United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division, Dayton
H. Rice District Judge
AND RECOMMENDATION THAT: (1) THE ALJ'S
NON-DISABILITY FINDING BE FOUND UNSUPPORTED BY SUBSTANTIAL
EVIDENCE, AND REVERSED; (2) THIS MATTER BE REMANDED TO THE
COMMISSIONER UNDER THE FOURTH SENTENCE OF 42 U.S.C. §
405(g) FOR PROCEEDINGS CONSISTENT WITH THIS OPINION; AND (3)
THIS CASE BE CLOSED
Michael J. Newman United States Magistrate Judge
a Social Security disability benefits appeal. At issue is
whether the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”)
erred in finding Plaintiff not “disabled” and
therefore unentitled to Disability Insurance Benefits
(“DIB”) and/or Supplemental Security Income
(“SSI”). This case is before the Court upon
Plaintiff's Statement of Errors (doc. 9), the
Commissioner's memorandum in opposition (doc. 11),
Plaintiff's reply memorandum (doc. 12), the
administrative record (doc. 7),  and the record as a whole.
filed for DIB and SSI alleging a disability onset date of
March 13, 2013. PageID 240-52. Plaintiff claims disability as
a result of a number of impairments including, inter
alia, mild osteoarthritis of the right knee, depression
and an anxiety disorder. PageID 42.
initial denial of her applications, Plaintiff received a
hearing before ALJ Gregory G. Kenyon on September 24, 2015.
PageID 60-97. The ALJ issued a written decision on November
20, 2015 finding Plaintiff not disabled. PageID 40-57.
Specifically, the ALJ found at Step 5 that, based upon
Plaintiff's residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) to perform a reduced range of medium
work,  “there are jobs in that exist in
significant numbers in the national economy that [Plaintiff]
can perform[.]” PageID 51.
the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for
review, making the ALJ's non-disability finding the final
administrative decision of the Commissioner. PageID 30-32.
See Casey v. Sec'y of Health & Human Servs.,
987 F.2d 1230, 1233 (6th Cir. 1993). Plaintiff then filed
this timely appeal. Cook v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec.,
480 F.3d 432, 435 (6th Cir. 2007).
Evidence of Record
evidence of record is adequately summarized in the ALJ's
decision (PageID 40-57), Plaintiff's Statement of Errors
(doc. 9), the Commissioner's memorandum in opposition
(doc. 11), and Plaintiff's reply (doc. 12). The
undersigned incorporates all of the foregoing and sets forth
the facts relevant to this appeal herein.
Standard of Review
Court's inquiry on a Social Security appeal is to
determine (1) whether the ALJ's non-disability finding is
supported by substantial evidence, and (2) whether the ALJ
employed the correct legal criteria. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g);
Bowen v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 478 F.3d 742,
745-46 (6th Cir. 2007). In performing this review, the Court
must consider the record as a whole. Hephner v.
Mathews, 574 F.2d 359, 362 (6th Cir. 1978).
evidence is “such relevant evidence as a reasonable
mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.”
Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971).
When substantial evidence supports the ALJ's denial of
benefits, that finding must be affirmed, even if substantial
evidence also exists in the record upon which the ALJ could
have found Plaintiff disabled. Buxton v. Halter, 246
F.3d 762, 772 (6th Cir. 2001). Thus, the ALJ has a
“‘zone of choice' within which he [or she]
can act without the fear of court interference.”
Id. at 773.
second judicial inquiry -- reviewing the correctness of the
ALJ's legal analysis -- may result in reversal even if
the ALJ's decision is supported by substantial evidence
in the record. Rabbers v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec.,
582 F.3d 647, 651 (6th Cir. 2009). “[A] decision of the
Commissioner will not be upheld where the [Social Security
Administration] fails to follow its own regulations and where