United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division
CHRISTOPHER C. PIDGEON, Plaintiff,
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
H. LINDSAY, MAGISTRATE JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.
the Court is the Complaint (DN 1) of Plaintiff, Christopher
C. Pidgeon (“Plaintiff”). In his Complaint,
Plaintiff seeks judicial review of the final decision of the
Commissioner of Social Security (the
“Commissioner”). See 42 U.S.C. § 405(g)
(2012) (“Any individual, after any final decision of
the Commissioner of Social Security . . . may obtain a review
of such decision by a civil action commenced within sixty
days after the mailing to him of notice of such decision . .
. .”). Plaintiff filed a Fact and Law Summary. (DN 11.)
The Commissioner also filed a Fact and Law Summary. (DN 13.)
Parties have consented to the jurisdiction of a magistrate
judge to enter judgment in this case with direct review by
the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in the event an appeal is
filed. (DN 10.) Therefore, this matter is ripe for review.
For the reasons below, the final decision of the Commissioner
filed an application for a period of disability and
disability insurance benefits on January 29, 2014. (R. at
199-202.) On December 1, 2015, Administrate Law Judge Candace
A. McDaniel (the “ALJ”) conducted a hearing on
Plaintiff's application. (Id. at 39-96.) In a
decision dated, February 17, 2016, the ALJ engaged in the
five-step evaluation process promulgated by the Commissioner
to determine whether an individual is disabled. (Id.
at 9-31.) In doing so, the ALJ made these findings:
1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the
Social Security Act through June 30, 2016. (Id. at
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since October 27, 2011, the alleged onset date.
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments:
cerebral trauma, dysfunction of major joints, multiple bone
fractures, degenerative disc disease, obesity, organic mental
disorder, depression, and history of substance abuse.
(Id. at 15)
4. The claimant does 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. (Id.)
5. The claimant has the residual functional capacity to
perform a reduced range of light work as defined in 20 C.F.R.
§ 404.1567(b), but with the following specific
limitations: the claimant can lift and carry 10 pounds
frequently and 20 pounds occasionally and he cannot reach
overhead with his left arm. He can stand and or walk for six
hours in an eight-hour workday; and sit for six hours in an
eight-hour workday; however, the ability to alternate
positions every 30 to 60 minutes where the change would take
no more than one to three minutes without leaving the
workspace should be allowed. The claimant cannot work around
hazards, including unprotected heights or the operation of
exposed moving machinery that cuts or grinds and that fails
to stop when human contact is lost. He can perform no
activities around large bodies of water and cannot climb
ladders, ropes, scaffolds, or stairs. The claimant can
occasionally stoop, crouch, crawl, kneel, and climb ramps.
Additionally, he should have no concentrated exposure to
vibration. Use of his left index finger is limited to
occasional fine manipulation, but gross manipulation can be
performed frequently. The claimant can understand, remember,
and carryout simple oral instructions requiring brief
learning periods; interact appropriately with supervisors and
coworkers for task completion with no interaction with the
public for task completion; maintain attention and
concentration for two-hour segments throughout an eight-hour
workday; and can adapt to routine changes gradually
introduced in this setting. (Id. at 18.)
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work.
(Id. at 29.)
7. The claimant was born on April 21, 1975 and was 36 years
old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on
the alleged disability onset date. (Id.)
8. The claimant has at least a high school education and is
able to communicate in English. (Id.)
9. Transferability of job skills is not material to the
determination of disability because using the
Medical-Vocational Rules as a framework supports a finding
that the claimant is “not disabled, ” whether or
not the claimant has transferrable job skills. (Id.
10. Considering the claimant's age, education, work
experience, and residual functional capacity, there are jobs
that exist in significant No. in the national economy that
the claimant can perform. (Id.)
11. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined
in the Social Security Act from October 17, 2011, through the
date of this decision. (Id. at 31.)
requested an appeal to the Appeals Council, which denied his
request for review on March 15, 2017. (Id. at 1-3.)
At that point, the ALJ's decision became the final
decision of the Commissioner. See 20 C.F.R. §§
404.981, 422.210(a); see also 42 U.S.C. § 405(h)
(discussing finality of the Commissioner's decision).
Pursuant to 20 C.F.R. § 422.210(c), Plaintiff is
presumed to have received that decision five days later on
March 20, 2017. Plaintiff filed this action on June May 11,
2017. (DN 1.)
Social Security Act authorizes payments of disability
insurance benefits to persons with disabilities. See 42
U.S.C. §§ 401 - 434 (2017). Specifically, anyone
who is insured for disability insurance benefits, has not
attained retirement age, has filed an application for
benefits, and is under a disability is entitled to benefits.
42 U.S.C. § 423(a)(1); see also Warner v. Comm'r
of Soc. Sec., 127 F.3d 525, 528 (6th Cir. 1997). An
individual shall be considered “disabled” if he
or she is unable “to engage in any substantial gainful
activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or
mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or
which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous
period of not less than 12 months . . . .” 42 U.S.C.
§ 423(d)(1)(A); see also 20 C.F.R. § 404.1505(a)