for any mental limitations in the RFC. These failures constitute
error as a matter of law. See Hill v. Sullivan, 924 F.2d 972, 974 (10th Cir. 1991) (“Since
the record contained evidence of a mental impairment that allegedly prevented claimant
from working, the Secretary was required to follow the procedure for evaluating the
potential mental impairment set forth in his regulations and to document the procedure
accordingly.”) (citation omitted); George, at 768-769 (ALJ erred in failing to evaluate
plaintiff’s mental impairment utilizing the “special technique” when presented with
evidence that plaintiff suffered from anxiety and had been prescribed medication).
ERROR IN THE CREDIBILITY ANALYSIS
Plaintiff alleges that the ALJ erred in evaluating her credibility. According to Ms.
Howard, the ALJ: (1) evaluated credibility in a boilerplate manner, (2) improperly relied
solely on daily activities as a basis to support the credibility determination, and (3) failed
to link his conclusions to specific evidence of record. (ECF No. 16:20-24). Ms. Howard is
ALJ’s Duty to Evaluate Allegations of Pain/Credibility
The assessment of a claimant’s RFC generally requires the ALJ to make findings
regarding the credibility of testimony describing “the intensity, persistence, and
functionally limiting effects of. . . symptoms,” such as pain and other subjective
complaints, that are associated with the claimant’s medically determinable impairments.
See Wilson v. Astrue, 602 F.3d 1136, 1144 (10th Cir. 2010); SSR 96-7p, 1996 WL 347186,
at *1 (July 2, 1996). The ALJ is required to closely and affirmatively link his credibility
findings to substantial evidence in the record. See Wilson, 602 F.3d at 1144. “Credibility
determinations are peculiarly the province of the finder of fact, and we will not upset such
determinations when supported by substantial evidence.” Id. (internal quotation marks
omitted). In Wilson, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals set forth a list of factors that
should be considered in assessing the credibility of subjective complaints, including:
the levels of medication and their effectiveness, the extensiveness of the
attempts (medical or nonmedical) to obtain relief, the frequency of medical
contacts, the nature of daily activities, subjective measures of credibility
that are peculiarly within the judgment of the ALJ, the motivation of and
relationship between the claimant and other witnesses, and the consistency
or compatibility of nonmedical testimony with objective medical evidence.
Id. at 1145 (internal quotation marks omitted); see also SSR 96-7p, 1996 WL 473186, at
It is not enough for the ALJ to simply recite the factors, although he need not
undergo a formalistic factor-by-factor recitation of the evidence. Id. at *4; Qualls v. Apfel,
206 F.3d 1368, 1372 (10th Cir. 2000). However, in considering the factors, the ALJ must
“set[ ] forth the specific evidence he relie[d] on in evaluating the claimant’s credibility.”
Keyes-Zachary v. Astrue, 695 F.3d 1156, 1167 (10th Cir. 2012). The ALJ must give specific
reasons for the credibility finding, and must be sufficiently specific regarding the weight
given to the individual’s statements and the reasons for that weight. SSR 96-7p at *4. It
is not sufficient to make a conclusory statement that “the individual’s allegations have
been considered” or that “the allegations are (or are not) credible.” Id.
Plaintiff’s Allegations of Pain
At the hearing, Plaintiff testified regarding her back impairment and related pain.
(TR. 29-33). According to Ms. Howard, she suffered from pain which allowed her to only:
Sit for one hour at a time, but even then, she would need to move around
or change positions in an attempt to relieve the pain,
Stand for one hour at a time, and
Lift one gallon of milk, but even doing that caused back pain.
(TR. 31-32). Ms. Howard also testified that she could not walk “too far” because walking
caused numbness in her right leg, which, in turn, caused her to fall. (TR. 29). Ms. Howard
also stated that she was able to drive, cook, and clean. (TR. 30, 33).
