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McGhee v. Commissioner of Social Security

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

June 19, 2019

WILLIAM L. McGHEE, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

          Walter H. Rice District Judge

         REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION[1] 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 AN IMMEDIATE AWARD OF BENEFITS; AND (3) THIS CASE BE CLOSED

          Michael J. Newman Magistrate Judge

         This is 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 on Plaintiff's Statement of Errors (doc. 8), the Commissioner's memorandum in opposition (doc. 12), Plaintiff's reply (doc. 13), the administrative record (doc. 5), [2] and the record as a whole.

         I.

         A. Procedural History

         Plaintiff filed for SSI on September 23, 2008 claiming disability as a result of a number of alleged impairments including, inter alia, sciatica, bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome, major depressive disorder, and an antisocial personality disorder. PageID 608.

         After an initial denial of his application, Plaintiff received a hearing before ALJ Roy J. Richardson on September 27, 2010. PageID 55-62. The ALJ issued a written decision on October 27, 2010 finding Plaintiff not disabled. PageID 52-62. ALJ Richardson's opinion was ultimately remanded by this Court on November 20, 2013 for further proceedings. McGhee v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., No. 3:12-cv-320, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 165150 (S.D. Ohio Nov. 20, 2013).

         On remand, Plaintiff received a second administrative hearing before ALJ Elizabeth A. Motta on October 29, 2014. PageID 752. ALJ Motta issued a written decision on May 15, 2015 again finding Plaintiff not disabled. PageID 771. Upon Plaintiff's request for review, the Appeals Council vacated ALJ Motta's non-disability decision and remanded his claim for further assessment of a consulting physician's medical opinion. PageID 781-83.

         For a third time, on April 12, 2017, Plaintiff received an administrative hearing -- before ALJ Mark Hockensmith -- who issued a written opinion on July 20, 2017 also finding Plaintiff not disabled. Specifically, ALJ Hockensmith found at Step Five that, based upon Plaintiff's residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform a reduced range of light work, [3] “there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that [Plaintiff] can perform[.]” PageID 43-50.

         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 29-31. 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). This July 20, 2017 non-disability finding by ALJ Hockensmith (hereinafter “ALJ”) is now before the court for review.

         B. Evidence of Record

         The evidence of record is adequately summarized in the ALJ's decision (PageID 608-27), Plaintiff's Statement of Errors (doc. 8), 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.

         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 ...


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