Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Bray v. Berryhill

United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Knoxville

November 20, 2017

TOMMY LYNN BRAY, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL,[1] Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

         This case is before the undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b), Rule 72(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and the Rules of this Court for a report and recommendation regarding disposition by the District Court of the Plaintiff's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings and Memorandum in Support [Docs. 14 & 15] and the Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment and Memorandum in Support [Docs. 16 & 17]. Tommy Lynn Bray (“the Plaintiff”) 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”). For the reasons that follow, the Court will RECOMMEND that the Plaintiff's motion be DENIED, and the Commissioner's motion be GRANTED.

         I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On July 13, 2012, the Plaintiff filed an application for disability insurance benefits pursuant to Title II of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 401 et seq., claiming a period of disability that began on September 15, 2010. [Tr. 128-31]. After his application was denied initially and upon reconsideration, the Plaintiff requested a hearing before an ALJ. [Tr. 89]. A hearing was held on August 20, 2014. [Tr. 23-49]. Thereafter, on January 14, 2015, the ALJ found the Plaintiff was “not disabled.” [Tr. 8-22]. The Appeals Council denied the Plaintiff's request for review [Tr. 1-5], making the ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner.

         Having exhausted his administrative remedies, the Plaintiff filed a Complaint with this Court on August 26, 2016, seeking judicial review of the Commissioner's final decision under Section 405(g) of the Social Security Act. [Doc. 2]. The Court has considered the medical evidence in the record, the testimony at the hearing, and all other evidence in the record and finds that the medical history of the Plaintiff and the content of the ALJ's decision are not in dispute and therefore need not be repeated here.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         When reviewing the Commissioner's determination of whether an individual is disabled pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), the Court is limited to determining whether the ALJ's decision was reached through application of the correct legal standards and in accordance with the procedure mandated by the regulations and rulings promulgated by the Commissioner, and whether the ALJ's findings are supported by substantial evidence. Blakley v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 581 F.3d 399, 405 (6th Cir. 2009) (citation omitted); Wilson v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 378 F.3d 541, 544 (6th Cir. 2004).

         Substantial evidence is “more than a scintilla of evidence but less than a preponderance; it is such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.” Cutlip v. Sec'y of Health & Human Servs., 25 F.3d 284, 286 (6th Cir. 1994) (citations omitted). It is immaterial whether the record may also possess substantial evidence to support a different conclusion from that reached by the ALJ, or whether the reviewing judge may have decided the case differently. Crisp v. Sec'y of Health & Human Servs., 790 F.2d 450, 453 n.4 (6th Cir. 1986). The substantial evidence standard is intended to create a “‘zone of choice' within which the Commissioner can act, without the fear of court interference.” Buxton v. Halter, 246 F.3d 762, 773 (6th Cir. 2001) (quoting Mullen v. Bowen, 800 F.2d 535, 545 (6th Cir. 1986)). Therefore, the Court will not “try the case de novo, nor resolve conflicts in the evidence, nor decide questions of credibility.” Garner v. Heckler, 745 F.2d 383, 387 (6th Cir. 1984) (citation omitted).

         On review, the plaintiff “bears the burden of proving his entitlement to benefits.” Boyes v. Sec'y. of Health & Human Servs., 46 F.3d 510, 512 (6th Cir. 1994) (citation omitted).

         III. ANALYSIS

         Disability is the “inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than twelve months.” 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A); 20 C.F.R. § 404.1505(a).

         Disability is evaluated pursuant to a five-step analysis summarized as follows:

1. If claimant is doing substantial gainful activity, he is not disabled.
2. If claimant is not doing substantial gainful activity, his impairment must be severe before he can be found to be disabled.
3. If claimant is not doing substantial gainful activity and is suffering from a severe impairment that has lasted or is expected to last for a continuous period of at least twelve months, and his impairment meets or equals a listed ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.