United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
BARBARA D. HOLMES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g)
and 1383(c)(3) to obtain judicial review of the final
decision of the Social Security Administration
(“Commissioner”) denying her claim for a period
of disability and Disability Insurance Benefits
(“DIB”), as provided under Title II of the Social
Security Act (“the Act”). The case is currently
pending on Plaintiff's motion for judgment on the
administrative record (Docket Entry No. 12), to which
Defendant has responded (Docket Entry No. 13). Plaintiff also
filed a subsequent reply to Defendant's response (Docket
Entry No. 14-1). This action is before the undersigned for
all further proceedings pursuant to the consent of the
parties and the District Judge in accordance with 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(c) (Docket Entry No. 21).
review of the administrative record as a whole and
consideration of the parties' filings, Plaintiff's
motion is DENIED, and the decision of the Commissioner is
filed an application for a period of disability and DIB on
August 21, 2008. See Transcript of the
Administrative Record (Docket Entry No. 10) at 51,
She alleged a disability onset date of October 15, 2007. AR
51, 53, 111. Plaintiff asserted that she was unable to work
because of seizures and headaches. AR 52, 54.
applications were denied initially and upon reconsideration
AR 51-54. Pursuant to her request for a hearing before an
administrative law judge (“ALJ”), Plaintiff
testified at a hearing before ALJ Linda Gail Roberts on
August 4, 2010. AR 26. On August 24, 2010, the ALJ denied the
claim. AR 10-12. The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's
request for review of the ALJ's decision on August 15,
2012 (AR 1-3), thereby making the ALJ's decision the
final decision of the Commissioner. This civil action was
thereafter timely filed, and the Court has jurisdiction. 42
U.S.C. § 405(g).
THE ALJ FINDINGS
issued an unfavorable decision on August 24, 2010. AR 10.
Based upon the record, the ALJ made the following enumerated
1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the
Social Security Act through December 31, 2012.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since October 15, 2007, the alleged onset date (20
CFR 404.1571 et seq.).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: seizure
disorder, headaches, major depressive disorder, and anxiety
disorder (20 CFR 404.1520(c)).
4. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of
impairments that meets or medically equals one of the listed
impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR
404.1520(d), 404.1525 and 404.1526).
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual
functional capacity to perform medium work as defined in 20
CFR 404.1567(c) (lift and/or carry 50 pounds occasionally and
25 pounds frequently; stand and/or walk about 6 hours in an
8-hour workday; sit for a total of about 6 hours per day)
except that she should never climb ladders, ropes, and
scaffolds, and should avoid all exposure to hazards such as
machinery and heights. Additionally, the claimant is able to
understand and remember and understand simple and detailed
instructions; maintain attention, concentration, persistence
and pace with some difficulty; interact appropriately with
others; and adapt to changes with some difficulty.
6. The claimant is capable of performing past relevant work
as a placement interviewer (sedentary, skilled). This work
does not require the performance of work-related activities
precluded by the claimant's residual functional capacity
(20 CFR 404.1565).
7. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined
in the Social Security Act, from October 15, 2007, through
the date of this decision (20 CFR 404.1520(f)).
REVIEW OF THE RECORD
parties and the ALJ have thoroughly summarized and discussed
the medical and testimonial evidence of the administrative
record. Accordingly, the Court will discuss those matters
only to the extent necessary to analyze the parties'
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
Standard of Review
determination of disability under the Act is an
administrative decision. The only questions before this Court
upon judicial review are: (i) whether the decision of the
Commissioner is supported by substantial evidence; and (ii)
whether the Commissioner made legal errors in the process of
reaching the decision. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). See
Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401, 91 S.Ct. 1420,
28 L.Ed.2d 842 (1971) (adopting and defining substantial
evidence standard in context of Social Security cases);
Kyle v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 609 F.3d 847, 854
(6th Cir. 2010). The Commissioner's decision must be
affirmed if it is supported by substantial evidence,
“even if there is substantial evidence in the record
that would have supported an opposite conclusion.”
Blakley v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 581 F.3d 399,
406 (6th Cir. 2009) (quoting Key v. Callahan, 109
F.3d 270, 273 (6th Cir. 1997)); Jones v. Comm'r of
Soc. Sec., 336 F.3d 469, 477 (6th Cir. 2003); Her v.
Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 203 F.3d 388, 389-90 (6th Cir.
evidence is defined as “more than a mere
scintilla” and “such relevant evidence as a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.” Richardson, 402 U.S. at 401
(quoting Consol. Edison Co. v. NLRB, 305 U.S. 197,
229, 59 S.Ct. 206, 83 L.Ed. 126 (1938)); Rogers v.
Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 486 F.3d 234, 241 (6th Cir.
2007); LeMaster v. Weinberger, 533 F.2d 337, 339
(6th Cir. 1976) (quoting Sixth Circuit opinions adopting
language substantially similar to that in
Court's review of the Commissioner's decision is
limited to the record made in the administrative hearing
process. Jones v. Secretary, 945 F.2d 1365, 1369
(6th Cir. 1991). A reviewing court may not try the case
de novo, resolve conflicts in evidence, or decide
questions of credibility. See, e.g., Garner v.
Heckler, 745 F.2d 383, 387 (6th Cir. 1984) (citing
Myers v. Richardson, 471 F.2d 1265, 1268 (6th Cir.
1972)). The Court must accept the ALJ's explicit findings
and determination unless the record as a whole is without
substantial evidence to ...