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.

Varner v. Berryhill

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

July 30, 2018

WILLIAM HENRY VARNER, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL[1], Acting COMMISSIONER OF Social Security ADMINISTRATION, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          GEORGE J. LIMBERT UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff William Henry Varner (“Plaintiff”) requests judicial review of the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security Administration (“Defendant”) denying his application for disability insurance benefits (“DIB”). ECF Dkt. #1. In his brief on the merits, filed on July 3, 2017, Plaintiff asserts that the ALJ erred by failing to re-contact a physician for clarification of the bases for the opinion that Plaintiff met a listing. ECF Dkt. #13. Defendant filed a response brief on July 31, 2017. ECF Dkt. #14. Plaintiff filed a reply brief on August 14, 2017. ECF Dkt. #15.

         For the following reasons, the Court AFFIRMS the decision of the ALJ and dismisses the instant case in its entirety with prejudice.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Plaintiff filed an application for DIB on February 23, 2013, alleging a period of disability beginning January 21, 2013. ECF Dkt. #12 (“Tr.”) at 13.[2] The claim was denied initially and upon reconsideration. Id. at 73, 87. Plaintiff then requested a hearing before an ALJ, which was held on August 12, 2015. Id. at 28. On October 2, 2015, the ALJ issued a decision concluding that Plaintiff was not disabled. Id. at 10. Subsequently, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review. Id. at 1. Accordingly, the decision issued by the ALJ on October 2, 2015, stands as the final decision.

         The instant suit was filed by Plaintiff on March 22, 2017. ECF Dkt. #1. Plaintiff filed a brief on the merits on July 3, 2017. ECF Dkt. #13. Defendant filed a response brief on July 31, 2017. ECF Dkt. #14. Plaintiff filed a reply brief on August 14, 2017. ECF Dkt. #15.

         II. SUMMARY OF RELEVANT PORTIONS OF THE ALJ'S DECISION

         On October 2, 2015, the ALJ issued a decision finding that Plaintiff was not disabled. Tr. at 10. The ALJ found that Plaintiff met the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through December 31, 2015. Id. at 15. Continuing, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since January 21, 2013, the alleged onset date. Id. The ALJ found that Plaintiff had the following severe impairments: diabetes mellitus; essential hypertension; and coronary artery disease. Id. Next, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that met or medically equaled the severity of one of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. Id.

         After consideration of the record, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had the residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform light work as defined in 20 C.F.R. § 404.1567(b) with the following additional limitations: never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds; occasionally climb ramps and stairs; occasionally balance; never crawl; frequently handle and finger with the right hand; and avoid extreme heat and cold. Tr. at 16. The ALJ then determined that Plaintiff was unable to perform any past relevant work, was an individual closely approaching advanced age on the alleged disability onset date, had at least a high school education, and was able to communicate in English. Id. at 21. Next, the ALJ stated that transferability of job skills was not material to the determination of disability because the medical-Vocational Rules supported a finding that Plaintiff was not disabled. Id. Considering Plaintiff's age, education, work experience, and RFC, the ALJ determined that jobs existed in significant numbers in the regional and national economy that Plaintiff could perform. Id. at 22. For these reasons, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from January 21, 2013, through the date of the decision. Id.

         III. STEPS TO EVALUATE ENTITLEMENT TO SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS

         An ALJ must proceed through the required sequential steps for evaluating entitlement to social security benefits. These steps are:

1. An individual who is working and engaging in substantial gainful activity will not be found to be “disabled” regardless of medical findings (20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(b) and 416.920(b) (1992));
2. An individual who does not have a “severe impairment” will not be found to be “disabled” (20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(c) and 416.920(c) (1992));
3. If an individual is not working and is suffering from a severe impairment which meets the duration requirement, see 20 C.F.R. ยง 404.1509 and 416.909 (1992), and which meets or is equivalent to a listed impairment in 20 C.F.R. Pt. 404, Subpt. P, App. 1, a finding of disabled will be made without consideration of ...

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.