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Champion v. Colvin

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

February 17, 2017

ADAM L. CHAMPION, Plaintiff,
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.


          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 consent of the parties [Doc. 25]. Now before the Court is the Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgement and Memorandum in Support [Docs. 18 & 19] and the Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment and Memorandum in Support [Docs. 23 & 24]. Adam L. Champion (“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 March 1, 2006, the Plaintiff filed an application for disability insurance benefits (“DIB”) and supplemental security income (“SSI”), claiming a period of disability which began December 26, 2003. [Tr. 261-69]. After his application was denied initially and upon reconsideration, the Plaintiff requested a hearing. [Tr. 142]. On January 18, 2008, a hearing was held before an ALJ to review determination of the Plaintiff's claim. [Tr. 59-81]. On August 29, 2008, the ALJ found that the Plaintiff was not disabled. [Tr. 86-98]. The Appeals Council granted the Plaintiff's request for review and issued an order, remanding the case back to the ALJ on May 15, 2010. [Tr. 168, 99-102]. A second hearing was held in front of the ALJ on March 17, 2011. [Tr. 49-58]. The ALJ again issued an unfordable decision on July 12, 2011, finding that the Plaintiff was not disabled. [Tr. 103-19]. On August 25, 2011, the Plaintiff appealed the decision. [Tr. 225-26]. On January 30, 2013, the Appeals Council again remanded the case but this time to a different ALJ. [Tr. 120-24]. A third hearing was held on August 29, 2013. [Tr. 29-48]. The ALJ, however, issued an unfavorable decision on January 16, 2014. [Tr. 8-28]. This time, the Appeals Council denied the Plaintiff's request for review [Tr. 1-6]; 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 August 4, 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, 2007.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since December 26, 2003, the alleged onset date (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq., and 416.971 et seq.).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: depression, generalized anxiety disorder, degenerative disc disease, membranous nephropathy, tachycardia, and hypertension (20 CFR 404.1520(c) and 416.920(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, 416.920(d), 416.925 and 416.926).
5. 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) except that he can occasionally bend, stoop, squat, kneel, crouch, and/or crawl; he can occasionally interact with the public, co-workers, and supervisors; he can adapt to occasional changes; and he can perform simple and detailed work.
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work (20 CFR 404.1565 and 416.965).
7. The claimant was born on July 4, 1976 and was 27 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the alleged disability onset date (20 CFR 404.1563 and 416.963).
8. The claimant has at least a high school education and is able to communicate in English (20 CFR 404.1565 and 416.964).
9. Transferability of job skills is not an issue in this case because the claimant's past relevant work is unskilled (20 CFR 404.1568 and 416.968).
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 can perform (20 CFR 404.1569, 404.1569(a), 416.969, and 416.696(a)).
11. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from December 26, 2003, through the date of this decision (20 CFR 404.1520(g) and 416.920(g)).

[Tr. 13-20].

         II. ...

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