United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, London
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
M. Hood Senior U.S. District Judge
Harold Dean Caldwell 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.
review of the Commissioner's decision is limited to
determining whether it is supported by substantial evidence
and was made pursuant to proper legal standards. 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, we are to
affirm the Commissioner's decision, provided it is
supported by substantial evidence, even if we might have
decided the case differently. See Her v. Comm'r of
Soc. Sec., 203 F.3d 388, 389-90 (6th Cir. 1999).
ALJ, in determining disability, conducts a five-step
analysis. See Jones v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 336
F.3d 469, 474 (6th Cir. 2003). 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. Id.; see
also Preslar v. Sec'y of Health & Human Servs.,
14 F.3d 1107, 1110 (6th Cir. 1994).
January 2014, Plaintiff filed a Title XVI application for
supplemental security income (“SSI”), alleging
disability as of March 1, 2010 (Tr. 318). Plaintiff later
amended his alleged disability date to January 15, 2014, the
date of his current protective filing for SSI (Tr. 149).
Plaintiff's claims were denied initially and on
reconsideration (Tr. 222-223). After a hearing (Tr. 147-178),
an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) reviewed the
evidence of record and denied plaintiff's application
(Tr. 12-33). The ALJ's decision became the final
determination of the Commissioner when the Appeals Council
declined review of it.
of the Facts
was 40 years old when he allegedly became disabled on January
15, 2014 (as amended), and 42 years old as of the
Commissioner's final decision on April 26, 2016 (Tr.
318). Plaintiff has an 11th grade education and past relevant
work as a heating and air conditioning technician, laborer
(machine operator), and loader operator (dump truck driver)
(Tr. 172, 344). In conjunction with his current application,
Plaintiff initially alleged he was unable to work due to
numerous physical impairments, as well as depression (Tr.
Medical records relevant to Plaintiff's alleged
part of the medical evidence in the administrative record
concerns a prior period, which resulted in a previous
ALJ's decision that Plaintiff was not disabled through
October 5, 2012 (Tr. 182-195).
the current administrative proceedings, late February 2014
treatment notes indicate that Plaintiff had sciatica pain
with complaints of numbness in his legs (Tr. 597).
during the current administrative proceedings, in late March
2014, Kathleen M. Monderewicz, M.D. consultatively examined
Plaintiff (Tr. 586-592). Dr. Monderewicz noted
Plaintiff's complaints of a history of chronic lower back
pain dating back to May 1992, which he reported as
interfering with activities such as doing yard work.
Plaintiff also reported problems with shortness of breath but
did not use inhalers, nebulizers, or oxygen; with no
emergency room treatment or hospitalizations for respiratory
problems. Plaintiff also reported a diagnosis of Hepatitis C
in 1999, ...