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Yates v. Commissioner of Social Security

United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division, Dayton

January 5, 2018

JEFFERY R. YATES, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

          Walter H. Rice District Judge

         REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION [1] THAT: (1) THE ALJ'S NON-DISABILITY FINDING BE FOUND SUPPORTED BY SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE; (2) PRO SE PLAINTIFF'S REQUEST FOR A SENTENCE SIX REMAND BE DENIED; AND (3) THIS CASE BE CLOSED ON THE COURT'S DOCKET

          Michael J. Newman Magistrate Judge

         This is a Social Security disability benefits appeal brought pro se. At issue is whether the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) erred in finding Plaintiff not “disabled” and therefore unentitled to Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”). This case is before the Court upon Plaintiffs Statement of Errors (doc. 16), the Commissioner's memorandum in opposition (doc. 18), the administrative record (doc. 7), and the record as a whole.[2] Given his pro se status, Plaintiffs filings and arguments are liberally construed in his favor. Franklin v. Rose, 765 F.2d 82, 84-85 (6th Cir. 1985) (stating that pro se pleadings “are entitled to a liberal construction” and that “appropriate liberal construction requires active interpretation in some cases to construe a pro se petition ‘to encompass any allegation stating federal relief'”) (citations omitted).

         I.

         A. Procedural History

         Plaintiff originally filed for DIB and SSI in November 2007 claiming disability as a result of a number of impairments including, inter alia, vertebral disorder, lumbago, depressive disorder and borderline intellectual functioning. Doc. 7-2 PageID 196.

         After an initial denial of his application, Plaintiff received a hearing before ALJ James I.K. Knapp on July 12, 2010. PageID 162-91. Thereafter, the ALJ issued a written decision on July 20, 2010 finding Plaintiff not disabled. PageID 196. Specifically, the ALJ found at Step 5 that, based upon Plaintiff's residual functional capacity (“RFC”), “there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that [Plaintiff] can perform[.]” Id.

         Thereafter, the Appeals Council denied review on July 19, 2011, making the ALJ's non-disability finding the final administrative decision of the Commissioner. Id. Plaintiff did not appeal ALJ Knapp's decision in federal court, thus making ALJ Knapp's non-disability finding the final decision of the Commissioner with regard to Plaintiff's initial DIB and SSI application. Accordingly, as a matter of law, Plaintiff is deemed not disabled as of July 20, 2010.

         In August 2010, Plaintiff filed new applications for DIB and SSI, alleging disability as of July 21, 2010. Id. After an initial denial of Plaintiff's new applications, he received a hearing before ALJ David A. Redmond on September 19, 2012. Id. ALJ Redmond issued a written decision on December 14, 2012 finding Plaintiff not disabled. PageID 196-209. Specifically, ALJ Redmond found at Step 5 that, based upon Plaintiff's residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform a limited range of light work, [3] “there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that [Plaintiff] can perform[.]” PageID 201.

         The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review of ALJ Redmond's decision. On appeal to this Court, Judge Rose affirmed the Commissioner's non-disability finding. Yates v. Colvin, Case No. 3:14cv00132, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62742, *1 (S.D. Ohio May 13, 2015). No appeal was taken. Accordingly, Plaintiff, as a matter of law, was deemed not disabled as of the date of ALJ Redmond's decision, December 14, 2012.

         On March 20, 2014, Plaintiff filed for DIB alleging disability beginning December 14, 2012.[4] PageID 82. After an initial denial of his application, Plaintiff received a hearing before ALJ Gregory G. Kenyon on March 2, 2016. PageID 89-138. ALJ Kenyon issued a written decision on June 24, 2016 finding Plaintiff not disabled. PageID 82-90. Specifically, ALJ Kenyon found at Step 5 that, based upon Plaintiff's residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform a limited range of light work, “there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that [Plaintiff] can perform[.]” PageID 87.

         Thereafter, the Appeals Council denied review on September 16, 2016, making ALJ Kenyon's non-disability finding the final administrative decision of the Commissioner. PAgeID 70-72. Plaintiff then filed this timely appeal. Cook v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 480 F.3d 432, 435 (6th Cir. 2007) (noting that, “[u]nder the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, [claimant] had 60 days from the Appeals Council's notice of denial in which to file his appeal”). Accordingly, on appeal, this Court reviews just the non-disability finding by ALJ Kenyon (hereafter “ALJ”).

         B. Evidence of Record

         The evidence of record is adequately summarized in the ALJ Kenyon's decision (PageID 82-90), Plaintiff's State of Errors (doc. 16) and the Commissioner's memorandum in opposition (doc. 18). The undersigned incorporates all of the ...


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