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Sims v. Berryhill

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

March 31, 2017

GABE ELLIS SIMS, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Pending before the Court is Gabe Ellis Sims' (“Sims”) Motion for Judgment on the Administrative Record (“Motion”) (Doc. No. 14), filed with a Memorandum in Support (Doc. No. 14-1). The Commissioner of Social Security (“Commissioner”) filed a Response in Opposition to Sims' Motion (Doc. No. 15). Upon consideration of the parties' filings and the transcript of the administrative record (Doc. No. 10), [1] and for the reasons given below, the Court will DENY Sims' Motion and DISMISS the Complaint.

         I. Introduction

         On August 2, 2010, Sims filed an application for Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) under Title II of the Social Security Act, alleging a disability onset date of November 4, 2008 (“alleged onset date”). (A.R. 93.) Sims' claim was denied at the initial and reconsideration stages of state agency review. (Id. at 95, 103.) Sims subsequently requested de novo review of his case by an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”). (Id. at 97.) The ALJ heard the case on September 18, 2012, when Sims appeared with an attorney and gave testimony. (Id. at 29.) Testimony was also received from an impartial vocational expert. (Id.) At the conclusion of the hearing, the matter was taken under advisement until December 3, 2012, when the ALJ issued a written decision finding Sims not disabled on the alleged onset date. (Id. at 23.) That decision contains the following enumerated findings:

1. Sims meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through December 31, 2011, the alleged onset date.
2. Sims has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since the alleged onset date (20 C.F.R. 404.1571 et seq).
3. Sims has the following severe impairments: coronary artery disease status post history of bypass grafting surgery; gout; hypertension; obesity; peripheral artery disease; status post total knee replacement and osteoarthritis; schizophrenia; cognitive disorder; and alcohol abuse (20 C.F.R. 404.1520(c)).
4. Since the alleged onset date, Sims does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of one of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 C.F.R. 404.1520(d), 404.1525, and 404.1526).
5. Sims had the residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform medium work as defined in 20 C.F.R. 404.1567(c) i.e., occasional lifting and carrying up to 50 pounds; frequent lifting and carrying up to 25 pounds; standing or walking for six hours in an eight-hour workday; sitting for six hours in an eight-hour workday, and pushing and pulling with the aforementioned weight limitations. Mentally he can understand, remember, and carry out only simple, unskilled, one-to-three step job instructions and maintain adequate concentration, persistence, and pace on such duties for two hours at a time with customary work breaks. However, he should have no interaction with the general public, cannot work in very tight or enclosed spaces, should not work among crowds of people, and cannot have more than occasional contact with coworkers on a brief and superficial basis.
6. Sims cannot perform past relevant work (20 C.F.R. 404.1565).
7. Sims was born on February 6, 1953 and was 58 years old, which is defined as an individual closely approaching advanced age, on the date last insured (20 C.F.R. 404.1563).
8. Sims has at least a high school education and is able to communicate in English (20 C.F.R. 404.1564).
9. Transferability of job skills is not material to the determination because using the Medical Vocational Rules as a framework supports a finding that Sims is “not disabled, ” whether or not he has transferable job skills (See SSR 82-41 and 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 2).
10. Through the date last insured, considering Sims' age, education, work experience and RFC, there were jobs that existed in significant numbers in the national economy that Sims could perform (20 C.F.R. 404.1569 and 404.1569(a)).

(Id. at 12-23.)

         On January 7, 2014, the Appeals Council denied Sims' request for review of the ALJ's decision, thereby rendering that decision the final decision of the SSA. (Id. at 1.) This civil action was thereafter timely filed, and the Court has jurisdiction. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

         II. Review of Record

         The Court adopts the summary of Sims' records from the ...


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