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Rogers v. Commissioner of Social Security Administration

United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division

June 28, 2018

ANGEL D. ROGERS, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

          PATRICIA A. GAUGHAN JUDGE

          REPORT & RECOMMENDATION

          William H. Baughman, Jr. United States Magistrate Judge

         Introduction

         Before me by referral[1] is an action for judicial review of the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security denying the applications of the plaintiff, Angel D. Rogers, for disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income.[2] The Commissioner has answered[3] and filed the transcript of the administrative record.[4] Under my initial[5] and procedural[6] orders, the parties have briefed their positions[7] and filed supplemental charts[8] and the fact sheet.[9] Although oral argument was scheduled, it was continued sua sponte by the Court.[10] Regrettably, the Court's calendar prevented rescheduling the oral argument in advance of issuing this report and recommendation timely.

         Facts

         A. Background facts and decision of the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”)

         Rogers, who was 28 years old at the time of the administrative hearing, [11] did not graduate high school.[12] She is not married, lives with her girlfriend, and has no past relevant work history.[13]

         The Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”), whose decision became the final decision of the Commissioner, found that Rogers had severe impairments consisting of affective dysfunction variously diagnosed to include anxiety, depression, bipolar, panic with agoraphophia, intermittent explosive disorder, and personality disorder.[14] The ALJ made the following finding regarding Rogers's residual functional capacity (“RFC”):

After careful consideration of the entire record, I find that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform a full range of work at all exertional levels but with the following non-exertional limitations: the claimant is limited to simple, routine, repetitive tasks that are not performed at a production rate pace. She is limited to no more than occasional interactions with supervisors, co-workers, and no interaction with the general public, and the claimant can tolerate no more than occasional routine workplace changes.[15]

         Rogers has no past relevant work history.[16]

         Based on an answer to a hypothetical question posed to the vocational expert (“VE”) at the hearing setting forth the RFC finding quoted above, the ALJ determined that a significant number of jobs existed nationally that Rogers could perform.[17] The ALJ, therefore, found Rogers not under a disability.[18]

         B. Issue on judicial review

         Rogers asks for reversal of the Commissioner's decision on the ground that it does not have the support of substantial evidence in the administrative record. Specifically, Rogers presents the following issue for judicial review:

• Whether substantial evidence supports the ALJ's RFC finding where the ALJ did not explain the omission of restrictions opined by the State agency physicians that formed the basis of the RFC.

         The Court recommends that the ALJ's finding of no disability is not supported by substantial evidence and, therefore, must be reversed and remanded for further administrative proceedings.

         Analysis

         A. Applicable legal principles

         1. Substantial evidence

         The Sixth Circuit in Buxton v. Halter reemphasized the standard of review applicable to decisions ...


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