United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
Magistrate Judge Frensley
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION
H. SHARP, CHIEF JUDGE
before the Court is Plaintiff Sonya Lutrice Buchanan's
(“Buchanan”) Motion for Judgment on the
Administrative Record (“Motion”) (Doc. No. 15),
filed with a Memorandum in Support (Doc. No. 15-1). Defendant
Commissioner of Social Security (“Commissioner”)
filed a Response in Opposition to Buchanan's Motion.
(Docket No. 16.) Upon consideration of the parties'
filings and the transcript of the administrative record (Doc.
No. 11),  and for the reasons given below, the Court
will GRANT the Motion and
REMAND the case pursuant to sentence four of
42 U.S.C. § 405(g) to ensure that Buchanan's
cervical degenerative disc disease and mental impairments are
properly considered in conjunction with her other impairments
in determining whether she had sufficient RFC to perform
substantial gainful activity.
April 13, 2010 Buchanan filed an application for Disability
Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) under Title II of the
Social Security Act and Supplemental Security Income
(“SSI”) under Title XVI of the Act, alleging a
disability onset of September 26, 2009 (the “alleged
onset date”). (A.R. 138-52.) Buchanan's claim was
denied at the initial and reconsideration stages of state
agency review. (Id. at 69-73.) Buchanan subsequently
requested de novo review of his case by an
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”). (Id.
at 91-92.) The ALJ heard the case on March 5, 2013, when
Buchanan appeared, was represented by an attorney, and gave
testimony. (Id. at 54.) Testimony was also received
from an impartial vocational expert. At the conclusion of the
hearing, the matter was taken under advisement until May 14,
2013, when the ALJ issued a written decision finding Buchanan
not disabled. (Id. at 11.) That decision contains
the following enumerated findings:
1. Buchanan meets the insured status requirements of the
Social Security Act through December 31, 2014.
2. Buchanan has not engaged in substantial gainful activity
since the alleged onset date (20 C.F.R. 404.1571 et
seq., and 416.971 et seq.).
3. Buchanan has the following severe impairments: obesity,
pseudo-seizure disorder, and essential hypertension with
resultant headaches (20 C.F.R. 404.1520(c) and 416.920(c)).
4. Buchanan 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, 404.1526,
416.920(d), 416.925 and 416.926).
5. Buchanan has no physical limitations to the residual
functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform work a
full range of work at all exertional levels but with the
following nonexertional limitations: no exposure to heights
or hazardous activities, and no driving. .
6. Buchanan can perform past relevant work as a medical
billing clerk, school cafeteria worker, cashier, and child
care attendant. This work does not require the performance of
work-related activities precluded by her RFC (20 C.F.R.
404-1565 and 416.965).
7. Buchanan has not been under a disability within the
meaning of the Social Security Act from the alleged onset
date through the date of this decision (20 C.F.R. 404.1520(f)
(Id. at 42-49.)
August 22, 2014, the Appeals Council denied Buchanan's
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. §
Review of Record
Court adopts the summary of Buchanan's medical records
from the ...