United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, London
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER
L. Bunning United States District Judge.
brought this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g)
and 1383(c)(3) to obtain judicial review of an administrative
decision of the Commissioner of Social Security. The Court,
having reviewed the record and for the reasons set forth
herein, will affirm the Commissioner's decision.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
filed an application for Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB)
on January 18, 2013, alleging disability beginning June 20,
2012. (Tr. 109). Plaintiff's application for DIB was
denied on March 14, 2013. Id. Plaintiff appealed,
and his Request for Reconsideration was denied on August 20,
2013. Id. Plaintiff then filed a Request for Hearing
by Administrative Law Judge. Id. On February 26,
2015, Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Roger Lott ruled that
Plaintiff was not entitled to DIB. (Tr. 106). The decision
became final on June 1, 2016, when the Appeals Council denied
review of Plaintiff's claim. (Tr. 1). On July 18, 2016,
Plaintiff filed suit in this Court. (Doc. # 2). The parties
then filed Cross-Motions for Summary Judgment, which are now
ripe for review. (Docs. # 11 & 13).
Overview of the Process
review of the Commissioner's decision is restricted to
determining whether it is supported by substantial evidence
and was made pursuant to proper legal standards. See
Colvin v. Barnhart, 475 F.3d 727, 729 (6th Cir. 2007).
“Substantial evidence” is defined as “more
than a scintilla of evidence but less than a preponderance;
it is such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might
accept as adequate to support a conclusion.” Cutlip
v. Sec'y of Health & Human Servs., 25 F.3d 284,
286 (6th Cir. 1994). Courts are not to conduct a
de novo review, resolve conflicts in the evidence,
or make credibility determinations. Id. Rather, the
Court must affirm the Commissioner's decision if it is
supported by substantial evidence even if the Court might
have decided the case differently, Her v. Comm'r of
Soc. Sec., 203 F.3d 388, 389-90 (6th Cir. 1999), and
even if there is evidence favoring Plaintiff's side,
Listenbee v. Sec'y of Health & Human Servs.,
846 F.2d 345, 349 (6th Cir. 1988). Similarly, an
administrative decision is not subject to reversal merely
because substantial evidence would have supported the
opposite conclusion. Smith v. Chater, 99 F.3d 780,
781-82 (6th Cir. 1996).
determine disability, the ALJ conducts a five-step analysis.
Step One considers whether the claimant can still perform
substantial gainful activity; Step Two, whether any of the
claimant's impairments, alone or in combination, are
“severe”; Step Three, whether the impairments
meet or equal a listing in the Listing of Impairments; Step
Four, whether the claimant can still perform past relevant
work; and Step Five, whether a significant number of other
jobs exist in the national economy that the claimant can
perform. For the last step, the burden of proof shifts from
the claimant to the Commissioner to identify “jobs in
the economy that accommodate [Plaintiff's] residual
functional capacity.” See Jones v. Comm'r of
Soc. Sec., 336 F.3d 469, 474 (6th Cir. 2003); see
also Preslar v. Sec'y of Health & Human Servs.,
14 F.3d 1107, 1110 (6th Cir. 1994).
One, the ALJ found that Plaintiff has not engaged in
substantial gainful activity since June 20, 2012, the alleged
onset date. (Tr. 111). At Step Two, the ALJ determined that
Plaintiff has the following severe impairments: irritable
bowel syndrome (IBS) and ulcerated colitis. Id. At
Step Three, the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff does not have an
impairment or combination of impairments that meets or
medically equals one of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R.
§ 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. (Tr. 115).
Four, the ALJ found that Plaintiff possesses the residual
functional capacity (RFC) to perform light work, as defined
in 20 C.F.R. § 404.1567(b), with the following
[Plaintiff can perform light work that] involve[es] sitting
for 6 hours in an 8hour day, standing/walking for 6 hours in
an 8-hour day, and that does not require climbing ladders,
ropes, and scaffolds, or more than occasional climbing ramps
and stairs, crouching, kneeling, and crawling.
115-18). Based on this RFC and relying on the testimony of a
vocational expert (VE), the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff was
capable of performing her past relevant work as a cashier,
deli worker, and fast food worker. (Tr. 118). As a result,
the ALJ did not proceed to Step Five and concluded that
Plaintiff has not been under a disability, ...