United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division, Dayton
MARK A. SCOTT, Plaintiff,
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.
M. Rose District Judge
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION  THAT: (1)
THE NON-DISABILITY FINDING AT ISSUE 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
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”) and/or Disability Insurance Benefits
(“DIB”). This case is before the Court upon
Plaintiff's Statement of Errors (doc. 10), the
Commissioner's memorandum in opposition (doc. 12),
Plaintiff's reply (doc. 13), the administrative record
(doc. 8), and the record as a whole.
filed for DIB and SSI alleging a disability onset date of
November 12, 2014. PageID 273-85. Plaintiff claims disability
as a result of a number of alleged impairments including,
inter alia, lumbar spine degenerative disc disease,
fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel syndrome, depression, and
anxiety. PageID 55.
an initial denial of his applications, Plaintiff received a
hearing before ALJ Gregory Kenyon on April 11, 2017. PageID
80-118. The ALJ issued a written decision on September 18,
2017 finding Plaintiff not disabled. PageID 53-65.
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 in that exist in significant numbers in
the national economy that [he] can perform[.]” PageID
57-64. The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for
review, making the ALJ's non-disability finding the
Commissioner's final administrative decision. PageID
38-40. 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 summarized in the ALJ's decision
(PageID 56-63), Plaintiff's Statement of Errors (doc.
10), the Commissioner's memorandum in opposition (doc.
12), and Plaintiff's reply (doc. 13). 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