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Glenn v. Commissioner of Social Security

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

August 13, 2014

SALENA GLENN, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant-Appellee

Page 495

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan at Bay City. No. 1:12-cv-11433--Thomas L. Ludington, District Judge.

ON BRIEF:

Howard D. Olinsky, OLINSKY LAW GROUP, Syracuse, New York, for Appellant.

Jason Scoggins, SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, Chicago, Illinois, for Appellee.

Before: CLAY and STRANCH, Circuit Judges; BLACK, District Judge.[*]

OPINION

Page 496

STRANCH, Circuit Judge.

Salena Glenn successfully petitioned for review of the denial of her claim for social security benefits and won remand to the Commissioner. The district court's decision was based on a Report and Recommendation (R& R) of a magistrate judge finding five errors, both legal and factual, in the administrative law judge's (ALJ's) reasoning. Each error independently required remand. The district court denied Glenn's subsequent application for attorney's fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA), finding that the government's position on appeal was " substantially justified" because the magistrate judge rejected three of Glenn's claims of error. Because the district court improperly applied the law, we REVERSE the decision of the district court denying fees and REMAND for a determination of the appropriate fee award.

I. BACKGROUND

As the result of a 2007 car accident, Glenn suffers from a degenerative disc disease in her back, a closed head injury and cerebral concussion that cause dizziness and memory loss, left shoulder tendonitis, and post-traumatic headaches. She also suffers from major depression, with symptoms including slow thought processes, mood swings, agitation, poor concentration, anxiousness, feelings of anger and hopelessness, paranoia, auditory hallucinations, and suicidal and homicidal ideation. Glenn also suffers from hidradenitis suppurativa, a chronic skin condition that has caused cysts around the vulva that occasionally prevent her from walking and require frequent bathroom breaks.

In 2008, Glenn filed for social security benefits, alleging disability since March 28, 2007, the date of her car accident. Following her hearing--at which Glenn appeared without counsel--the ALJ issued a September 2010 decision denying Glenn's application for benefits at the fifth step of the required sequential analysis.[1] See 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(a).[2]

Page 497

The Appeals Council declined review; Glenn then filed a petition for review with the district ...


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