United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Columbia Division
BARBARA D. HOLMES, United States Magistrate Judge
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 a period
of disability, 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. 17). Plaintiff has
also filed a subsequent reply to Defendant's response
(Docket Entry No. 19). This action is before the undersigned
for all further proceedings pursuant to the consent of the
parties and referral of the District Judge in accordance with
28 U.S.C. § 636(c) (Docket Entry No. 23).
review of the administrative record as a whole and
consideration of the parties' filings, Plaintiff's
motion is DENIED, and the decision of the
Commissioner is AFFIRMED.
filed an application for DIB on October 12, 2010, and an
application for SSI on November 23, 2010. See
Transcript of the Administrative Record (Docket Entry No. 10)
at 74-75. He alleged a disability onset date of
November 1, 2010. AR 74-75. Plaintiff asserted that he was
unable to work due to fibromyalgia, diabetes, high blood
pressure, and back problems. AR 82-83.
applications were denied initially and upon reconsideration
AR 74-77. Pursuant to his request for a hearing before an
administrative law judge (“ALJ”), Plaintiff
testified at a hearing before ALJ Donna Lefebvre on February
27, 2012. AR 35. On April 13, 2012, the ALJ denied the claim.
AR 20-22. The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request
for review of the ALJ's decision on May 22, 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).
THE ALJ FINDINGS
issued an unfavorable decision on April 13, 2012. AR 22.
Based upon the record, the ALJ made the following enumerated
1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the
Social Security Act through June 30, 2013.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since November 1, 2010, his alleged onset date (20
CFR 404.1571 et seq., and 416.971 et seq.).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments:
Cervical and 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 medium work as defined in 20
CFR 404.1567(c) and 416.967(c). He can lift or carry up to
fifty pounds occasionally and twenty-five pounds frequently,
and can sit, stand or walk up to six hours in an eight-hour
day. He can frequently balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, crawl
and climb ramps or stairs, but only occasionally climb
ladders, ropes and scaffolds.
6. The claimant is capable of performing his past relevant
work as a progressive assembler, security guard and driver[.]
This work does not require the performance of work related
activities precluded by the claimant's residual
functional capacity (20 CFR 404.1565 and 416.965).
7. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined
in the Social Security Act, from November 1, 2010, through
the date of this decision (20 CFR 404.1520(f) and
REVIEW OF THE RECORD
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'
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
A. Standard of Review
determination of disability under the Act is an
administrative decision. The only questions before this Court
upon judicial review are: (i) whether the decision of the
Commissioner is supported by substantial evidence; and (ii)
whether the Commissioner made legal errors in the process of
reaching the decision. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). See
Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401, 91 S.Ct. 1420,
28 L.Ed.2d 842 (1971) (adopting and defining substantial
evidence standard in context of Social Security cases);
Kyle v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 609 F.3d 847, 854
(6th Cir. 2010). The Commissioner's decision must be
affirmed if it is supported by substantial evidence,
“even if there is substantial evidence in the record
that would have supported an opposite conclusion.”
Blakley v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 581 F.3d 399,
406 (6th Cir. 2009) (quoting Key v. Callahan, 109
F.3d 270, 273 (6th Cir. 1997)); Jones v. Comm'r of
Soc. Sec., 336 F.3d 469, 477 (6th Cir. 2003); Her v.
Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 203 F.3d 388, 389-90 (6th Cir.
evidence is defined as “more than a mere
scintilla” and “such relevant evidence as a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.” Richardson, 402 U.S. at 401
(quoting Consol. Edison Co. v. NLRB, 305 U.S. 197,
229, 59 S.Ct. 206, 83 L.Ed. 126 (1938)); Rogers v.
Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 486 F.3d 234, 241 (6th Cir.
2007); LeMaster v. Weinberger, 533 F.2d 337, 339