United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Knoxville
BERNARD S. OWNBY, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Deputy Commissioner for Operations, performing the duties and functions not reserved to the 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. 12]. Now before the
Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment and
Memorandum in Support [Docs. 15 & 16], Defendant's
Motion for Summary Judgment and Memorandum in Support [Docs.
17 & 18], and Plaintiff's Reply Memorandum [Doc. 19].
Bernard S. Ownby (“the Plaintiff”) seeks judicial
review of the decision of the Administrative Law Judge
(“the ALJ”), the final decision of Defendant
Nancy A. Berryhill (“the Commissioner”). For the
reasons that follow, the Court will GRANT
Plaintiff's motion and DENY the
October 25, 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 June 11, 2011.
[Tr. 140-46]. After his application was denied initially and
upon reconsideration, Plaintiff requested a hearing before an
ALJ. [Tr. 86]. A hearing was held on November 17, 2015. [Tr.
32-51]. On January 22, 2016, the ALJ found that Plaintiff was
not disabled. [Tr. 19-27]. The Appeals Council denied
Plaintiff's request for review [Tr. 1-3], making the
ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner.
exhausted his administrative remedies, Plaintiff filed a
Complaint with this Court on May 12, 2017, 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 last met the insured status requirements of
the Social Security Act on December 31, 2014.
2. The claimant did not engage in substantial gainful
activity during the period from his alleged onset date of
June 11, 2011 through his date last insured of December 31,
2014 (20 CFR 404.1571).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments:
degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine and obesity (20
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 has the residual functional capacity to perform
light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b). He can
frequently climb, balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl.
6. Through the date last insured, the claimant was unable to
perform any past relevant work. (20 CFR 404.1565).
7. The claimant was born on November 27, 1965 and was 49
years old, which is defined as a younger individual age
18-49, on the date last insured (20 CFR 404.1563 and
8. The claimant has at least 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. Through the date last insured, considering the
claimant's age, education, work experience, and residual
functional capacity, there were jobs that exist in
significant numbers in the national economy that the claimant