Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Lane v. Berryhill

United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee

August 8, 2017

LINDA LEE LANE, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, [1] Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          THOMAS A. VARLAN CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This case is before the Court on plaintiff's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings and Memorandum in Support [Docs. 8, 9] and defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment and Memorandum in Support [Docs. 14, 15]. Linda Lee Lane (“plaintiff”) seeks judicial review of the decision of the Administrative Law Judge (“the ALJ”), the final decision of defendant Nancy A. Berryhill, Acting Commissioner of Social Security (“the Commissioner”). For the reasons that follow, the Court will grant plaintiff's motion and deny the Commissioner's motion.

         I. Procedural History

         Plaintiff filed an application for supplemental security income (“SSI”), claiming a period of disability which began April 1, 2012 [Tr. 134-39]. After her application was denied initially and upon reconsideration, plaintiff requested a hearing before an ALJ [Tr. 104-06]. On April 30, 2013, a hearing was held before the ALJ to review the denial of plaintiff's claim [Tr. 32-66]. On July 22, 2014, the ALJ found that plaintiff was not disabled [Tr. 16-27]. The Appeals Council denied plaintiff's request for review [Tr. 5-9]. Thus, the decision of the ALJ became the final decision of the Commissioner.

         Having exhausted her administrative remedies, plaintiff filed a Complaint with this Court on April 11, 2016, seeking judicial review of the Commissioner's final decision under Section 405(g) of the Social Security Act [Doc. 1]. The parties have filed competing dispositive motions, and this matter is now ripe for adjudication.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         When reviewing the Commissioner's determination of whether an individual is disabled pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), the Court is limited to determining whether the ALJ's decision was reached through application of the correct legal standards and in accordance with the procedure mandated by the regulations and rulings promulgated by the Commissioner and whether the ALJ's findings are supported by substantial evidence. Wilson v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 378 F.3d 541, 544 (6th Cir. 2004); Blakley v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 581 F.3d 399, 405 (6th Cir. 2009) (citation omitted).

         Substantial evidence is “more than a scintilla of evidence but less than a preponderance; it is such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.” Cutlip v. Sec'y of Health & Human Servs., 25 F.3d 284, 286 (6th Cir. 1994) (citations omitted). It is immaterial whether the record may also possess substantial evidence to support a different conclusion from that reached by the ALJ, or whether the reviewing judge may have decided the case differently. Crisp v. Sec'y of Health & Human Servs., 790 F.2d 450, 453 n.4 (6th Cir. 1986). The substantial evidence standard is intended to create a “‘zone of choice' within which the Commissioner can act, without the fear of court interference.” Buxton v. Halter, 246 F.3d 762, 773 (6th Cir. 2001) (quoting Mullen v. Bowen, 800 F.2d 535, 545 (6th Cir. 1986)). Therefore, the Court will not “try the case de novo, nor resolve conflicts in the evidence, nor decide questions of credibility.” Garner v. Heckler, 745 F.2d 383, 387 (6th Cir. 1984) (citation omitted).

         On review, the plaintiff “bears the burden of proving his entitlement to benefits.” Boyes v. Sec'y. of Health & Human Servs., 46 F.3d 510, 512 (6th Cir. 1994) (citation omitted).

         III. ANALYSIS

         This case involves an application for SSI benefits. To qualify for SSI benefits, an individual must file an application and be an “eligible individual” as defined in the Act. 42 U.S.C. § 1382(a); 20 C.F.R. § 416.202. An individual is eligible for SSI benefits on the basis of financial need and either age, blindness, or disability. See 42 U.S.C. § 1382(a).

         “Disability” is the “inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than twelve months.” § 1382c(a)(3)(B); 20 C.F.R. § 416.905(a). A claimant will only be considered disabled if:

his physical or mental impairment or impairments are of such severity that he is not only unable to do his previous work but cannot, considering his age, education, and work experience, engage in any other kind of substantial gainful work which exists in the national economy, regardless of whether such work exists in the immediate area in which he lives, or whether a specific job vacancy exists for him, or whether he would be hired if he applied for work.

42 U.S.C. § 1382c(a)(3)(B); see 20 C.F.R. § 416.905(a).

         Disability is evaluated pursuant to a five-step analysis ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.