United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Bowling Green Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
N. STIVERS, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Objection to
the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation (DN 26).
For the reasons stated below, Plaintiff's Objection is
OVERRULED, the Magistrate Judge's Findings of Fact,
Conclusions of Law, and Recommendation (“R. &
R.”) (DN 23) is ADOPTED, Plaintiff's Motion for
Summary Judgment (DN 17) is DENIED AS MOOT, and
Plaintiff's Complaint (DN 1) is DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
April 2014, Plaintiff Todd Anthony Coppage
(“Plaintiff”) applied for disability insurance
benefits and supplemental security income alleging he had
become disabled on March 27, 2014, as a result of diabetes,
heart disease, and left-eye blindness. (Administrative R.
185, 190, 213, DN 12-1 to DN 12-11 [hereinafter R.]). On May
14, 2014, the Social Security Administration
(“SSA”) notified Plaintiff that his benefits
claims had been denied. (R. at 119-22). Plaintiff requested
reconsideration via case review on July 14, 2014. (R. at
126). On October 14, 2014, the SSA notified Plaintiff that an
independent review by a physician and disability examiner in
the state agency had found the previous denial of benefits to
be proper. (R. at 127-33). Plaintiff requested a hearing
before an Administrative Law Judge on November 19, 2014. (R.
at 141-42). On January 7, 2016, Plaintiff participated in a
video hearing before Administrative Law Judge Bonnie
Kittinger (“ALJ”). (R. at 1-36). The ALJ denied
the claim, reasoning that Plaintiff had not been under a
disability from March 27, 2014, through February 11, 2016,
the date of the decision. (R. at 46-65).
reaching her decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's
application under the five-step sequential evaluation process
promulgated by the Commissioner. (R. at 46-65). First, the
ALJ found that Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial
gainful activity since March 27, 2014, the alleged onset
date. (R. at 51). Second, the ALJ determined that
Plaintiff's “ischemic heart disease; residuals
status post fractures of the right lower extremity, pelvis,
and vertebrae; and obesity” were “severe”
impairments within the meaning of the regulations. (R. at
51). The ALJ also found that Plaintiff's
“osteoarthritis, diabetes mellitus, blindness in the
left eye, gastroesophageal reflux disease, hypertension,
sleep apnea, and status post healed open wound of the right
lower extremity” and depression diagnosis were
“non-severe” impairments within the meaning of
the regulations. (R. at 52). Third, the ALJ determined that
Plaintiff did not have an impairment or combination of
impairments that met or medically equaled one of the listed
impairments in Appendix 1. (R. at 53). Fourth, the ALJ found
Plaintiff has the residual functional capacity to perform a
restricted range of light work, subject to
limitations. (R. at 53- 54). Relying on testimony from
a vocational expert, the ALJ found Plaintiff unable to
perform any of his past relevant work as a factory extruder
operator and maintenance worker. (R. at 58). Fifth, the ALJ
considered Plaintiff's residual functional capacity, age,
education, and past work experience as well as testimony from
the vocational expert. (R. at 58). The ALJ concluded that
Plaintiff was capable of performing a significant No. of jobs
that exist in the national economy, and has not been under a
“disability, ” as defined in the Social Security
Act,  since the filing date of his application.
(R. at 58-59). Plaintiff filed a request for review, which
the Appeals Council denied. (R. at 44-45, 112-18).
Plaintiff's Federal Claim
filed suit in this Court seeking judicial review of the
Commissioner's final decision. (Compl., DN 1). Following
the filing of the administrative record and fact and law
summaries from each party, Magistrate Judge Brennenstuhl
recommended that the final decision of the Commissioner be
affirmed. (R. & R. 1, 10).
objected to Magistrate Judge Brennenstuhl's
recommendation, and the Commissioner responded. (Pl.'s
Obj., DN 26; Def.'s Resp. Pl.'s Obj., DN 27). This
matter is ripe for adjudication.
Court has jurisdiction to examine the record that was before
the Commissioner on the date of the Commissioner's final
decision and to enter judgment affirming, modifying, or
reversing that decision. See 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
courts review the parts of a magistrate judge's R. &
R. to which objections are raised de novo, and, in doing so,
may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the R.
& R. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b). This
differs from the standard applied to the Commissioner's
decision. That decision, rendered by an ALJ, is reviewed to
determine “whether it is supported by substantial
evidence and was made pursuant to proper legal
standards.” Rogers v.Comm'r of
Soc. Sec., 486 F.3d 234, 241 (6th Cir. 2007) (citations
omitted). Substantial 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) (internal quotation marks omitted)
(quoting Consol. Edison Co. v. NLRB,305 U.S. 197,
229 (1938)). Where substantial evidence supports the
ALJ's decision, a court is obliged to affirm.
Siterlet v. Sec'y of Health & Human Servs.,
823 F.2d ...