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.

Berry v. Commissioner of Social Security

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

June 21, 2018

LEWIS C. BERRY, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

          DECISION AND ENTRY: (1) AFFIRMING THE ALJ'S NON-DISABILITY FINDING AS SUPPORTED BY SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE; AND (2) TERMINATING THIS CASE ON THE COURT'S DOCKET

          Michael J. Newman, United States Magistrate Judge

         This Social Security disability benefits appeal is before the undersigned for disposition based upon the parties' consent. Doc. 14. 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”).[1] This case is before the Court on Plaintiff's Statement of Errors (doc. 9), the Commissioner's memorandum in opposition (doc. 10), Plaintiff's reply (doc. 11), the administrative record (doc. 6), [2] and the record as a whole.

         I.

         A. Procedural History

         Plaintiff filed an application for DIB and SSI alleging a disability onset date of October 1, 2006. PageID 350-64. Plaintiff claims disability as a result of a number of alleged impairments including, inter alia, residuals of a gunshot wound to the left shoulder and thigh, posttraumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”), and depression. PageID 69.

         After an initial denial of his applications, Plaintiff received a hearing before ALJ Emily R. Statum on June 12, 2014. PageID 118-36. ALJ Statum issued a decision on September 8, 2014 finding Plaintiff not disabled. PageID 186-202. Specifically, the ALJ found at Step Five that, based upon Plaintiff's residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform a full range of work at all exertional levels[3] subject to specific non-exertional limitations, “there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that [Plaintiff] can perform[.]” PageID 195-203.

         Thereafter, Plaintiff appealed the decision of ALJ Statum. The Appeals Council granted Plaintiff's request for review, vacating ALJ Statum's non-disability finding, and remanding the case to the ALJ for further proceedings. PageID 209-13.

         On remand, Plaintiff received a hearing before ALJ Mark Hockensmith on February 3, 2016. PageID 87-117. ALJ Hockensmith issued a decision on February 26, 2016 finding Plaintiff not disabled. PageID 67-78. Specifically, ALJ Hockensmith found at Step Five that, based upon Plaintiff's residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform a full range of work at all exertional levels subject to specific non-exertional limitations, “there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that [Plaintiff] can perform[.]” PageID 71-78.

         Thereafter, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review, making ALJ Hockensmith's non-disability finding the final administrative decision of the Commissioner. PageID 46-49. See Casey v. Sec'y of Health & Human Servs., 987 F.2d 1230, 1233 (6th Cir. 1993). Plaintiff then filed this timely appeal challenging the non-disability finding of ALJ Hockensmith (hereafter, “ALJ”). 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 the ALJ's decision (PageID 67-78), Plaintiff's Statement of Errors (doc. 9), 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.

         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 ...


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.