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Bay v. Colvin

United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division

January 31, 2017

PHILLIP WILLIAM BAY
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          BARBARA D. HOLMES United States Magistrate Judge

         To: The Honorable Aleta A. Trauger, District Judge

         Plaintiff 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).

         Upon 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.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff 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.[1] 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.

         Plaintiff's 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).

         II. THE ALJ FINDINGS

         The ALJ issued a partially favorable decision on September 19, 2014. AR 11-13. Based upon the record, the ALJ made the following enumerated findings:

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.).
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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)).
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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).
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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 ...

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