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Brawner v. Berryhill

United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Knoxville

June 15, 2018

HOMER BRAWNER, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, [1] Deputy Commissioner for Operations, performing the duties and functions not reserved to the Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          DEBRA C. POPLIN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This case is before the undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b), Rule 73 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and the consent of the parties [Doc. 14]. Now before the Court is the Plaintiff's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings and Memorandum in Support [Docs. 17 & 18] and the Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment and Memorandum in Support [Docs. 19 & 20]. Homer Brawner (“the 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 the Plaintiff's motion and GRANT the Commissioner's motion.

         I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On February 27, 2013, the Plaintiff filed an application for disability insurance benefits pursuant to Title II of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 401-403, claiming a period of disability that began on April 15, 2010. [Tr. 115-20]. After his application was denied initially and upon reconsideration, the Plaintiff requested a hearing before an ALJ. [Tr. 81]. A hearing was held on March 19, 2015. [Tr. 26-40]. On August 24, 2015, the ALJ found that the Plaintiff was not disabled. [Tr. 12-21]. The Appeals Council denied the Plaintiff's request for review on August 24, 2016 [Tr. 1-6], making the ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner.

         Having exhausted his administrative remedies, the Plaintiff filed a Complaint with this Court on October 24, 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.

         II. ALJ FINDINGS

         The ALJ made the following findings:

1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through December 31, 2015.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since April 15, 2010, the alleged onset date.
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: obesity, degenerative disc disease, sensorineural hearing loss, posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorder, and personality disorder.
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.
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work except he can occasionally bend, stoop, squat, kneel, and crouch. The claimant can perform simple and detailed tasks. He can concentrate for at least two hours at one time and can occasionally (up to one third of the day) deal with change and with the general public.
6. The claimant is capable of performing past relevant work as an inspector. This work does not require the performance of work-related activities precluded by the claimant's residual functional capacity.
7. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from April 15, 2010, through ...

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