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Manley v. Berryhill

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Bowling Green Division

April 2, 2018

NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security DEFENDANT


          H. Brent Brennenstuhl United States Magistrate Judge.


         Before the Court is the complaint (DN 1) of Plaintiff Charles M. Manley seeking judicial review of the final decision of the Commissioner pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Both the Plaintiff (DN 13) and Defendant (DN 17) have filed a Fact and Law Summary.

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) and Fed.R.Civ.P. 73, the parties have consented to the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge conducting all further proceedings in this case, including issuance of a memorandum opinion and entry of judgment, with direct review by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in the event an appeal is filed (DN 9). By Order entered August 7, 2017 (DN 10), the parties were notified that oral arguments would not be held unless a written request therefor was filed and granted. No such request was filed.


         Plaintiff filed an application for Disability Insurance Benefits on May 6, 2014 (Tr. 223). Plaintiff alleged that he became disabled on November 15, 2012 as a result of a back injury, neck problems, degenerative disc disease, arthritis in shoulders and legs, and high blood pressure (Tr. 244). Administrative Law Judge Christopher L. Dillon (“ALJ”) conducted a hearing on February 11, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. Plaintiff appeared via video from Bowling green, Kentucky and was represented by attorney Charles Burchett. Also present and testifying was vocational expert Silvio Reyes.

         In a decision dated February 26, 2016, the ALJ evaluated this adult disability claim pursuant to the five-step sequential evaluation process promulgated by the Commissioner (Tr. 35-55). At the first step, the ALJ found Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since November 15, 2012, the alleged onset date (Tr. 40). At the second step, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff has the following impairments that are severe in combination: "a multilevel spine disorder, arthritis to include a bilateral shoulder disorder, hypertension, a sinus disorder, sleep apnea, obesity, a vision disorder, an affective disorder, and an anxiety related disorder" (Tr. 40). At the third step, 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 Appendix 1 (Tr. 41).

         At the fourth step, the ALJ assigned Plaintiff the following residual functional capacity:

The claimant retains the functional capacity for work that involves lifting no more than 10 pounds at a time and occasionally lifting or carrying articles like docket files, ledgers, and small tools; standing and/or walking for a total of no more than 2 hours per work day; sitting for a total of 6 hours; the option every 30 minutes to stand for up to 5 minutes at the workstation before returning to a seated position; no climbing of ropes/ladders/scaffolding; no more than occasional ability to perform all other postural activity; no foot pedal operation; no more than frequent reaching but no reaching above shoulder level; no more than frequent handling and fingering; no exposure to hazards, such as dangerous moving machinery and unprotected heights; no more than occasional exposure to environmental extremes, such as dust, gas, fumes, heat, cold, humidity; work that allows for no outside work activity; no more than frequent interaction with supervisors, coworkers, and the public; and no more than simple, routine tasks.

(Tr. 43-44). Relying on testimony from the vocational expert, the ALJ found that Plaintiff is unable to perform any of his past relevant work (Tr. 48).

         The ALJ proceeded to the fifth step where he considered Plaintiff's residual functional capacity, age, education, and past work experience as well as testimony from the vocational expert (Tr. 49-50). The ALJ found that Plaintiff is capable of performing a significant number of jobs that exist in the national economy (Tr. 50). Therefore, the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff has not been under a “disability, ” as defined in the Social Security Act, from November 15, 2012 through the date of the decision (Tr. 50).

         Plaintiff timely filed a request for the Appeals Council to review the ALJ's decision (Tr. 32). The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review of the ALJ's decision (Tr. 1-7).

         CONCLUSIONS ...

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