United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Knoxville
HERBERT L. BOGARDUS, 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. 17]. Now before the
Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment and
Memorandum in Support [Doc. 18] and Defendant's Motion
for Summary Judgment and Memorandum in Support [Docs. 19
& 20]. Herbert L. Bogardus (“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
31, 2012, 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 January 1, 2010. [Tr.
66]. After his application was denied initially and upon
reconsideration, Plaintiff requested a hearing before an ALJ.
[Tr. 110]. A hearing was held on July 11, 2014, and a second
hearing on March 16, 2015. [Tr. 31-65]. On August 27, 2015,
the ALJ found that Plaintiff was not disabled. [Tr. 14-26].
The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review
[Tr. 1-3], making the ALJ's decision the final decision
of the Commissioner. Having exhausted his administrative
remedies, Plaintiff filed a Complaint with this Court on
November 18, 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
made the following findings:
1. The claimant last met the insured status requirements of
the Social Security Act on December 31, 2013.
2. The claimant did not engage in substantial gainful
activity during the period from his alleged onset date of
January 1, 2010 through his date last insured of December 31,
2013 (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq.).
3. Through the date last insured, the claimant had the
following severe impairments: osteoarthritis and allied
disorders, obesity, organic mental disorders and affective
disorders (20 CFR 404.1520(c).
4. Through the date last insured, the claimant 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 (20 CFR
404.1520(d), 404.1525 and 404.1526).
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that, through the date last insured, the
claimant had the residual functional capacity to perform
light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) except avoiding
heights, hazards, exposure to weather, temperature extremes;
avoiding climbing ladders, ropes, and scaffolds and crawling;
occasionally climbing ramps and stairs, balancing, stooping,
kneeling, and crouching; frequently but not constantly
reaching, handling, and fingering with the upper extremities;
understanding, remembering, and carrying out simple, one to
three step tasks; avoiding interaction with the general
public; occasionally interacting with coworkers and
supervisors; adapting to infrequent changes; and performing
tasks in which reading and writing are not essential.
6. Through the date last insured, the claimant is unable to
perform any past relevant work. (20 CFR 404.1565).
7. The claimant was born on March 12, 1961 and was 52 years
old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on
the date last insured. The claimant subsequently changed age
category to closely approaching advanced age (20 CFR
8. The claimant has a marginal 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. Through the date last insured, 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 404.1569(a).
11. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined
in the Social Security Act, at any time from January 1, 2010,
the alleged onset date, through December 31, 2013, the date
last insured. (20 CFR 404.1520(g)).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
reviewing the Commissioner's determination of whether an
individual is disabled pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g),
the Court is limited to determining whether the ALJ's
decision was reached through application of the correct legal
standards and in accordance with the procedure mandated by
the regulations and rulings promulgated by the Commissioner,
and whether the ALJ's findings are supported by
substantial evidence. Blakley v. Comm'r of Soc.
Sec., 581 F.3d 399, 405 (6th Cir. 2009) (citation
omitted); Wilson v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 378
F.3d 541, 544 (6th Cir. 2004).
evidence is “more than a scintilla of evidence but less
than a preponderance; it is such relevant evidence as a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.” Cutlip v. Sec'y of Health &
Human Servs., 25 F.3d 284, 286 (6th Cir. 1994)
(citations omitted). It is immaterial whether the record may
also possess substantial evidence to support a different
conclusion from that reached by the ALJ, or whether the
reviewing judge may have decided the case differently.
Crisp v. Sec'y of Health & Human Servs., 790
F.2d 450, 453 n.4 (6th Cir. 1986). The substantial evidence
standard is intended to create a “‘zone of
choice' within which the Commissioner can act, without
the fear of court interference.” Buxton v.
Halter, 246 F.3d 762, 773 (6th Cir. 2001) (quoting
Mullen v. Bowen, 800 F.2d 535, 545 (6th Cir. 1986)).
Therefore, the Court will not “try the case de
novo, nor resolve conflicts in the evidence, nor decide
questions of credibility.” Garner v. Heckler,
745 F.2d 383, 387 (6th Cir. 1984) (citation omitted).
review, the plaintiff “bears the burden of proving his
entitlement to benefits.” Boyes v. Sec'y. of
Health & Human Servs., 46 F.3d 510, 512 (6th Cir.
1994) (citation omitted).
is 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 twelve ...