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King v. Berryhill

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

March 28, 2017

JAMES ALBERT KING, JR.
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL Acting Commissioner of Social Security[1]

          MEMORANDUM

          BARBARA D. HOLMES, United States Magistrate 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 his claim for Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) and Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”), as provided under Titles 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. 14), to which Defendant has responded (Docket Entry No. 18). This action is before the undersigned for all further proceedings pursuant to the consent of the parties and the District Judge in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) (Docket Entry No. 21).

         Upon review of the administrative record as a whole and consideration of the parties' filings, Plaintiff's motion is GRANTED. For the reasons stated herein, the Court REVERSES the decision of the Commissioner and REMANDS this case for further administrative proceedings.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff filed an application for DIB and SSI on June 15, 2010. See Transcript of the Administrative Record (Docket Entry No. 9) at 60-61.[2] He alleged a disability onset date of March 1, 2010. AR 60-61. Plaintiff asserted that he was unable to work due to back pain, a bulging disc, herpes, pancreatitis, and illiteracy. AR 74, 76.[3]

         Plaintiff's applications were denied initially and upon reconsideration AR 60-63. Pursuant to his request for a hearing before an administrative law judge (“ALJ”), Plaintiff testified at a hearing before ALJ Marty S. Turner on November 7, 2011. AR 26. On January 31, 2012, the ALJ denied the claim. AR 10-12. The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review of the ALJ's decision on April 15, 2013 (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 January 31, 2012. AR 10. 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, 2014.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since March 1, 2010, the alleged onset date (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq., and 416.971 et seq.).
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3. The claimant has the following severe impairment: lumbar degenerative disc disease (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, 404.1526, 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 the claimant is limited to occasional climbing of ramps and stairs. The claimant can never climb ropes, ladders, or scaffolds. The claimant is limited to occasional balancing, stooping, kneeling, crouching, and crawling. The claimant is to avoid exposure to hazardous heavy moving machinery and unprotected heights.
***
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work (20 CFR 404.1565 and 416.965).
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7. The claimant was born on December 21, 1962 and was 47 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 404.1564 and 416.964).
9. 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).
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 416.969(a)).
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11. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from March 1, 2010, through the date of this decision (20 CFR 404.1520(g) and 416.920(g)).

AR 15-20.

         III. REVIEW OF THE RECORD

         The parties and the ALJ have thoroughly summarized and discussed the medical and testimonial evidence of the administrative record. Accordingly, the Court will discuss those matters only to the extent necessary to analyze the parties' arguments.

         IV. DISCUSSION AND ...


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