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Annaruma v. Commissioner of Social Security

United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division

April 25, 2018

WILLIAM ANNARUMA, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

          ALETA A. TRAUGER U.S. District Judge

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          R. STEVEN WHALEN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff William Annaruma (“Plaintiff”) brings this action under 42 U.S.C. §405(g), challenging a final decision of Defendant Commissioner denying his application for Disability Insurance Benefits under the Social Security Act. On January 27, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Judgment [Docket #21]. On January 30, 2018, the case was assigned to the undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636 for Report and Recommendation. For the reasons set forth below, I recommend that Plaintiff's Motion [Docket #21] be DENIED.

         I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Plaintiff filed an application for Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) on April 8, 2013, alleging disability as of December 9, 2010 (Tr. 142-143). On June 25, 2013, Plaintiff retained the services of attorney David C. Downward (Tr. 75). After the initial denial of the claim, Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing, held on April 24, 2014 (Tr. 21). Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Elizabeth P. Neuhoff presided. Plaintiff, represented by attorney Chelsea Parker, testified (Tr. 28-51, 56-61) as did Vocational Expert (“VE”) Rebecca Williams (Tr. 51-56). On May 7, 2015, ALJ Neuhoff found that Plaintiff did not experience any workplace limitations on or before the June 30, 2009 expiration of DIB (Tr. 12-16). On June 17, 2016, the Appeals Council denied review (Tr. 1-3). Plaintiff filed for judicial review of the final decision on August 15, 2016.

         II. BACKGROUND FACTS

         Plaintiff, born July 14, 1952, was 62 when ALJ Neuhoff issued her decision (Tr. 16, 142). He completed at least four years of college and worked previously as an electronic installer (Tr. 156). His application for benefits alleges disability resulting from sarcoidosis, colitis, hypertension, arm numbness, and spine and neck problems (Tr. 155).

         A. Plaintiff's Testimony

         Plaintiff testified that he moved from New York to Tennessee in 2010 (Tr. 29). He visited New York City “[e]very once in a while” to meet with friends and business connections (Tr. 29). He stated that he tried “to do some work there, as often as [he could]” (Tr. 29).

         The ALJ and Plaintiff then engaged in the following exchange:

ALJ: Okay. So, Mr. Annaruma, when I read through your paperwork, you said that you became disabled on January 1, 2008? Is that date correct?
Plaintiff: No.
ALJ: Okay.
Plaintiff: It's not.
ALJ: What date do you believe you became disabled?
Plaintiff: It was around December of 2010.
ALJ: And what happened that caused you to believe you became disabled on that date?
Plaintiff: Well, I mean, it was really kind of stuff that was leading up. . . . I have a condition that elevated to a level of incapacitating me a lot. It's called sarcoidosis . . . . [also effecting the digestive system, lungs, liver, kidneys, hands, and eyes] . . . . And it started getting apparent in around 2008, 2009 . . . . But it elevated. It just kept elevating . . . . And the biggest thing that it affected that stopped me from working was that it - - I had a lot of stenosis in my spine. So I can't stand for long - - for more than five or six minutes at a time. And my hands get totally numb (Tr. 29-30).

         Plaintiff reported that he took Lyrica for the condition (Tr. 30). He reported that at times that he was unable to lift a bottle without pain (Tr. 31).

         The ALJ then noted that because Plaintiff's date last insured (“DLI”) for DIB eligibility was June 30, 2009, Plaintiff would “have to, obviously, dismiss [the DIB] claim” (Tr. 31, 34). She noted, in effect, that she would consider whether Plaintiff was eligible for Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) for the period after the DLI for DIB (Tr. 34).

         Plaintiff then ...


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