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Hollon v. Berryhill

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

June 18, 2018

DANIAL ANTHONY HOLLON, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

          The Honorable Aleta A. Trauger, Judge

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Terence P. Kemp United States Magistrate Judge

         This is an action instituted under the provisions of 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3) to review a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security denying Plaintiff's applications for a period of disability and disability insurance benefits and for supplemental security income. Plaintiff filed a motion for judgment on the administrative record on November 29, 2017 (Doc. 15). The Commissioner responded on December 13, 2017 (Doc. 17). For the following reasons, it will be recommended that the Motion for Judgment be GRANTED to the extent that this case be REMANDED to the Commissioner pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §405(g), sentence four.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff filed his applications for benefits on April 18, 2013, asserting that he became disabled on May 4, 2012. On November 7, 2013, those applications were denied, and Plaintiff's request for reconsideration was denied on March 24, 2014. He then asked for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). A hearing was held on November 24, 2015. Plaintiff, Plaintiff's wife, and a vocational expert, Charles E. Wheeler, testified at the hearing.

         In a decision dated February 29, 2016, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff did not meet the requirements for disability. Plaintiff sought review of that decision from the Appeals Council, but his appeal was denied on May 11, 2017. The case is now before this Court to determine which party is entitled to judgment on the administrative record (Doc. 11).

         II. The Findings and Conclusions of the ALJ In his decision, the ALJ made the following findings of fact and conclusions of law (with some legal references omitted):

         1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through March 31, 2017.

         2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since May 4, 2012, the alleged onset date.

         3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: low vision and degenerative disc disease.

         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 in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1.

         5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b) with limitations. He cannot perform work that requires fine depth perception. He can only occasionally climb, balance stoop, kneel, crouch and crawl. He cannot be exposed to workplace hazards such as moving machinery or unprotected heights.

         6. The claimant is unable to perform his past relevant work as a machine operator or tractor-trailer driver.

         7. The claimant was born on September 21, 1974 and was 37years old, which is defined as a younger individual aged 18-49, on his alleged disability onset date.

         8. The claimant has at least a high school education and is able to communicate in English.

         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 he has transferable job skills.

         10. 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 he can perform.

         11. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from May 4, 2012, ...


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