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Paiz v. Berryhill

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

February 23, 2017

LUIS RODOLFO PAIZ
v.
NANCY BERRYHILL[1], acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration

          MEMORANDUM

          KEVIN H. SHARP UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. Introduction

         Pending before the Court is the Plaintiff's Motion For Judgment On The Administrative Record (Docket No. 8), to which the Defendant has filed a Response. (Docket No. 9). For the reasons set forth herein, the Plaintiff's Motion is DENIED, and the decision of the Social Security Administration is AFFIRMED.

         II. Procedural Background

         The Plaintiff filed an application for disability insurance benefits under the Social Security Act claiming disability based on a herniated disc in his back, and pain in his right shoulder, neck, and right knee. (Administrative Record (“AR”), at 42-43 (Docket No. 5)). The Plaintiff's claim was denied at the initial review stage, and also after the Plaintiff requested reconsideration. (AR, at 42-45). The Plaintiff subsequently requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”), and the ALJ convened the hearing on September 19, 2011. (AR, at 53-54, 11-41).

         The Plaintiff appeared with counsel at the hearing, and testified in support of his claim. (Id.) The ALJ issued a written decision on October 7, 2011, finding that the Plaintiff was not disabled. (Id.) In his decision, the ALJ found as follows:

1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through December 31, 2012.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since November 18, 2007, the alleged onset date (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq.).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: bilateral knee osteoarthritis, right shoulder degenerative joint disease, and lumbar degenerative disc disease (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 the full range of sedentary work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(a).
6. The claimant is capable of performing past relevant work as an aircraft maintenance superintendent. This work does not require the performance of work related activities precluded by the claimant's residual functional capacity (20 CFR 404.1565).
7. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from November 18, 2007, through the date of this decision (20 CFR 404. 1520(f)).

(AR, at 16-19).

         The Appeals Council denied the Plaintiff's request for review of the ALJ decision (AR, at 1-3), which became the final decision of the Social Security Administration (“SSA”). Sims v. Apfel, 530 U.S. 103, 107, 120 S.Ct. 2080, 2083, 147 L.Ed.2d 80 (2000). This action, seeking review of that decision, has been timely filed, and the Court has jurisdiction under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) to adjudicate it.

         III. Review of the Record

         The Plaintiff testified at the hearing before the ALJ that he was 58 years old. (AR, at 29). According to the Plaintiff, he had completed two years of college-level work, and had held a license issued by the Federal Aviation Administration as an aircraft mechanic. (Id., at 29-30). The Plaintiff testified that he retired from 23 years of military service, and then worked as an airline mechanic and in other jobs . (Id., at 37-38). The Plaintiff explained that he left aviation because he could not work on airplanes when taking medication. (Id.)

         As for his medical condition, the Plaintiff testified that he had been diagnosed as having arthritis “all over the body, ” and that he has chronic back and knee pain. (Id., at 30-31). The Plaintiff also testified that he suffered from diabetes, blurred vision, and dizzy spells. (Id.) According to the Plaintiff, as of the date of the hearing, he had been using a cane to walk for the past 18 months, spent most of the day in bed, and was unable to drive. (Id., at 32-35).

         After the Plaintiff testified, the ALJ stated that he did not have any questions for the vocational expert who was present at the hearing, and asked the Plaintiff's attorney if she had ...


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