United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division
DAVID W. NAPIER, PLAINTIFF,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, ACTING COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
R. WILHOIT. JR. UNITED STATE DISTRICT JUDGE.
has brought this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §405(g) to
challenge a final decision of the Defendant denying
Plaintiffs application for disability insurance benefits .
The Court having reviewed the record in this case and the
dispositive motions filed by the parties, and being otherwise
sufficiently advised, for the reasons set forth herein, finds
that the decision of the Administrative Law Judge is
supported by substantial evidence and should be affirmed.
FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
has filed various applications for disability insurance
benefits, alleging disability due to back pain, gout,
arthritis and "nerves" (Tr. 690). Before the Court
is a decision by Administrative Law Judge Roger Reynolds
("ALJ Reynolds") dated November 20, 2012. That
decision was rendered upon remand from Senior District Court
Judge G. Wix Unthank for reconsideration of medical evidence.
On remand, ALJ Reynolds adjudicated the period of February
14, 2006, through March 28, 2008. Notably, this period fell
after the period adjudicated by ALJ Charles Arnold ("ALJ
Arnold"), August 5, 2004, through February 13, 2006 (Tr.
585-92), and before the period adjudicated by ALJ Don Paris
("ALJ Paris"), March 29, 2008, through May 14, 2010
(see Tr. 636 n.4). ALJs Arnold and Paris both found
that Plaintiff was not disabled, and both ALJs' decisions
are final (see Tr. 635-36). Here, on remand, ALJ
Reynolds likewise found that Plaintiff was not disabled (Tr.
635-41). Prior to his decision, ALJ Reynolds convened a
hearing, during which Plaintiff, accompanied by counsel,
testified. At the hearing, Linda Taber, a vocational expert
("VE"), also testified.
hearing, pursuant to 20 C.F.R. § 416.920, the ALJ
performed the following five-step sequential analysis in
order to determine whether the Plaintiff was disabled:
Step 1: If the claimant is performing substantial gainful
work, he is not disabled.
Step 2: If the claimant is not performing substantial gainful
work, his impairments) must be severe before he can be found
to be disabled based upon the requirements in 20 C.F.R.
Step 3: If the claimant is not performing substantial gainful
work and has a severe impairment (or impairments) that has
lasted or is expected to last for a continuous period of at
least twelve months, and his impairments (or impairments)
meets or medically equals a listed impairment contained in
Appendix 1, Subpart P, Regulation No. 4, the claimant is
disabled without further inquiry.
Step 4: If the claimant's impairment (or impairments)
does not prevent him from doing his past relevant work, he is
Step 5: Even if the claimant's impairment or impairments
prevent him from performing his past relevant work, if other
work exists in significant numbers in the national economy
that accommodates his residual functional capacity and
vocational factors, he is not disabled.
was 52 years old in March 2008, the end of the relevant
period of adjudication. He has a 9th grade
education (Tr. 79). His past relevant work experience
consists of work as a bulldozer operator (Tr. 640).
1 of the sequential analysis, the ALJ found that Plaintiff
had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since the
alleged onset date of disability, August 5, 2004, through the
period at issue and, by extension, his date last insured,
September 30, 2009 (Tr. 638).
then determined, at Step 2, that, during the period at issue,
Plaintiff suffered from chronic low back pain secondary to
degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine with
compression fractures of the LI and L3 vertebrae, morbid
obesity and adjustment disorder with depressive features,
which he found to be "severe" within the meaning of
the Regulations (Tr. 638).
3, the ALJ found that Plaintiffs impairments did not meet or
medically equal any of ...