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Jones v. Berryhill

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, London

June 17, 2019

MELVIN DEWAYNE JONES, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security Defendant.

          ORDER AFFIRMING COMMISSIONER'S DECISION

          CLARIA HORN BOOM, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on cross-motions for summary judgment. [R. 14-1; R. 16]. The Plaintiff, Melvin Jones, brought this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) to obtain judicial review of an administrative decision denying his claim for Disability & Disability Insurance Benefits. The Court, having reviewed the record, will affirm the Commissioner's decision.

         BACKGROUND

         An Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) denied Jones's claim [Administrative Record (“AR”) at 38], as did the Appeals Council. [AR at 9] Jones now petitions this Court to review the decision of the Appeals Council. This Court's 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.” Rabbers v. Comm'r Soc. Sec., 582 F.3d 647, 651 (6th Cir. 2009).

         In denying Jones's claim, the ALJ engaged in the five-step sequential process set forth in the regulations under the Social Security Act (the “Act”). 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(a)-(e). See, e.g., Walters v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 127 F.3d 525, 529 (6th Cir. 1997).

         At step one, the ALJ determined that Jones had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since April 25, 2016. [AR at 32]

         At step two, the ALJ determined that Jones suffered from the severe impairments of degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine, osteoarthritis of the left knee, and obesity. [AR at 32]

         At step three, the ALJ found that Jones does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of one of the listed impairments. [AR at 32-33]

         Before proceeding to step four, the ALJ determined that Jones has the residual functional capacity (RFC) to perform less than the full range of light work, except he can frequently push and pull bilaterally with the lower extremities; can occasionally climb ramps and stairs; can occasionally climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds; can occasionally stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl; can occasionally reach overhead bilaterally; can occasionally be exposed to vibration; and can occasionally be exposed to unprotected heights or dangerous moving machinery. [AR at 33-36]

         At step four, the ALJ determined that Jones has past relevant work as an auto mechanic, but he is unable to perform his past relevant work as actually or generally performed due to his current RFC. [AR at 36-37]

         At step five, the ALJ determined that, considering the RFC described above and Jones's age, and work experience, there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that Jones can perform and, thus, he is not disabled. [AR at 37-38]

         The Appeals Council concurred with the above findings of the ALJ. [AR at 8]

         ANALYSIS

         Jones raises three objections to the Appeals Council's decision. He first argues that the Appeals Council erred in failing to remand the case back to the ALJ for a new consultative examination after finding that the consultative examiner did not qualify as an acceptable medical source. [R. 14-1 at p. 6] Second, Jones contends that the Appeals Council failed to properly evaluate his subjective complaints of pain. Id. at 8. Finally, Jones ...


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