United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division
H. Rice Magistrate 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
April 1, 2013. PageID 278. Plaintiff claims disability as a
result of a number of impairments including, inter
alia, alcoholic hepatitis, hepatitis C, chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease (“COPD”), and
depression. PageID 68.
initial denial of her applications, Plaintiff received a
hearing before ALJ Gregory G. Kenyon on December 18, 2015.
PageID 212. On February 25, 2016 ALJ Kenyon issued a written
decision finding Plaintiff not disabled. PageID 66-75.
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[.]”
after, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for
review, making the ALJ's non-disability finding the final
administrative decision of the Commissioner. PageID 52. 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 66-75), 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