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Maddux v. Berryhill

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

August 28, 2017

RANDY MADDUX
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL Acting Commissioner of Social Security[1]

          MEMORANDUM

          ALETA A. TRAUGER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3) to obtain judicial review of the final decision of the Social Security Administration ("Commissioner") denying Plaintiffs claim for a period of disability and Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB"), as provided under Title II of the Social Security Act ("the Act"). The case is currently pending on Plaintiffs Motion for Judgment on the Administrative Record (Docket Entry No. 17), to which Defendant has responded. (Docket Entry No. 19).

         Upon review of the administrative record as a whole and consideration of the parties' filings, Plaintiffs motion for judgment on the administrative record (Docket Entry No. 17) will be denied.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff filed an application for a period of disability, DIB, and SSI on October 21, 2011. See Transcript of the Administrative Record (Docket Entry No. 10) at 67-68.[2] He alleged a disability onset date of October 17, 2011. AR 67-68. Plaintiff asserted that he was unable to work due to left arm nerve damage, a broken neck, a broken shoulder, a bruised left side, depression, and anxiety. AR 75-76.

         Plaintiffs applications were denied initially and upon reconsideration. AR 67-70. Pursuant to his request for a hearing before an administrative law judge ("ALJ"), Plaintiff appeared with counsel and testified at a hearing before ALJ Mary Ellis Richardson on October 22, 2013. AR 33. On April 16, 2014, the ALJ denied the claim. AR 14-16. On June 24, 2015, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiffs request for a review of the ALJ's decision (AR 1-5), thereby making the ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner. This civil action was thereafter timely filed, and the court has jurisdiction. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

         II. THE ALJ FINDINGS

         The ALJ issued an unfavorable decision on April 16, 2014. AR 14-16. Based upon the record, the ALJ made the following enumerated findings:

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 October 17, 2011, the alleged onset date. (20 CFR404.1571 etseq., and416.971 etseq.).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: status post neck fusion; back disorder; status post gunshot wound; mood disorder; anxiety disorder; depressive disorder; and cognitive disorder (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, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform less than the full range of light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b). The claimant can lift 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently and can stand/walk and sit each 6 hours in an 8-hour workday. He could frequently climb ramps or stairs and occasionally climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. The claimant could frequently balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl. The claimant can frequently reach above the shoulder with the right arm and never reach above the shoulder with the left arm. The claimant should avoid working in close proximity to moving mechanical parts and in high, exposed places. The claimant is able to perform simple, and low level tasks over an 8-hour workday with appropriate breaks and is limited to work that requires occasional interaction with the public.
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work (20 CFR 404.1565 and 416.965).
7. The claimant was born on July 26, 1980, and was 31 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the alleged disability onset date (20 CFR 404.1563 and 416.963).
8. The claimant has a high school education and is able to communicate in English (20 CFR ...

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