United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Knoxville
FRANK D. KINCAID, JR., Plaintiff,
ANDREW M. SAUL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
C. Poplin, United States Magistrate Judge
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. 15].
before the Court is Plaintiff’s Motion for Judgment on
the Pleadings and Memorandum in Support [Docs. 18 & 19]
and Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment and
Memorandum in Support [Docs. 22 & 23]. Frank D. Kincaid,
Jr. (“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 GRANT IN PART
Plaintiff’s motion and DENY the
February 11, 2014, Plaintiff protectively filed an
application for disability insurance benefits and
supplemental security income benefits pursuant to Titles II
and XVI of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §§
401 et seq. and 1381 et seq., claiming a
period of disability that began on September 30, 2011. [Tr.
15, 194–201]. After his application was denied
initially and upon reconsideration, Plaintiff requested a
hearing before an ALJ. [Tr. 143]. A hearing was held on May
20, 2016. [Tr. 30–63]. On August 1, 2016, the ALJ found
that Plaintiff was not disabled. [Tr. 15–25]. The
Appeals Council denied Plaintiff’s request for review
on March 6, 2018 [Tr. 1– 6], making the ALJ’s
decision the final decision of the Commissioner.
exhausted his administrative remedies, Plaintiff filed a
Complaint with this Court on April 16, 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.
made the following findings:
1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the
Social Security Act through March 31, 2016.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since September 30, 2011, the alleged onset date (20
CFR 404.1571 et seq. and 416.971 et seq.).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: history
of left testicular removal; prostatectomy, with
adenocarcinoma; affective disorder and anxiety disorder (20
CFR 404.1520(c) and 416.920(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,
416.920(d), 416.925 and 416.926).
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual
functional capacity to perform medium work as defined in 20
CFR 404.1567(c) and 416.967(c) except he can only frequently
climb ladders, ropes, scaffolds, ramps or stairs; balance;
stoop; kneel; crouch and crawl. Work is limited to simple,
routine and repetitive tasks; performed in a work environment
free of fast paced work; involving only simple work-related
decisions; and with only occasional interaction with the
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work
(20 CFR 404.1565 and 416.965).
7. The claimant was born on December 21, 1960 and was 50
years old, which is defined as an individual closely
approaching advanced age, on the alleged disability onset
date. The claimant subsequently changed age category to
advanced age (20 CFR 404.1563 and 416.963).
8. The claimant has at least a high school education and is
able to communicate in English (20 CFR 404.1564 and 416.964).
9. Transferability of job skills is not an issue in this case
because the claimant’s past relevant work is unskilled
(20 CFR 404.1568 and 416.968).
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, 404.1569(a),
416.969, and 416.969(a)).
11. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined
in the Social Security Act, from September 30, 2011, through
the date of this decision (20 CFR 404.1520(g) and
STANDARD OF REVIEW
reviewing the Commissioner’s determination of whether
an individual is disabled pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
405(g), the Court is limited to determining whether the
ALJ’s decision was reached through application of the
correct legal standards and in accordance with the procedure
mandated by the regulations and rulings promulgated by the
Commissioner, and whether the ALJ’s findings are
supported by substantial evidence. Blakley v.
Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 581 F.3d 399, 405 (6th Cir.
2009) (citation omitted); Wilson v. Comm’r of Soc.
Sec., 378 F.3d 541, 544 (6th Cir. 2004).
evidence is “more than a scintilla of evidence but less
than a preponderance; it is such relevant evidence as a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.” Cutlip v. Sec’y of Health &
Human Servs., 25 F.3d 284, 286 (6th Cir. 1994)
(citations omitted). It is immaterial whether the record may
also possess substantial evidence to support a different
conclusion from that reached by the ALJ, or whether the
reviewing judge may have decided the case differently.
Crisp v. Sec’y of Health & Human Servs.,
790 F.2d 450, 453 n.4 (6th Cir. 1986). The substantial
evidence standard is intended to create a “‘zone
of choice’ within which the Commissioner can act,
without the fear of court interference.” Buxton v.
Halter, 246 F.3d 762, 773 (6th Cir. 2001) (quoting
Mullen v. Bowen, 800 F.2d 535, 545 (6th Cir. 1986)).
Therefore, the Court will not “try the case de
novo, nor resolve conflicts in the evidence, nor decide
questions of credibility.” Garner v. Heckler,
745 F.2d 383, 387 (6th Cir. 1984) (citation omitted).
review, the plaintiff “bears the burden of proving his
entitlement to benefits.” Boyes v. Sec’y. of
Health & Human Servs., 46 F.3d 510, 512 (6th Cir.
1994) (citation omitted).