Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Taylor v. Berryhill

United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Eastern Division

July 22, 2019

JENNIFER M. TAYLOR, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          ORDER AFFIRMING THE COMMISSIONER'S DECISION

          TU M. PHAM UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Before the court is plaintiff Jennifer Taylor's appeal from a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security[1] (“Commissioner”) denying her application for benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act (“Act”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 401 et seq. and for supplemental security income (“SSI”) under Title XVI of the Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1381-1385. (ECF No. 1.) After the parties consented to the jurisdiction of the United States magistrate judge, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), this case was referred to the undersigned. (ECF No. 11.) For the following reasons, the Commissioner's decision is affirmed.

         I. FINDINGS OF FACT

         Taylor applied for benefits on September 1, 2015, and protectively filed for SSI on August 13, 2015, with an alleged onset date of July 10, 2011. (R. 206-15.) The SSA denied Taylor's application initially and upon reconsideration. (R. 86, 147.) At Taylor's request, a hearing was held before an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) on October 12, 2017. (R. at 159, 162, 197.) On February 21, 2018, the ALJ issued a decision denying Taylor's request for benefits after finding that she was not under a disability because she retained the residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy. (R. 10-26.)

         In his decision, the ALJ concluded that Taylor has the following severe impairments: “fibromyalgia; mild degenerative disc disease in the lumbar spine; chronic bronchitis; depressive disorder; anxiety disorder; and history of drug and alcohol abuse in reported remission.” (R. 13.) However, the ALJ found that Taylor did not have an impairment or combination of impairments listed in or medically equal to one of the listed impairments contained within 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. (Id.) Next, the ALJ concluded that Taylor retains the RFC:

to perform light work as defined in 20 C.F.R. 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b) except she can lift, carry, push and pull ten pounds frequently and twenty pounds occasionally; sit about six hours in an eight hour workday; stand and walk about six hours in an eight hour workday; occasionally climb ramps and stairs but never ladders, ropes or scaffolds; occasionally stoop, crouch, kneel and crawl; frequently balance; must avoid concentrated exposure to work around hazardous machinery, moving parts and work at unprotected heights; must avoid concentrated exposure to extreme heat, cold, dust, odors, fumes, pulmonary irritants and areas of poor ventilation; is limited to simple, routing, repetitive tasks and simple work related decisions; can interact occasionally with supervisors, co-workers and the general public; can adapt to occasional changed in the workplace; can maintain concentrations, persistence and pace for such tasks with normal breaks spread throughout the day.

(R. 15.)

         After describing the basis for that RFC, the ALJ proceeded to the fourth step and concluded that Taylor was unable to perform past relevant work. (R. 24.) The ALJ then proceeded to the final step, where he concluded:

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 the claimant can perform.

(Id.) Accordingly, the ALJ found that Taylor was not disabled and was therefore not entitled to disability benefits. On June 26, 2018, the Appeals Council denied Taylor's request for review, making the ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner. (R. 1.) Taylor filed the instant action on August 23, 2018, seeking review of the ALJ's decision. (ECF No. 1.) On appeal, Taylor argues that the ALJ's RFC determination is unsupported by substantial evidence. (ECF No. 21 at 13-18.)

         II. CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

         A. Standard of Review

         Under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), a claimant may obtain judicial review of any final decision made by the Commissioner after a hearing to which he or she was a party. “The court shall have power to enter, upon the pleadings and transcript of the record, a judgment affirming, modifying, or reversing the decision of the Commissioner of Social Security, with or without remanding the cause for a rehearing.” 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Judicial review of the Commissioner's decision is limited to whether there is substantial evidence to support the decision and whether the Commissioner used the proper legal criteria in making the decision. Id.; Winn v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 615 Fed.Appx. 315, 320 (6th Cir. 2015); Cole v. Astrue, 661 F.3d 931, 937 (6th Cir. 2011); Rogers v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 486 F.3d 234, 241 (6th Cir. 2007). Substantial evidence is more than a scintilla of evidence but less than a preponderance, and is “such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.” Kirk v. Sec'y of Health & Human Servs., 667 F.2d 524, 535 (6th Cir. 1981) (quoting Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971)).

         In determining whether substantial evidence exists, the reviewing court must examine the evidence in the record as a whole and “must ‘take into account whatever in the record fairly detracts from its weight.'” Abbott v. Sullivan, 905 F.2d 918, 923 (6th Cir. 1990) (quoting Garner v. Heckler, 745 F.2d 383, 388 (6th Cir. 1984)). If substantial evidence is found to support the Commissioner's decision, however, the court must affirm that decision and “may not even inquire whether the record could support a decision the other way.” Barker v. Shalala, 40 F.3d 789, 794 (6th Cir. 1994) (quoting Smith v. Sec'y of Health & Human Servs., 893 F.2d 106, 108 (6th Cir. 1989)). Similarly, the court may not try the case de novo, resolve conflicts in the evidence, or decide questions of credibility. Ulman v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 693 F.3d 709, 713 (6th Cir. 2012) (citing Bass v. McMahon, 499 F.3d 506, 509 (6th Cir. 2007)). Rather, the Commissioner, not the court, is charged with the duty to weigh the evidence, to make credibility ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.