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Gomez v. Colvin

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

February 3, 2017

OSVALDO GOMEZ
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security

          To The Honorable Aleta A. Trauger, District Judge

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          BARBARA D. HOLMES United States Magistrate Judge

         Plaintiff filed this action pro se 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 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 Nos. 25, 26), [1] to which Defendant has filed a response (Docket Entry No. 27).

         Upon review of the administrative record as a whole and consideration of the parties' filings, the undersigned Magistrate Judge respectfully recommends that Plaintiff's motion for judgment on the administrative record (Docket Entry Nos. 25, 26) be DENIED.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff filed an application for DIB and SSI on October 11, 2011. See Transcript of the Administrative Record (Docket Entry No. 12) at 74-77.[2] He alleged a disability onset date of May 1, 2010. AR 74-75. Plaintiff asserted that he was unable to work because of a neck injury, shoulder injury, and heart problems. AR 82-83.

         Plaintiff's applications were denied initially and upon reconsideration. AR 74-77. Pursuant to his request for a hearing before an administrative law judge (“ALJ”), Plaintiff appeared with counsel and testified at a hearing before ALJ Elizabeth P. Neuhoff on March 20, 2014. AR 34. On May 15, 2014, the ALJ denied the claim. AR 11-13. The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review of the ALJ's decision on August 5, 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 an unfavorable decision on May 15, 2014. AR 11. Based upon the record, the ALJ made the following enumerated findings:

1. The claim meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through December 31, 2010.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since May 1, 2010, the alleged onset date (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq., and 416.971 et seq.).
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3. The claimant had the following medically determinable impairments through the date last insured for Title II purposes: asthma, a cervical spine disorder with a history of cervical spine fusion, and a history of supraventricular tachycardia (20 CFR 404.1520(c) and 416.920(c)). However, none of these impairments was “severe” within the meaning of the Regulations prior to or at the time of the date last insured.
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4. The claimant now has the following severe impairments: a history of asthma that is now diagnosed as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a cervical spine disorder with a history of cervical spine fusion, supraventricular tachycardia, dysthymic disorder, and a history of polysubstance abuse in remission (20 CFR 404.1520(c) and 416.920(c)).
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5. 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, 404.1526, 416.920(d), 416.925 and 416.926).
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6. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b). Specifically, he can lift or carry 20 pounds on occasion and 10 pounds frequently. He can sit, stand, or walk 6 hours total each and he is limited to occasional climbing of ladders, ropes, and scaffolds and can frequently perform all other postural activities; is limited to frequent overhead reaching and frequent forceful gripping with either upper extremity; is limited to frequent repetitive neck motion, such as turning and twisting of the neck; must avoid concentrated exposure to extremes of temperature, along with fumes, odors, gases, and poor ventilation, such that it might be considered a pulmonary irritant, and to hazards in the workplace such as unprotected heights or moving machinery; is able to understand, remember and perform simple and lower-level detailed (1-3 step) tasks, but cannot make independent decisions at an executive level; is able to maintain concentration, persistence, and pace for simple tasks, along with low-level detailed tasks (but not higher level multi-step detailed) without significant difficulty with customary breaks; is able to interact appropriately with the general public, coworkers and supervisors and is able to set limited goals and adapt to infrequent change within the work place.
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7. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work (20 CFR 404.1565 and 416.965).
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8. The claimant was born on July 3, 1968 and was 41 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the alleged disability onset date. The claimant has remained such an individual throughout the period in question (20 CFR 404.1563 and 416.963).
9. The claimant has at least a high school education and is able to communicate in English (20 CFR 404.1564 and 416.964).
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10. Transferability of job 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 disabled, ” whether or not the claimant has transferable job skills (See SSR 82-41 and 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 2).
11. 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 can perform (20 CFR 404.1569, 404.1569(a), 416.969 and 416.969(a)).
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12. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from May 1, 2010, through the date of this decision ...

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