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Davis v. Saul

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

July 31, 2019

JESSIE JR. DAVIS, Plaintiff,
v.
ANDREW M. SAUL, [1]Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

         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. 19]. Now before the Court are Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment and Memorandum in Support [Docs. 20 & 21] and Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment and Memorandum in Support [Docs. 22 & 23]. Jessie Jr. Davis (“Plaintiff”) seeks judicial review of the decision of the Administrative Law Judge (“the ALJ”), the final decision of Defendant Andrew M. Saul (“the Commissioner”). For the reasons that follow, the Court will DENY Plaintiff's motion and GRANT the Commissioner's motion.

         I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On January 13, 2015, Plaintiff filed an application for disability insurance benefits pursuant to Title II of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 401 et seq., alleging disability beginning on April 30, 2014. [Tr. 18]. After his application was denied initially and upon reconsideration, Plaintiff requested a hearing before an ALJ. [Tr. 112-13]. A hearing was held on February 21, 2017. [Tr. 40-57]. On May 12, 2017, the ALJ found that Plaintiff was not disabled. [Tr. 18-34]. The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review on February 14, 2018 [Tr. 1-6], making the ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner.

         Having exhausted his administrative remedies, Plaintiff filed a Complaint with this Court on April 13, 2018, 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 September 30, 2019.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since April 30, 2014, the alleged onset date (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq.).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: degenerative disc disease, obesity, enucleation of the right eye, diabetes mellitus, depression, anxiety and borderline intellectual functioning (20 CFR 404.1520(c)).
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 (20 CFR 404.1520(d), 404.1525, 404.1526).
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, I find that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform medium work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(c) except he can lift, carry, push, and pull 35 pounds occasionally and 20 pounds frequently. He can sit, stand and walk six hours each in an eight-hour workday. The claimant can only occasionally engage in postural activities and cannot climb ladders, ropes and scaffolds or have exposure to hazards. The claimant is limited to tasks that can be done with monocular vision. He can also perform simple, routine tasks with occasional contact with the public, coworkers, and supervisors. The claimant can sustain infrequent and gradual changes in routine work settings and make simple work related judgments.
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work (20 CFR 404.1565).
7. The claimant was born on October 6, 1962 and was 51 years old, which is defined as an individual closely approaching advanced age, on the alleged disability onset date. (20 CFR 404.1563).
8. The claimant has a limited 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. 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 (20 CFR 404.1569 and 404.1569(a)).
11. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from April 30, 2014, through the date of ...

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