United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
BARBARA D. HOLMES United States Magistrate Judge
Honorable Aleta A. Trauger, District 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 Plaintiff's claim
for a period of disability, Disability Insurance Benefits
(“DIB”), and Supplemental Security Income
(“SSI”) as provided under Title II and XVI 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. 15), to which
Defendant has filed a response (Docket Entry No. 17).
Plaintiff has also filed a subsequent reply to
Defendant's response (Docket Entry No. 18).
review of the administrative record as a whole and
consideration of the parties' filings, and for the
reasons stated below, the undersigned Magistrate Judge
respectfully recommends that Plaintiff's motion for
judgment on the administrative record (Docket Entry No. 15)
be GRANTED, the decision of the Commissioner be REVERSED, and
this matter be REMANDED for further administrative
proceedings consistent with this Report.
filed an application for a period of disability, DIB, and SSI
on May 25, 2012. See Transcript of the
Administrative Record (Docket Entry No. 13) at
76-77. He alleged a disability onset date of July
15, 2008, which was later amended to January 1, 2011. AR 17,
76-77. Plaintiff asserted that he was unable to work due to
back problems, neck problems, arthritis, ruptured discs, lung
problems, collar bone pain, coughing up blood, passing blood
in stool, hearing problems, vision problems, leg pain, weight
loss, and memory problems. AR 108, 110.
applications were denied initially and upon reconsideration.
AR 76-77, 102-03. Pursuant to his request for a hearing
before an administrative law judge (“ALJ”),
Plaintiff appeared with counsel and testified at a hearing
before ALJ David A. Ettinger on June 18, 2014. AR 27. On
September 19, 2014, the ALJ rendered a partially favorable
decision. AR 11-13. Specifically, the ALJ determined that
Plaintiff was not disabled prior to May 25, 2012, but became
disabled on May 25, 2012 and continued to be disabled through
the date of his decision. AR 18. The Appeals Council denied
Plaintiff's request for review of the ALJ's decision
on December 22, 2015 (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 a partially favorable decision on September 19, 2014.
AR 11-13. Based upon the record, the ALJ made the following
1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the
Social Security Act through December 31, 2011.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since the alleged onset date (20 CFR 404.1571 et
seq., and 416.971 et seq.).
3. Prior to May 25, 2012, the date the claimant became
disabled, the claimant had the following medically
determinable impairments: lumbar degenerative disc disease
(20 CFR 404.1521 et seq. and 416.921 et
seq.). However, the claimant did not have an impairment
or combination of impairments that significantly limited (or
was expected to significantly limit) the ability to perform
basic work-related activities for 12 consecutive months;
therefore, the claimant did not have a severe impairment or
combination of impairments (20 CFR 404.1521 et seq.
and 416.921 et seq.).
4. Beginning on May 25, 2012, the claimant has had the
following severe impairment: chronic obstructive pulmonary
disease (20 CFR 404.1520(c) and 416.920(c)).
5. Since May 25, 2012, the severity of the claimant's
impairment has met the criteria of section 3.02 of 20 CFR
Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR 404.1520(d),
404.1525, 416.920(d), and 416.925).
6. The claimant was not disabled prior to May 25, 2012 (20
CFR 404.1520(c) and 416.920(c)) but became disabled on that
date and has continued to be disabled through the date of