Error in the Credibility Evaluation
At step two, the ALJ determined that Ms. Howard suffered from severe
impairments involving lumbar back pain and spinal stenosis. (TR. 16). In evaluating
Plaintiff’s credibility, the ALJ concluded that these severe impairments could reasonably
be expected to cause Plaintiff’s allegations of pain. (TR. 17). As a result, the ALJ had a
duty to evaluate whether he believed Ms. Howard’s statements regarding her pain and
related limitations. See SSR 96-7p.
The ALJ recognized the criteria for evaluating Ms. Howard’s pain, and stated: “The
claimant estimated that she is limited to sitting for 60 minutes and standing 60 minutes,
with additional limitations on walking, lifting and carrying.” (TR. 17). Following this short
summary, the ALJ stated: “[T]he claimant’s statements concerning the intensity,
persistence and limiting effects of these symptoms are not entirely credible for the
reasons explained in this decision.” (TR. 17). In support of this explanation, the ALJ relied
only on Ms. Howard’s daily activities which “include[d] driving, cooking, and washing
dishes.” (TR. 17).
Activities of daily living are relevant to a credibility analysis. See SSR 97-7p at * 3.
However, daily activities alone would not support the ALJ’s finding that Ms. Howard’s
testimony was not credible. See Krauser v. Astrue, 638 F.3d 1324, 1332-1333 (10th Cir.
2011) (discussing necessity of looking at claimant’s actual activities and stating that
“sporadic performance of household tasks or work does not establish that a person is
capable of engaging in substantial gainful activity”) (internal quotation marks omitted);
Frey v. Bowen, 816 F.2d 508, 516-17 (10th Cir. 1987) (finding that plaintiff’s lifestyle
consisting of limited and sporadic activities “does not contradict a claim of disabling pain”
and ALJ’s citation of such daily activities did not indicate substantial evidence refuting
plaintiff’s credibility or claims of pain); Thompson v. Sullivan, 987 F.2d 1482, 1490 (10th
Cir. 1993) (finding that an “ALJ may not rely on minimal daily activities as substantial
evidence” to determine that a claimant’s claims of disabling pain are not credible).
Furthermore, the undersigned notes that the ALJ’s assessment of Ms. Howard’s
daily activities was misleading. Although Plaintiff stated that she could drive a car, she
did not state for how long, how often she drove, or whether doing so caused her any
pain. See TR. 30. Regarding cooking and cleaning, Plaintiff testified that she cooked only
once a day and the only cleaning she did was attempting to wash the dishes, which she
rarely completed, because doing so caused her to sweat, get blurry vision, and fall or
faint. (TR. 33). Thus, in addition to improperly relying solely on Ms. Howard’s daily
activities to support the credibility determination, the ALJ erroneously relied on a
mischaracterization of those activities as well. See Sitsler v. Astrue, 410 F. App’x 112, 117
(10th Cir. 2011) (“an ALJ cannot use mischaracterizations of a claimant’s activities to
discredit his claims of disabling limitations.”);Talbot v. Heckler, 814 F.2d 1456, 1462,
1464 (10th Cir. 1987) (noting that the ALJ improperly based his conclusion that claimant
could do light work on a mischaracterization of his activities).
Aside from his reliance on Plaintiff’s daily activities, the ALJ cited no other evidence
in discussing Ms. Howard’s allegations of pain and related credibility. Absent the daily
activities, all the Court is left with to review is the ALJ’s boilerplate language rejecting
Plaintiff’s allegations, without a link to specific evidence of record. The Tenth Circuit Court
of Appeals has held that such a bare analysis is legally deficient and warrants reversal.
See Hardman v. Barnhart, 362 F.3d 676, 679-681 (10th Cir. 2004).
Having reviewed the medical evidence of record, the transcript of the
administrative hearing, the decision of the ALJ, and the pleadings and briefs of the parties,
the undersigned magistrate judge REVERSES the Commissioner’s decision and
REMANDS the matter for further administrative findings consistent with this opinion.
ENTERED on July 7, 2017.
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