United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Greeneville
THOMAS S. COMMONS Plaintiff,
ANDREW SAUL, Commissioner of Social Security Administration, Defendant.
CHRISTOPHER H. STEGER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Thomas Commons seeks judicial review under § 205(g) of
the Social Security Act ("Act"), 42 U.S.C. §
405(g), from his denial by the Commissioner of the Social
Security Administration regarding his application for
disability insurance benefits and supplemental security
income under Titles II and XVI of the Act, 42 U.S.C.
§§ 401-34, 1381-83f. [See Doc. 1]. The
parties consented to the entry of final judgment by a United
States Magistrate Judge according to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c),
with an appeal to the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
reasons that follow, Plaintiff's Motion for Judgment on
the Pleadings [Doc. 13] will be DENIED, the
Commissioner's Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. 15] will
be GRANTED, and judgment will be entered
AFFIRMING the Commissioner's decision.
November 2015, Plaintiff applied for disability insurance
benefits and supplemental security income under Title II of
the Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 401-434, alleging disability
as of September 15, 2015. (Tr. 10, Doc. 8). Plaintiff's
claims were denied initially as well as on reconsideration.
As a result, Plaintiff requested a hearing before an
administrative law judge.
October 2017, ALJ Elizabeth Neuhoff heard testimony from
Plaintiff and a vocational expert, as well as argument from
Plaintiff's attorney. The ALJ then rendered her decision,
finding that Plaintiff was not under a "disability"
as defined in the Act. (Tr. 10-17).
the ALJ's decision, Plaintiff requested that the Appeals
Council review his denial; however, that request was denied.
(Tr. 7). Exhausting his administrative remedies, Plaintiff
then filed his Complaint on April 18, 2018, seeking judicial
review of the Commissioner's final decision under §
405(g). [Doc. 1]. The parties filed competing dispositive
motions, and this matter is now ripe for adjudication.
Findings by the ALJ
made the following findings concerning her decision on
Plaintiff's application for benefits:
1. Plaintiff meets the insured status requirements of the
Social Security Act through December 31, 2020.
2. Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial gainful activity
since September 15, 2015, the alleged onset date (20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1571 et seq. and 416.971 et.
3. Plaintiff has the following severe impairments: diabetes
mellitus with recent diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy (20
C.F.R. § 404.1520(c) and 416.920(c)).
4. Plaintiff does not have an impairment or combination of
impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of
one of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart
P, Appendix 1 (20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(d), 404.1525,
404.1526, 416.920(d), 416.925, and 416.926).
5. Absent certain limitations, Plaintiff retained the
residual-functional capacity to perform medium work as
defined in 20 C.F.R. ...