United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Knoxville
KENNETH J. COLE, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
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 consent of the parties [Doc. 15]. Now before the
Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment and
Memorandum in Support [Docs. 16 & 17] and Defendant's
Motion for Summary Judgment and Memorandum in Support [Docs.
20 & 21]. Kenneth J. Cole (“Plaintiff”) seeks
judicial review of the decision of the Administrative Law
Judge (“the ALJ”), the final decision of
Defendant Nancy A. Berryhill, Acting Commissioner of Social
Security (“the Commissioner”). For the reasons
that follow, the Court will DENY
Plaintiff's motion and GRANT the
29, 2013, Plaintiff filed an application for disability
insurance benefits and supplemental security income benefits
pursuant to Title II and XVI of the Social Security Act, 42
U.S.C. §§ 401-403, 1381-1385, claiming a period of
disability that began on May 14, 2009, but later amended to
June 14, 2012. [Tr. 20, 205-12]. After his application was
denied initially and upon reconsideration, Plaintiff
requested a hearing before an ALJ. [Tr. 125]. A hearing was
held on June 2, 2015, followed by a supplemental hearing on
September 29, 2015. [Tr. 37-64]. On October 28, 2015, the ALJ
found that Plaintiff was not disabled. [Tr. 20-31]. The
Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review
[Tr. 1-3], making the ALJ's decision the final decision
of the Commissioner.
exhausted his administrative remedies, Plaintiff filed a
Complaint with this Court on October 12, 2016, seeking
judicial review of the Commissioner's final decision
under Section 405(g) of the Social Security Act. [Doc. 1].
The parties have filed competing dispositive motions, and
this matter is now ripe for adjudication.
made the following findings:
1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the
Social Security Act through March 31, 2014.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since June 14, 2012, the amended alleged onset date
(20 CFR 404.1571 et seq., and 416.971 et
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments:
Asperger's Syndrome, major depressive disorder, anxiety
disorder, and s/p remote head injury (20 CFR 404.1520(c) and
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 a full range of work at all
exertional levels but with the following nonexertional
limitations: limited to performing simple and repetitive
nondetailed tasks where coworker contact would be no more
casual and superficial contact (occasional) where public
contact should be minimal to nonexistent (less than
occasional); supervision should be direct and
nonconfrontational (no special supervision); changes in the
workplace would need to be no more than infrequent and should
be gradually introduced; unable to meet fast paced high
product demands; and would work better with things than
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work.
(20 CFR 404.1565 and 416.965).
7. The claimant was born on September 14, 1984 and was 27
years old, which is defined as a younger individual age
18-49, on the alleged disability onset date (20 CFR 404.1563
8. The claimant has at least a high school education and is
able to communicate in English (20 CFR 404.1564 and 416.964).
9. Transferability of job skills is not material to the
determination of disability because using the
Medical-Vocational Rules as a framework supports a finding
that the claimant is “not disabled, ” whether or
not the claimant has transferable job skills (See SSR 82-41
and 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 2).
10. Considering the claimant's age, education, work
experience, and residual functional capacity, there are jobs
that exist in significant numbers in the national economy
that the claimant can perform (20 CFR 404.1569, 404.1569(a),
416.969, and 416.969(a)).
11. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined
in the Social Security Act, from June 14, 2012, through the
date of this decision ...