United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Cookeville Division
Honorable William L. Campbell, Jr. Judge.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION TO GRANT PLAINTIFF'S
MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE RECORD 
R. GRAND, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Theresa Martha Carol Johnson (“Johnson”) brings
this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), challenging
the final decision of Defendant Commissioner of Social
Security (“Commissioner”) denying her
applications for Disability Insurance Benefits
(“DIB”) and Supplemental Security Income
(“SSI”) under the Social Security Act (the
“Act”). On October 5, 2016, Johnson filed a
Motion for Judgment on the Administrative Record and a
Memorandum in Support. (Docs. #16, #17). On November 29,
2016, the Commissioner filed a response in opposition to
Johnson's motion. (Doc. #20). On January 30, 2018, this
matter was referred to the undersigned for a Report and
Recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B).
reasons set forth below, the Court finds that the
Administrative Law Judge's (“ALJ”) conclusion
that Johnson is not disabled under the Act is not supported
by substantial evidence. Accordingly, the Court RECOMMENDS
that Johnson's Motion for Judgment on the Administrative
Record (Doc. #16) be GRANTED, and that, pursuant to sentence
four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), this case be REMANDED to the
ALJ for further proceedings consistent with this Report and
September 26, 2011, Johnson filed applications for DIB and
SSI, alleging a disability onset date of November 27, 2010.
(Tr. 45, 85-86). These applications were denied at the
initial level. (Tr. 85-86). Johnson filed a timely request
for an administrative hearing, which was held on July 1,
2014, before ALJ Mark Siegel. (Tr. 61-84). Johnson, who was
represented by attorney Brenda Benson, testified at the
hearing, as did vocational expert (“VE”) Jo Ann
Bullard. (Id.). At the hearing, Johnson amended her
alleged onset date to May 8, 2011. (Tr. 74). On October 23,
2014, the ALJ issued a written decision finding that Johnson
is not disabled under the Act. (Tr. 42-54). On March 4, 2016,
the Appeals Council denied review. (Tr. 1-6). Johnson timely
filed for judicial review of the final decision on May 5,
2016. (Doc. #1).
Framework for Disability Determinations
the Act, DIB and SSI benefits 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). The Commissioner's
regulations provide that a disability is to be determined
through the application of a five-step sequential analysis:
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., No. 11-10593,
2011 WL 6937331, at *7 (E.D. Mich. Dec. 6, 2011) (citing 20
C.F.R. §§ 404.1520, 416.920); 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 Cir. 1994).
alleges disability as a result of emphysema, a
“bad” right shoulder, and arthritis. (Tr. 254).
At the time of the administrative hearing, Johnson was
fifty-three years old. (Tr. 66). Her highest level of
education is tenth grade, and she worked as a certified
nursing assistant from 1996 to 2010. (Tr. 255, 262-67, 271).
Court has thoroughly reviewed the record in this matter,
including Johnson's medical record, Function Report,
Disability Reports, and testimony as to her conditions and
resulting limitations. Instead of summarizing that
information here, the Court will make references and provide