United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
BRENT BRENNENSTUHL UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUGDE.
the Court is the complaint (DN 1) of Daniel Steven Claymon
(“Plaintiff”) seeking judicial review of the
final decision of the Commissioner pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g). Both the Plaintiff (DN 20) and Defendant (DN
26) have filed a Fact and Law Summary. For the reasons that
follow, the final decision of the Commissioner is
AFFIRMED, and judgment is
GRANTED for the Commissioner.
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 17). By Order
entered July 17, 2018 (DN 18), 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.
protectively filed an application for Disability Insurance
Benefits on November 4, 2014 (Tr. 16, 163-69). Plaintiff
alleged that he became disabled on November 20, 2012, because
of a heart problem and degenerative disc disease (Tr. 16,
182). Administrative Law Judge Gloria B. York (AALJ”)
conducted a video hearing from Lexington, Kentucky on March
2, 2017 (Tr. 16, 37-39). Plaintiff and her attorney, Ross
“hern, participated from Louisville, Kentucky
(Id.). Christopher Rymond, an impartial vocational
expert, also testified during the hearing (Id.).
decision dated May 23, 2017, the ALJ evaluated this adult
disability claim pursuant to the five-step sequential
evaluation process promulgated by the Commissioner (Tr.
16-30). At the first step, the ALJ found Plaintiff has not
engaged in substantial gainful activity since November 20,
2012, the alleged onset date (Tr. 19). At the second step,
the ALJ determined that Plaintiff has the following severe
impairments: a history of cardiomyopathy with Class II
congestive heart failure status post pacemaker placement;
neck and low back pain with degenerative disc disease; and a
mild cognitive disorder (Id.). Additionally, the ALJ
concluded that Plaintiff's history of hernia repair times
two, purported seizure disorder, and alcohol use disorder are
“non-severe” impairments (Tr. 19-20). 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
fourth step, the ALJ found Plaintiff has the residual
functional capacity (RFC) to perform a limited range of light
work as defined in 20 C.F.R. § 404.1567(b) because he
can lift and carry twenty pounds occasionally and ten pounds
frequently; stand and walk six hours out of and eight-hour
day; sit six hours out of an eight-hour day; and is limited
to routine, repetitive tasks which require only occasional
interaction with supervisors and coworkers and no interaction
with the general public in a job which is not fast paced (Tr.
22). Relying on testimony from the vocational expert, the ALJ
found that Plaintiff is unable to perform any of his past
relevant work (Tr. 28).
proceeded to the fifth step where he considered
Plaintiff's RFC, age, education, and past work experience
as well as testimony from the vocational expert (Tr. 28-29).
The ALJ found that Plaintiff can perform a significant number
of jobs that exist in the national economy (Id.).
Therefore, the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff has not been
under a “disability, ” as defined in the Social
Security Act, from November 20, 2012 through the date of the
decision (Tr. 30).
timely filed a request for the Appeals Council to review the
ALJ's decision (Tr. 161-62). The Appeals Council denied
Plaintiff's request for review (Tr. 1-4).
by the Court is limited to determining whether the findings
set forth in the final decision of the Commissioner are
supported by “substantial evidence, ” 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g); Cotton v. Sullivan, 2 F.3d 692, 695
(6th Cir. 1993); Wyatt v. Sec'y of Health & Human
Servs., 974 F.2d 680, 683 (6th Cir. 1992), and whether
the correct legal standards were applied. Landsaw v.
Sec'y of Health & Human Servs., 803 F.2d 211,
213 (6th Cir. 1986). “Substantial evidence exists when
a reasonable mind could accept the evidence as adequate to
support the challenged conclusion, even if that evidence
could support a decision the other way.”
Cotton, 2 F.3d at 695 (quoting Casey v.
Sec'y of Health & Human Servs., 987 F.2d 1230,
1233 (6th Cir. 1993)). In reviewing a case for substantial
evidence, the Court “may not try the case de
novo, nor resolve conflicts in evidence, nor decide
questions of credibility.' Cohen v. Sec'y of
Health & Human Servs., 964 F.2d 524, 528 (6th Cir.
1992) (quoting Garner v. Heckler, 745 F.2d 383, 387
(6th Cir. 1984)).
previously mentioned, the Appeals Council denied
Plaintiff's request for review of the ALJ's decision
(Tr. 1-4). At that point, the ALJ's decision became the
final decision of the Commissioner. 20 C.F.R. §§
404.955(b), 404.981, 422.210(a); see 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(h) (finality of the Commissioner's decision).
Thus, the Court will be reviewing the decision of the ALJ,
not the Appeals Council, and the evidence that was in the
administrative record when the ALJ rendered the decision. 42
U.S.C. § 405(g); 20 ...