United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
CAMPBELL / FRENSLEY, JUDGE
a civil action filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), to
obtain judicial review of the final decision of the
Commissioner of Social Security denying Plaintiff Disability
Insurance Benefits (“DIB”), as provided under
Title II of the Social Security Act (“the Act”).
The case is currently pending on Plaintiff's Motion for
Judgment on the Administrative Record. Docket No. 22.
Plaintiff has filed an accompanying Memorandum. Docket No.
23. Defendant has filed a Response, arguing that the decision
of the Commissioner was supported by substantial evidence and
should be affirmed. Docket No. 24. Plaintiff has filed a
Reply. Docket No. 25.
reasons stated below, the undersigned recommends that this
action be REMANDED.
filed his application for Disability Insurance Benefits
(“DIB”) on August 27, 2014, alleging that he
had been disabled since September 18, 2006, due to a right
knee injury at work and use of cane, “osteomyelitis in
right knee, ” bipolar disorder, left heel pain,
“9 knee surgeries- still in pain, ” “left
knee pain- weight shifted had left knee surgery,
“[r]ight knee pain, ” “[b]ack pain- due to
nerve pain from right knee, ” and “[p]ain was so
bad - went to Dr. to check out.” See, e.g.,
Docket No. 16, Attachment (“TR”), pp. 177-83,
198. Plaintiff's application was denied both initially
(TR 96) and upon reconsideration (TR 109). Plaintiff
subsequently requested (TR 129) and received (TR 47-80) a
hearing. Plaintiff's hearing was conducted on September
22, 2016, by Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”)
Alfred M. Smith. TR 47. Plaintiff and vocational expert
(“VE”), Silvio Reyes, Ph.D., appeared and
February 8, 2017, the ALJ issued a decision unfavorable to
Plaintiff, finding that Plaintiff was not disabled within the
meaning of the Social Security Act and Regulations. TR 28-46.
Specifically, the ALJ made the following findings of fact:
1. The claimant last met the insured status requirements of
the Social Security Act on December 31, 2011.
2. The claimant did not engage in substantial gainful
activity during the period from his alleged onset date of
September 18, 2006 through his date of last insured of
December 31, 2011 (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq.).
3. Through the date last insured, the claimant had the
following severe impairment: disorder of the knee with
residuals from multiple knee surgeries (20 CFR 404.1520(c)).
4. Through the date last insured, the claimant may have had
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
sedentary work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(a) except that
he could lift and/or carry 10 pounds occasionally and less
than 10 pounds frequently; stand and/or walk two hours total
in an eight-hour workday; sit six hours total in an
eight-hour workday; never kneel, crouch or crawl;
occasionally climb ramps/stairs; and required a cane to
6. Through the date last insured, the claimant was unable to
perform any past relevant work (20 CFR 404.1565).
7. The claimant was 37 years old on the date last insured,
which is defined as a younger individual age 18-44 (20 CFR
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 dated last insured, considering the
claimant's age, education, work experience, and residual
functional capacity, there were jobs that existed in
significant numbers in the national economy that the claimant
could have performed (20 CFR 404.1569 and 404.1569(a)).
11. The claimant was not under a disability, as defined in
the Social Security Act, at any time from September 2006, the
alleged onset date, through December 31, 2011, the date last
insured (20 CFR 404.1520(g)).
March 24, 2017, Plaintiff timely filed a request for review
of the hearing decision. TR 175. On May 17, 2018, the Appeals
Council issued a letter declining to review the case (TR
1-4), thereby rendering the decision of the ALJ the final
decision of the Commissioner. This civil action was
thereafter timely filed, and the Court has jurisdiction. 42
U.S.C. § 405(g). If the Commissioner's findings are
supported by substantial evidence, based upon the record as a
whole, then these findings are conclusive. Id.