United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Cookeville Division
Honorable Waverly D. Crenshaw, Jr. Judge.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION TO DENY PLAINTIFF'S
MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE RECORD 
R. GRAND, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Claude Edward Templeton (“Templeton”) brings this
action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), challenging the
final decision of Defendant Commissioner of Social Security
(“Commissioner”) denying his applications for
Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) and
Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) under the
Social Security Act (the “Act”). On December 8,
2016, Templeton filed a Motion for Judgment on the
Administrative Record and a Memorandum in Support. (Docs.
#12, 13). On February 1, 2017, the Commissioner filed a
response in opposition to Templeton's motion. (Doc. #16).
On January 30, 2018, this matter was referred to this Court
for a Report and Recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
reasons set forth below, the Court finds that substantial
evidence supports the Administrative Law Judge's
(“ALJ”) conclusion that Templeton is not disabled
under the Act. Accordingly, the Court recommends that
Templeton's Motion for Judgment on the Administrative
Record (Doc. #12) be DENIED, and that, pursuant to sentence
four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), the ALJ's decision be
Templeton's disability applications were denied at the
initial level on May 5, 2011 (Tr. 87-90), and on
reconsideration on October 24, 1011 (Tr. 96-99), he timely
requested an administrative hearing, which was held on
December 18, 2012, before ALJ Joan A. Lawrence. (Tr. 18-29).
On April 11, 2013, the ALJ issued a written decision finding
that Templeton is not disabled under the Act. (Tr. 68-78).
Subsequently, on May 8, 2014, the Appeals Council vacated the
ALJ's decision and remanded the matter for a new hearing
and decision. (Tr. 83-85). Thus, a second administrative
hearing was held before ALJ Lawrence on March 17, 2015;
Templeton, who was represented by attorney John Wayne Allen,
testified at that hearing. (Tr. 2-16). On August 18, 2015,
ALJ Lawrence issued a written decision again finding that
Templeton is not disabled under the Act. (Tr. 40-56). On June
22, 2016, the Appeals Council denied review. (Tr. 31-33).
Templeton timely filed for judicial review of the final
decision on August 24, 2016. (Doc. #1).
Framework for Disability Determinations
the Act, SSI and DIB are available only for those who have a
“disability.” See Colvin v.
Barnhart, 475 F.3d 727, 730 (6th Cir. 2007). The Act
defines “disability” as 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 12 months.
42 U.S.C. §§ 423(d)(1)(A), 1382c(a)(3)(A). The
Commissioner's regulations provide that disability is to
be determined through the application of a five-step
Step One: If the claimant is currently engaged in substantial
gainful activity, benefits are denied without further
Step Two: If the claimant does not have a severe impairment
or combination of impairments that “significantly
limits . . . physical or mental ability to do basic work
activities, ” benefits are denied without further
Step Three: If the claimant is not performing substantial
gainful activity, has a severe impairment that is expected to
last for at least twelve months, and the severe impairment
meets or equals one of the impairments listed in the
regulations, the claimant is conclusively presumed to be
disabled regardless of age, education, or work experience.
Step Four: If the claimant is able to perform his or her past
relevant work, benefits are denied without further analysis.
Step Five: Even if the claimant is unable to perform his or
her past relevant work, if other work exists in the national
economy that the claimant can perform, in view of his or her
age, education, and work experience, benefits are denied.
Scheuneman v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 2011 WL
6937331, at *7 (E.D. Mich. Dec. 6, 2011) (citing 20 C.F.R.
§ 404.1520); see also Heston v. Comm'r of Soc.
Sec., 245 F.3d 528, 534 (6th Cir. 2001). “The
burden of proof is on the claimant throughout the first four
steps …. If the analysis reaches the fifth step
without a finding that claimant is not disabled, the burden
transfers to the [defendant].” Preslar v. Sec'y
of Health & Human Servs., 14 F.3d 1107, 1110 (6th
Reports and Testimony
time of the second administrative hearing, Templeton was 56
years old, and at 5'7” tall, weighed 136 pounds.
(Tr. 5-6). He was divorced and lived in a trailer with his
sister and seven other family members. (Tr. 15, 195, 227). He
completed high school but had no further education. (Tr. 6,
204-05). Templeton worked at a lumberyard for ...