United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
Honorable Aleta A. Trauger, District Judge.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
McCann King United States Magistrate Judge.
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). 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).
filed his current application for benefits in May 2013,
alleging that he has been disabled since April 13, 2013. Tr.
The application was denied initially and on reconsideration
and Plaintiff requested a de novo hearing before an
administrative law judge ("ALJ").
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.
action was thereafter timely filed. The Court has
jurisdiction over the matter. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
Findings and Conclusions of the ALJ
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
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 ...