United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division
WILLIAM O. HUMPHREY, Plaintiff,
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.
L. Litkovitz United States Magistrate Judge.
William O. Humphrey brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3) for judicial review of the
final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security
(“Commissioner”) denying plaintiff's
application for Supplemental Security Income
(“SSI”). This matter is before the Court on
plaintiff's statement of errors (Doc. 5), the
Commissioner's response in opposition (Doc. 12), and
plaintiff's reply memorandum (Doc. 13).
was granted SSI disability benefits in February 2000
following a hearing with Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) Douglass Custis. (Tr. 163-172). ALJ
Custis adopted the opinion of the testifying medical expert,
Dr. Hawkins, and determined that plaintiff met Section 12.08
of the Listing of Impairments for personality disorders. (Tr.
167-68). Plaintiff's benefits were terminated when he was
incarcerated in November 2002. (Tr. 19). After his release
from prison, plaintiff filed an application for SSI in July
2007, alleging disability beginning July 27, 1998. (Tr. 173,
444-450). Plaintiff's application was denied initially
and upon reconsideration. (Tr. 173-174, 231-234). Following a
hearing in October 2009, ALJ Sarah Miller issued a decision
finding plaintiff was not disabled. (Tr. 136-162, 175-190).
In March 2012, the Appeals Council remanded plaintiff's
case to the ALJ. (Tr. 191-193). In September 2013, ALJ David
Redmond conducted a hearing and issued a decision in February
2014 finding plaintiff was not disabled. (Tr. 107-135,
195-219). In July 2015, the Appeals Council again remanded
plaintiff's case to the ALJ for further development of
the record and reweighing of the medical opinion evidence.
December 2015, ALJ Gregory Kenyon conducted a third hearing.
(Tr. 43-75). In January 2016, ALJ Kenyon issued a decision
finding that plaintiff was not disabled. (Tr. 16-42).
Plaintiff's request for review by the Appeals Council was
denied, making ALJ Kenyon's January 2016 decision the
final administrative decision of the Commissioner.
Legal Framework for Disability Determinations
qualify for disability benefits, a claimant must suffer from
a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that
can be expected to result in death or that has lasted or can
be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than
12 months. 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A). The impairment must
render the claimant unable to engage in the work previously
performed or in any other substantial gainful employment that
exists in the national economy. 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(2).
promulgated by the Commissioner establish a five-step
sequential evaluation process for disability determinations:
1) If the claimant is doing substantial gainful activity, the
claimant is not disabled.
2) If the claimant does not have a severe medically
determinable physical or mental impairment - i.e.,
an impairment that significantly limits his or her physical
or mental ability to do basic work activities - the claimant
is not disabled.
3) If the claimant has a severe impairment(s) that meets or
equals one of the listings in Appendix 1 to Subpart P of the
regulations and meets the duration requirement, the claimant
4) If the claimant's impairment does not prevent him or
her from doing his or her past relevant work, the claimant is
5) If the claimant can make an adjustment to other work, the
claimant is not disabled. If the claimant cannot make an
adjustment to other work, the claimant is disabled.
Rabbers v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 582 F.3d 647,
652 (6th Cir. 2009) (citing 20 C.F.R. §§
404.1520(a)(4)(i)-(v), 404.1520(b)-(g)). The claimant has the
burden of proof at the first four steps of the sequential
evaluation process. Id.; Wilson v. Comm'r of
Soc. Sec., 378 F.3d 541, 548 (6th Cir. 2004). Once the
claimant establishes a prima facie case by showing an
inability to perform the relevant previous employment, the
burden shifts to the Commissioner to show that the claimant
can perform other substantial gainful employment and that
such employment exists in the national economy.
Rabbers, 582 F.3d at 652; Harmon v. Apfel,
168 F.3d 289, 291 (6th Cir. 1999).
The Administrative Law Judge's Findings
applied the sequential evaluation process and made the
following findings of fact and conclusions of law:
1. The [plaintiff] has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since July 16, 2007, the application date (20 CFR
416.971 et seq.).
2. The [plaintiff] has the following severe impairments:
residuals of a lumbosacral strain, depression, and an
antisocial personality disorder (20 CFR 416.920(c)).
3. The [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 CFR Part 404, Subpart P,
Appendix 1 (20 CFR 416.920(d), 416.925 and 416.926).
4. After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that the [plaintiff] has the residual
functional capacity to perform medium work as defined in 20
CFR 416.967(c) subject to the following limitations: (1)
frequent crouching, crawling, kneeling, stooping, and
climbing of ramps and stairs; (2) no climbing of ladders,
ropes or scaffolds; (3) no work around hazards, such as
unprotected heights or dangerous machinery; (4) limited to
performing unskilled, simple, repetitive tasks; (5)
occasional, superficial contact with coworkers and
supervisors; (6) no public contact; (7) no teamwork or tandem
tasks; (8) no close over the shoulder supervision; (9) no
fast paced production work or jobs involving strict
production quotas; and (10) limited to performing jobs in a
relatively static work environment in which there is very
little, if any, change in the job duties or the work routine
from one day to the next.
5. The [plaintiff] has no past relevant work (20 CFR
6. The [plaintiff] was born [in] 1977 and was 30 years old,
which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the
date the application was filed (20 CFR 416.963).
7. The [plaintiff] has a limited education and is able to
communicate in English (20 CFR 416.964).
8. Transferability of job skills is not at issue because the
[plaintiff] does not have past relevant work (20 CFR
9. Considering the [plaintiff]'s age, education, work
experience, and residual functional capacity, there are jobs
that exist in significant numbers in the national economy
that the [plaintiff] can perform (20 CFR 416.969 and
10. The [plaintiff] has not been under a disability, as
defined in the Social Security Act, since July 16, 2007, the
date the ...