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Hall v. Social Security Administration

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

August 17, 2017

JON KEVIN HALL, Plaintiff,
v.
SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, Defendant.

          The Honorable Aleta A. Trauger, District Judge.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Norah McCann King United States Magistrate Judge.

         This is an action instituted under the provisions of 42 U.S.C. §§ 405 (g) for review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security denying Plaintiff s application for a period of disability and disability insurance benefits. This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for Judgment on the Administrative Record (Doc. No. 14) ("Motion for Judgment") and Memorandum in Support (Doc. No. 15), Defendant's Response to Plaintiff's Motion for Judgment on the Administrative Record (Doc. No. 16) ("Response"), Plaintiff's Reply (Doc. No. 17), and the administrative record (Doc. No. 10).[1] For the following reasons, the undersigned RECOMMENDS that Plaintiff's Motion for Judgment (Doc. No. 14) be GRANTED, that the decision of the Commissioner be REVERSED, that the matter be REMANDED to the Commissioner for further consideration of the opinion of Plaintiff s treating physician, and that FINAL JUDGMENT be entered pursuant to Sentence 4 of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

         Introduction

         Plaintiff filed his current application for benefits in May 2013, alleging that he has been disabled since April 13, 2013. Tr. 142.[2] The application was denied initially and on reconsideration and Plaintiff requested a de novo hearing before an administrative law judge ("ALJ").

         An administrative hearing was held on March 24, 2015. Plaintiff, represented by counsel, testified at that hearing, as did vocational expert Gary K. Sturgill, Ph.D. Tr. 34-63. In a decision dated June 12, 2015, the ALJ held that Plaintiff was not disabled within the meaning of the Social Security Act from the alleged date of onset of disability through the date of the administrative decision. Tr. 18-27. That decision became the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security when the Appeals Council declined review on April 6, 2016. Tr. 1.

         This action was thereafter timely filed. The Court has jurisdiction over the matter. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

         The Findings and Conclusions of the ALJ

         In his decision, the ALJ made the following findings of fact and conclusions of law:

1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through September 30, 2016.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since April 13, 2013, the alleged onset date (20 CFR 404 . 1571 et seq. ).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: degenerative disc disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), obstructive sleep apnea, obesity, status post right ankle surgery residuals, type II diabetes mellitus, and peripheral neuropathy (20 CFR 404.1520(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 in2 0 CFR Part 4 04, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR 404.1520(d), 404.1525 and 404.1526).
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.15 67(b) with the following limitations: he must never climb ladders, ropes or scaffolds, but he can occasionally climb ramps and stairs, as well as occasionally balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl. He must have the option to alternate sit or stand at will. He must avoid concentrated exposure to pulmonary irritants and work at unprotected heights or around unguarded moving machinery. Finally, he can only stand or walk four hours out of an eight-hour workday.
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work (20 CFR 404.1565).
7. The claimant was born on August 25, 1964 and was 48 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the alleged disability onset date (20 CFR 404.1563).
8 . The claimant has a limited education and is able to communicate in English (20 CFR 404.1564).
9. Trans ferability of job skills is not material to the determination of disability because using the Medical-Vocational Rules as a framework supports a finding that the claimant is "not disabled, " whether or not the claimant has transferable job skills (See ...

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