United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Chattanooga
CHRISTOPHER H. STEGER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
action was instituted pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§
405(g) and 1383(c)(3) seeking judicial review of the
Commissioner's final decision denying Forrest
Pendergraph, Jr.'s (“Plaintiff”) claim for
Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) and
Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”), as provided
by the Social Security Act.
parties have consented to entry of final judgment by the
United States Magistrate Judge under the provisions of 28
U.S.C. § 636(c), with any appeal to the Court of Appeals
for the Sixth Circuit [Doc. 14]. Pending before the Court are
Plaintiff's Motion for Judgment on the Administrative
Record [Doc. 15] and Defendant's Motion for Summary
Judgment [Doc. 17].
reasons stated herein, the Court AFFIRMS the
Commissioner's decision. Accordingly, the Court DENIES
Plaintiff's Motion [Doc. 15] and GRANTS Defendant's
Motion [Doc. 17].
September 23, 2011, Plaintiff protectively filed for DIB and
SSI under Titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act
(“Act”), 42 U.S.C. § 401 et seq.
and 42 U.S.C. § 1381 et seq., based on severe
back trauma, arthritis, and nerve damage to the
[Tr. 110-122, 136]. Plaintiff's claim was denied initially
and on reconsideration [Tr. 49-52, 53-57, 60-65]. On June 11,
2014, Plaintiff appeared and testified at a hearing before
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Jeannie Bartlett
[Tr. 29-48]. On August 28, 2014, the ALJ issued a decision
finding that Plaintiff was “not disabled, ” as
defined in the applicable sections of the Act, because work
existed in the national economy that he could still perform
[Tr. 10-18]. On September 1, 2015, the Appeals Council denied
Plaintiff's request for review [Tr. 1-3]. Thus, Plaintiff
has exhausted his administrative remedies, and the ALJ's
decision stands as the Commissioner's final decision
subject to judicial review. See 42 U.S.C. §
Age, Education, and Past Work Experience
is currently a fifty-year-old individual who performed past
relevant work as a cook, hanging parts worker, and painter
[Tr. 43-44, 137]. At the time of his alleged onset date of
June 10, 2010, Plaintiff was forty-four years old [Tr. 112,
Testimony and Medical History
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 as
relevant to the analysis of the parties' arguments.
considering the entire record, the ALJ made the following
1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the
Social Security Act through December 31, 2015.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since June 10, 2010, the alleged onset date (20 CFR
404.1571, et seq., and 416.971 et seq.).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments:
degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine, obesity,
hearing loss, and degenerative joint 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, I find
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 would be limited to lifting
and carrying up to 20 pounds occasionally, up to 10 pounds
frequently; could sit, stand, and walk for 6 hours in an
8-hour workday; would be limited to occasional pushing and
pulling with the left upper extremity, but would be precluded
from overhead reaching with the non-dominant left upper
extremity; would be limited to climbing ropes and ramps,
stooping, crouching, and crawling occasionally; would be
precluded from climbing ladders and scaffolds, and would need
a quiet environment where auditory acuity was not required.
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past work (20 CFR
404.1565 and 416.965).
7. The claimant was born on April 29, 1966 and was 44 years
old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on
the alleged disability onset date (20 CFR 404.1563 and
8. The claimant has at least a high school education and is
able to communicate in English (20 CFR ...