United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee
LUKE A. MCFADDIN, 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. 10]. Now before the
Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings
and Memorandum in Support [Docs. 16 & 17] and
Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment and Memorandum in
Support [Docs. 18 & 19]. Luke A. McFaddin
(“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 Commissioner's motion.
2, 2013, 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 30, 2012. [Tr.
197, 218]. After his application was denied initially and
upon reconsideration, Plaintiff requested a hearing before an
ALJ. [Tr. 132]. A hearing was held on August 26, 2015. [Tr.
45-96]. On December 30, 2015, the ALJ found that Plaintiff
was not disabled. [Tr. 23-39]. The Appeals Council denied
Plaintiff's request for review [Tr. 1-4], making the
ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner.
exhausted his administrative remedies, Plaintiff filed a
Complaint with this Court on December 9, 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 December 31, 2017.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since September 30, 2012, the alleged onset date (20
CFR 404.1571 et seq.).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments (20 CFR
404.1520(c): degenerative disc disease.
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, I find
that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to
perform sedentary work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(a),
subject to the following additional limitations: such work
(a) must not require more than occasional crawling,
crouching, kneeling, stooping, balancing, or climbing of
ladders, ropes, scaffolds, ramps, or stairs; (b) must not
require more than frequent pushing or pulling with either
upper or lower extremity; (c) must not require more than
frequent reaching in any direction with either upper
extremity; (d) must not require use of either upper extremity
for more than frequent gross manipulation (i.e., handling) or
fine manipulation (i.e., fingering); (e) must be capable of
being performed while using a hand-held assistive device for
rough or uneven terrain, prolonged ambulation, or
ascending/descending inclines/declines (noting that the
contralateral upper extremity remains capable of being used
to lift and/or carry up to the exertional limits of sedentary
work); and (f) must not require more than occasional exposure
to extreme cold or humidity, or more than frequent exposure
to excessive vibration or to workplace hazards such as
dangerous moving machinery with moving mechanical parts or
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work.
(20 CFR 404.1565).
7. The claimant was born on September 19, 1970 and was 42
years old, which is defined as a younger individual age
18-44, on the alleged disability onset date. The claimant
subsequently changed age category to a younger individual age
45-49 (20 CFR 404.1563).
8. The claimant has a high school education and is able to
communicate in English (20 CFR 404.1564).
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 and
11. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined
in the Social Security Act, from September 30, 2013, through
the date of this decision (20 CFR 404.1520(g)).