United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
L. BUNNING UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
brought this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) to
obtain judicial review of an administrative decision of the
Commissioner of Social Security. The Court, having reviewed
the record, will affirm the Commissioner's decision, as
it is supported by substantial evidence.
FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
January 28, 2014, Plaintiff Brett Curry filed an application
for supplemental security income (“SSI”),
alleging disability beginning on June 1, 1994. (Tr. 70).
Specifically, Plaintiff alleged that he was limited in his
ability to work due to the following: “ADHD, ”
“ADD, ” “ODD, ” an eating disorder, a
sleeping disorder, depression, and “PDD.” (Tr.
claims were denied initially and on reconsideration. (Tr. 83,
110-15, 124-31). At Plaintiff's request, an
administrative hearing was conducted on April 22, 2016,
before Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Karen R.
Jackson. (Tr. 36-68). On August 29, 2016, ALJ Jackson ruled
that Plaintiff was not entitled to benefits. (Tr. 10-18).
This decision became the final decision of the Commissioner
when the Appeals Council denied review on September 28, 2017.
October 29, 2017, Plaintiff filed the instant action. (Doc. #
1). This matter has culminated in cross-motions for summary
judgment, which are now ripe for the Court's review.
(Docs. # 10 and 12).
Overview of the Process
review of the Commissioner's decision is restricted to
determining whether the decision is supported by substantial
evidence and was made pursuant to proper legal standards.
See Cutlip v. Sec'y of Health & Human
Servs., 25 F.3d 284, 286 (6th Cir. 1994).
“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.”
Id. 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, provided it is
supported by substantial evidence, even if the Court might
have decided the case differently. See Her v. Comm'r
of Soc. Sec., 203 F.3d 388, 389-90 (6th Cir. 1999). If
supported by substantial evidence, the Commissioner's
findings must be affirmed, even if there is evidence favoring
Plaintiff's side. Listenbee v. Sec'y of Health
and 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).
ALJ, in determining disability, conducts a five-step
analysis. Step One considers whether the claimant is still
performing substantial gainful activity; Step Two, whether
any of the claimant's impairments 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 his past
relevant work; and Step Five, whether significant numbers of
other jobs exist in the national economy which the claimant
can perform. As to the last step, the burden of proof shifts
from the claimant to the Commissioner. See Jones v.
Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 336 F.3d 469, 474 (6th Cir.
2003); Preslar v. Sec'y of Health & Human
Servs., 14 F.3d 1107, 1110 (6th Cir. 1994).
The ALJ's Determination
One, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had not engaged in
substantial gainful activity since January 28,
2014. (Tr. 12). At Step Two, the ALJ determined
that Plaintiff had the following severe impairments:
“attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder; history of
schizophrenia; Asperger's disorder; anxiety disorder; and
depressive disorder (20 CFR 416.920(c)).” Id.
At Step Three, while recognizing that Plaintiff had
“severe” impairments, the ALJ concluded that
Plaintiff did not have an impairment or combination of
impairments that “meets or medically equals the
severity of one of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part
404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (416.920(d), 416.925 and
Four, the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff had the residual
functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform “a
full range of work at all exertional levels” with the
non-exertional limitations as follows:
The claimant is able to perform work that requires
object-focused work environment in which contact with
co-workers and supervisors is casual and occasional in a
non-public work setting. He is able to perform work that
requires simple routine work tasks. He is able to perform
work that requires attention and concentration for two-hour
segments during an eight-hour workday. He is able to adapt to
gradual changes in a routine ...