United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division, Dayton
GLEN E. OSBORNE, Plaintiff,
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.
H. Rice, District Judge.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION  THAT: (1)
THE ALJ'S NON-DISABILITY FINDING BE FOUND SUPPORTED BY
SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE AND AFFIRMED; AND (2) THIS CASE BE
CLOSED ON THE COURT'S DOCKET
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 Supplemental Security Income
(“SSI”). This case is before the Court upon
Plaintiff's Statement of Errors (doc. 8), the
Commissioner's memorandum in opposition (doc. 10),
Plaintiff's reply (doc. 11), the administrative record
(docs. 7, 9),  and the record as a whole.
filed an application for SSI on September 9, 2013 (PageID
282-87) alleging disability as a result of a number of
alleged impairments including, inter alia, atrial
fibrillation, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
(“COPD”), bursitis, bipolar disorder, and
anxiety. PageID 1535.
an initial denial of his application, Plaintiff received a
hearing before Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”)
Mark Hockensmith on September 23, 2015. PageID 130-68. The
ALJ issued a decision on November 27, 2015 finding Plaintiff
not disabled. PageID 1533-48. Specifically, the ALJ found at
Step Five that, 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[.]” PageID 1538-48.
the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for
review, making the ALJ's non-disability finding the final
administrative decision of the Commissioner. PageID 86-89.
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 1533-48), Plaintiff's Statement of
Errors (doc. 8), the Commissioner's memorandum in
opposition (doc. 10), and Plaintiff's reply (doc. 11).
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
that error prejudices a claimant on the merits or deprives
the claimant of a substantial right.” Bowen,
478 F.3d at 746.
eligible for disability benefits, a claimant must be under a
“disability” as defined by the Social Security
Act. 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A). Narrowed to its statutory
meaning, a “disability” includes physical and/or
mental impairments that are both “medically
determinable” and severe enough to prevent a claimant
from (1) performing his or her past job and (2) ...