Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Plummer v. Commissioner of Social Security

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

January 5, 2018

LAURA E. PLUMMER, 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, AND AFFIRMED; AND (2) THIS CASE BE CLOSED

          Michael J. Newman, United States Magistrate Judge

         This is 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 Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”). This case is before the Court upon Plaintiff's Statement of Errors (doc. 10), the Commissioner's memorandum in opposition (doc. 11), Plaintiff's reply (doc. 12), the administrative record (docs. 6, 7), [2] and the record as a whole.

         I.

         A. Procedural History

         Plaintiff originally filed an application for SSI in October 2010 alleging disability s a result of a number of alleged impairments including, inter alia, lumbar degenerative disc disease, morbid obesity, depression and anxiety. PageID 1878.

         After an initial denial of her application, Plaintiff received a hearing before ALJ Amelia G. Lombardo who issued a decision on February 6, 2013 finding Plaintiff not disabled. PageID 1854. Specifically, ALJ Lombardo found at Step 5 that, based upon Plaintiff's residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform a reduced range of light work, [3] “there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that [Plaintiff] can perform[.]” Id. Thereafter, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review. Id. On appeal to this Court, Judge Rice reversed ALJ Lombardo's non-disability finding and remanded the case to the Commissioner for additional administrative proceedings. Plummer v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., No. 3:14-cv-215, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130601, at *1 (S.D. Ohio Sept. 28, 2015).

         On remand, Plaintiff received a hearing before ALJ Mark Hockensmith on September 6, 2016. PageID 1780-1814. ALJ Hockensmith issued a decision on November 21, 2016 finding Plaintiff not disabled. PageID 1743-67. In that decision, ALJ Hockensmith -- like ALJ Lombardo -- found at Step 5, based upon Plaintiff's residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform a reduced range of light work, “there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that [Plaintiff] can perform[.]” The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review, making the ALJ Hockensmith's non-disability finding the final administrative decision of the Commissioner. PageID 1740-42. 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). Thus, the court here reviews just the non-disability finding by ALJ Hockensmith (hereafter “ALJ”).

         B. Evidence of Record

         The evidence of record is adequately summarized in the ALJ's decision (PageID 1743-67), Plaintiff's Statement of Errors (doc. 10), the Commissioner's memorandum in opposition (doc. 11), and Plaintiff's reply memorandum (doc. 12). The undersigned incorporates all of the foregoing and sets forth the facts relevant to this appeal herein.

         II.

         A. Standard of Review

         The 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).

         Substantial 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.

         The 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 that error prejudices a claimant on the merits or deprives the claimant of a substantial right.” Bowen, 478 F.3d at 746.

         B. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.