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Large v. Berryhill

United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee

September 6, 2017

KEITH WADE LARGE, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL,[1] Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          HARRY S. MATTICE, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Now before the Court is the Plaintiff's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings and Memorandum in Support [Docs. 11 & 12] and the Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment and Memorandum in Support [Docs. 13 & 14]. Keith Wade Large (“Large”) seeks judicial review of the decision of the Administrative Law Judge (“the ALJ”), the final decision of the Defendant Nancy A. Berryhill, Acting Commissioner of Social Security (“the Commissioner”).

         I. BACKGROUND

         In August 2012, Plaintiff applied for disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income (Tr. 175-82). He first applied for these benefits in March 2011, alleging disability as of April 2008, but in a July 2012 decision, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) found that Plaintiff was not “disabled” under the Act (Tr. 10, 53-65). In his current claim, Plaintiff alleges disability as of July 28, 2012, due to limitations from anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (Tr. 175, 177, 193-204). Plaintiff's claims were denied initially (Tr. 137-40), and on reconsideration (Tr. 142-45).

         In April 2014, an ALJ conducted a hearing, and on December 2014, the ALJ rendered his decision (“the Decision”) (Tr. 10-23). In the Decision, the ALJ found that there was no new and material evidence to warrant a different conclusion as to ALJ's previous findings regarding Plaintiff's past relevant work, date of birth, education, and residual functional capacity (RFC) (Tr. 19-22). Therefore, he adopted the ALJ's previous finding that Plaintiff retained the RFC to perform light work as defined in the regulations with additional postural and mental restrictions (Tr. 15, 60). The Decision also adopted the prior step four finding that Plaintiff could not perform his past relevant work as a paramedic, and his step five finding that there was “other work” that Plaintiff could perform, including the representative occupations of housekeeping cleaner, laundry folder, and folder (Tr. 21-22). Consequently, the ALJ found that Plaintiff was not “disabled” under the Act from July 28, 2012 through December 5, 2014 (Tr. 23). In March 2016, the agency's Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review (Tr. 1-4). Thus, the Decision stands as the “final decision” of the Commissioner subject to judicial review.

         Large was 44 years of age when the ALJ issued the Decision in this case (Tr. 32). He completed two years of college, as well as paramedic school. Large worked as a paramedic from 1994 to 2008 (Tr. 195). He claims disability beginning in July 2008 based on “anxiety, depression, and PTSD” (Tr. 194).

         At the hearing before the ALJ, the Plaintiff testified that his work as a paramedic (“EMT”)ended - not because of his disability - but because he was fired for stealing medications (Tr. 35).He then did not take the steps necessary to keep his license to work as a paramedic (Tr. 35):

Q. (by the ALJ): And are you eligible to get your [paramedic] license back if you applied?
A. It was sent to the State to where I'd have to do like a rehab, and I couldn't be away from my autistic son, so I never went through the rehab, so I let my license run out.

(Tr. 35).

         He also testified that his disability is based on mental and emotional problems, and some days anxiety, depression, and PTSD (Tr. 36):

Q. (by the ALJ): So are you claiming that you're disabled due to any physical problems or mainly emotional?
A. Mainly ...

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