Well, I am not about to replace the digitizer for a brand new phone; but I did find an easier fix than pulling the battery out.
A few things I should have mentioned.
1) The unresponsive screen only occurs when the screen is activated via opening the flip case (gesture sensing)
2) I am using a GO Locker app but I haven't ruled out whether or not the unresponsive screen also occurs with the stock lock screen
Anyway, I just press the power button off and back on and the screen is responsive again.
Weird but it works for now; it is either something to do with the gesture sensing activation of the screen or the GO Locker app or maybe even a combination of the two together. If anyone has run into this problem let me know thanks.