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Collier v. Commissioner of Social Security

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

February 15, 2018


          Waverly D. Crenshaw, Jr. District Judge.



         Plaintiff Michael Collier seeks judicial review under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) of Defendant Commissioner of Social Security's determination that he is not entitled to benefits under the Social Security Act. (Docket no. 1.) Before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Judgment on the Administrative Record (docket no. 17). Defendant filed a response opposing Plaintiff's motion (docket no. 21). This matter has been referred to the Magistrate Judge for a Report and Recommendation on disposition of Plaintiff's Complaint for judicial review of the decision of the Social Security Administration. (Docket no. 7.) Pursuant to Administrative Order No. 24 entered on January 23, 2018, the undersigned is authorized to hold court and perform other judicial duties in the Middle District of Tennessee under 28 U.S.C. § 636, subsections (a), (b), and (c).


         For the reasons that follow, it is recommended that the Court DENY Plaintiff's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (docket no. 17); AFFIRM the Commissioner's final decision; and DISMISS Plaintiff's complaint.


         On November 26, 2012, Plaintiff applied for Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) as well as Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”), alleging that he has been disabled since May 30, 2012. (TR 13.) The Social Security Administration initially denied Plaintiff's claims on April 18, 2013. (TR 147.) On February 5, 2015, Plaintiff appeared with a representative and testified at a hearing before Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Scott Shimer. (TR 37-64.) On April 16, 2015, the ALJ issued an unfavorable decision on Plaintiff's claims. (TR 13-31.) Plaintiff requested a review of the ALJ's decision with the Appeals Council, which was denied on June 3, 2016. (TR 1-5.) On August 5, 2016, Plaintiff commenced this action for judicial review, and subsequently filed a motion for judgment on the administrative record, which is currently before the Court. (Docket no. 17.)


         Plaintiff sets forth a brief procedural history of this matter as well as a short summary of his medical issues. (Docket no. 18, pp. 3-16.) In addition, the ALJ summarized Plaintiff's medical record (TR 16-29), and Defendant deferred to the ALJ's summary (docket no. 21, p. 2). Having conducted an independent review of Plaintiff's medical record and the hearing transcript, the undersigned finds that there are no material inconsistencies among these recitations of the record. Therefore, in lieu of re-summarizing this information, the undersigned will incorporate the above-cited factual recitations by reference and will also refer to the record as necessary to address the parties' arguments throughout this Report and Recommendation.


         The ALJ determined that Plaintiff met the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through December 31, 2017 and had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since May 30, 2012, the alleged onset date. (TR 16.) In addition, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had the following severe impairments: “obesity; diabetes mellitus; osteoarthritis; history of right shoulder surgery; mild bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome status post bilateral carpal tunnel release; degenerative disc disease; Raynaud's syndrome; history of pseudoseizure; cognitive disorder; major depressive disorder; anxiety; and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.” (Id.) Nevertheless, the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that met or medically equaled the severity of one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. (Id.) In addition, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff had the Residual Functional Capacity (“RFC”) to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b), subject to the following limitations:

▪ limited to frequent balancing, kneeling, crouching, and climbing of ramps and stairs;
▪ limited to occasional stooping and crawling;
▪ no climbing of ladders, ropes, or scaffolds;
▪ no overhead reaching with the right upper extremity;
▪ no concentrated exposure to extreme cold ...

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