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Boyd v. Commissioner of Social Security

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

January 5, 2018

ALLEN D. BOYD, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

         REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION [1] 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

         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. 17), the Commissioner's memorandum in opposition (doc. 18), Plaintiff's reply (doc. 19), the administrative record (docs. 15), [2] and the record as a whole.

         I.

         A. Procedural History

         Plaintiff filed for SSI on September 11, 2017 (PageID 251) claiming disability as a result of a number of alleged impairments including, inter alia, cervical disc protrusion, arthritis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (“COPD”), and coronary artery disease. PageID 253.

         After an initial denial of his application, Plaintiff received a hearing before ALJ Elizabeth A. Motta on March 21, 2016. PageID 271-304. The ALJ issued a written decision on June 22, 2016 finding Plaintiff not disabled. PageID 251-65. Specifically, the ALJ 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[.]” PageID 255-65.

         The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review, making the ALJ's non-disability finding the final administrative decision of the Commissioner. PageID 185-88. 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).

         B. Evidence of Record

         The evidence of record is adequately summarized in ALJ's decision (PageID 251-65), Plaintiff's Statement of Errors (doc. 17), the Commissioner's memorandum in opposition (doc. 18), and Plaintiff's reply (doc. 19). 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 ...


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