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Griffith v. Colvin

United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Knoxville

December 16, 2016

JACK GRIFFITH, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          C. Clifford Shirley, Jr., United States Magistrate Judge

         This case is before the undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b), Rule 72(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and the Rules of this Court for a report and recommendation regarding disposition by the District Court of the Plaintiff's Motion for Judgement on the Pleadings and Memorandum in Support [Docs. 12 & 13] and the Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment and Memorandum in Support [Docs. 14 & 15]. Jack Griffith (“the Plaintiff”) seeks judicial review of the decision of the Administrative Law Judge (“the ALJ”), the final decision of the Defendant Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security (“the Commissioner”).

         On September 25, 2014, the Plaintiff filed an application for disability insurance benefits (“DIB”), claiming a period of disability which began March 1, 2014. [Tr. 160-63]. After his application was denied initially and upon reconsideration, the Plaintiff requested a hearing. [Tr. 93-94]. On August 3, 2015, a hearing was held before the ALJ to review determination of the Plaintiff's claim. [Tr. 26-48]. On September 18, 2015, the ALJ found that the Plaintiff was not disabled. [Tr. 6-25]. The Appeals Council denied the Plaintiff's request for review [Tr. 1-4]; thus, the decision of the ALJ became the final decision of the Commissioner.

         Having exhausted his administrative remedies, the Plaintiff filed a Complaint with this Court on December 18, 2015, seeking judicial review of the Commissioner's final decision under Section 405(g) of the Social Security Act. [Doc. 1]. The parties have filed competing dispositive motions, and this matter is now ripe for adjudication.

         I.ALJ FINDINGS

         The ALJ made the following findings:

1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through December 31, 2019.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since March 1, 2014, the alleged onset date (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq.).
3. The claimant has the following combination of severe impairments: right ankle tendinitis, degenerative disc disease, 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 the severity of 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, I find that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b). The claimant can lift and carry, push and pull 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently. With normal breaks in an 8-hour day, he can sit for 6 hours and stand and/or walk for 6 hours; can occasionally climb ladders, ropes, scaffolds, ramps, and stairs; and can occasionally balance stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl. The claimant can understand and perform simple and detailed tasks, but cannot make independent decisions at an executive level; can interact appropriately with co-workers and supervisors on a frequent basis, and with the public on an occasional basis; can set goals independently; and can adapt to gradual and infrequent workplace changes.
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work.
7. The claimant was born on August 10, 1971 and was 42 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the alleged disability onset date (20 CFR 404.1563).
8. The claimant has at least a high school education and is able to communicate in English (20 CFR 404.1564).
9. Transferability of jobs skills is not material to the determination of disability because using the Medical-Vocational Rules as a framework supports a finding that the claimant is “not disable, ” whether or not the claimant has transferable job skills (See SSR 82-41 and 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 2).
10. Considering the claimant's age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity, there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that the claimant ...

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