United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
LANNY ROSS COGGIN, JR.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL Acting Commissioner of Social Security 
BARBARA D. HOLMES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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 his 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 Plaintiff's motion for judgment on the
administrative record (Docket Entry No. 16), to which
Defendant has responded. Docket Entry No. 17. Plaintiff has
also filed a subsequent reply to Defendant's response
(Docket Entry No. 18), to which Defendant has filed a
surreply. Docket Entry No. 21. This action is before the
undersigned for all further proceedings pursuant to the
consent of the parties and order of the District Judge in
accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) (Docket Entry Nos.
review of the administrative record as a whole and
consideration of the parties' filings, Plaintiff's
motion is DENIED and the decision of the
Commissioner is AFFIRMED.
filed an application for a period of disability and DIB on
February 15, 2010. See Transcript of the
Administrative Record (Docket Entry No. 14) at
He alleged a disability onset date of August 15, 2008. AR 95.
Plaintiff asserted that he was unable to work due to
neuropathy, degenerative disc disease, and other back
problems. AR 102.
applications were denied initially and upon reconsideration
AR 95-96. Pursuant to his request for a hearing before an
administrative law judge (“ALJ”), Plaintiff
appeared with counsel and testified at a hearing before ALJ
Michelle Thompson on February 22, 2012. AR 29. On March 9,
2012, the ALJ denied the claim. AR 15-17. On July 5, 2013,
the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for a
review of the ALJ's decision (AR 1-3), 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).
THE ALJ FINDINGS
issued an unfavorable decision on April 23, 2012. AR 15.
Based upon the record, the ALJ made the following enumerated
1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the
Social Security Act through December 31, 2013.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since August 15, 2008, the alleged onset date. (20
CFR 404.1571 et seq.).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments:
lumbosacral spondylosis, without myelopathy; obstructive
chronic bronchitis, without exacerbation, post-laminectomy
syndrome, lumbar region; and neuropathy of the lower
extremities (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 in 20 CFR part 404, 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 lift and/or carry 10 pounds frequently
and 20 pounds occasionally; stand, walk, and/or sit for up to
six hours each; occasionally climb ladders/ropes/scaffolds;
and frequently climb ramps/stairs, balance, stoop, kneel,
crouch, and crawl.
6. The claimant is capable of performing past relevant work
as a night club manager and restaurant manager. This work
does not require the performance of work-related activaties
precluded by the claimant's residual functional capacity
(20 CFR 404.1565).
7. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined
in the Social Security Act, from August 15, 2008, through the
date of this decision (20 CFR 404.1520(f)).
REVIEW OF THE RECORD
parties and the ALJ have thoroughly summarized and discussed
the medical and testimonial evidence of the administrative
record. Accordingly, the Court will discuss those matters
only to the extent necessary to analyze the parties'
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
Standard of Review
determination of disability under the Act is an
administrative decision. The only questions before this Court
upon judicial review are: (i) whether the decision of the
Commissioner is supported by substantial evidence; and (ii)
whether the Commissioner made legal errors in the process of
reaching the decision. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). See
Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401, 91 S.Ct. 1420,
28 L.Ed.2d 842 (1971) (adopting and defining substantial
evidence standard in context of Social Security cases);
Kyle v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 609 F.3d 847, 854
(6th Cir. 2010). The Commissioner's decision must be
affirmed if it is supported by substantial evidence,
“even if there is substantial evidence in the record
that would have supported an opposite conclusion.”
Blakley v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 581 F.3d 399,
406 (6th Cir. 2009) (quoting Key v. Callahan, 109
F.3d 270, 273 (6th Cir. 1997)); Jones v. Comm'r of
Soc. Sec., 336 F.3d 469, 477 (6th Cir. 2003); Her v.
Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 203 F.3d 388, 389-90 (6th Cir.
evidence is defined as “more than a mere
scintilla” and “such relevant evidence as a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.” Richardson, 402 U.S. at 401
(quoting Consol. Edison Co. v. NLRB, 305 U.S. 197,
229, 59 S.Ct. 206, 83 L.Ed. 126 (1938)); Rogers v.
Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 486 F.3d 234, 241 (6th Cir.
2007); LeMaster v. Weinberger, 533 F.2d 337, 339