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Davis v. Colvin

United States District Court, D. Maryland

January 27, 2015

JACOB DAVIS, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S ALTERNATIVE MOTION FOR REMAND

THOMAS M. DIGIROLAMO, Magistrate Judge.

Jacob Davis ("Plaintiff") seeks judicial review under 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3) of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security ("Defendant" or the "Commissioner") denying his applications for disability insurance benefits ("DIB") and Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") under Titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act. Before the Court are Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment or Alternative Motion for Remand (ECF No. 13) and Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 19).[1] Plaintiff contends that the administrative record does not contain substantial evidence to support the Commissioner's decision that he is not disabled. No hearing is necessary. L.R. 105.6. For the reasons that follow, Plaintiff's Alternative Motion for Remand (ECF No. 13) is GRANTED.

I

Background

Plaintiff was born in 1985, has a GED, and previously worked as a construction helper. R. at 17, 30-31, 363. Plaintiff applied protectively for DIB and SSI on March 5, 2010, alleging disability beginning on January 1, 2007 (later amended to March 5, 2010), due to Lyme disease, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, back and urinary problems, depression, and anxiety. R. at 28, 100-07, 116, 120. The Commissioner denied Plaintiff's applications initially and again on reconsideration; consequently, Plaintiff requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"). R. at 41-55. On June 19, 2012, ALJ Eugene Bond held a hearing in Washington, D.C., at which Plaintiff and a vocational expert ("VE") testified. R. at 22, 26-40. On August 2, 2012, the ALJ issued a decision finding Plaintiff not disabled from the amended alleged onset date of disability of March 5, 2010, through the date of the decision. R. at 7-19. Plaintiff sought review of this decision by the Appeals Council, which denied Plaintiff's request for review on September 12, 2013. R. at 1-6. The ALJ's decision thus became the final decision of the Commissioner. See 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.981, 416.1481; see also Sims v. Apfel, 530 U.S. 103, 106-07, 120 S.Ct. 2080, 2083 (2000).

On November 13, 2013, Plaintiff filed a complaint in this Court seeking review of the Commissioner's decision. Upon the parties' consent, this case was transferred to a United States Magistrate Judge for final disposition and entry of judgment. The case subsequently was reassigned to the undersigned. The parties have briefed the issues, and the matter is now fully submitted.

II

Summary of Evidence

A. Opinion Evidence

On July 31, 2010, Plaintiff underwent a consultative examination by Deidre Maccannon, M.D. R. at 253-58. Dr. Maccannon noted that Plaintiff reported "functional limitations of sitting, standing and walking for short amounts of time and lifting and carrying 10 pounds occasionally due to back pain and fibromyalgia." R. at 255. Dr. Maccannon further found the following:

No joint swelling, erythema, effusion, tenderness or deformity. [Plaintiff] was able to lift, carry and handle light objects. [Plaintiff] was able to squat and rise from that position with difficulty. [Plaintiff] was able to rise from a sitting position without assistance and had some difficulty getting up and down from the exam table. [Plaintiff] was able to walk on heels and toes with moderate difficulty. Tandem walking was normal and [Plaintiff] could hop on either foot tentatively. [Plaintiff] can dress and undress adequately well and was cooperative, but did not give good effort during the examination. The above limitations are due to subjective reports of pain. Differential between passive and active range of motion makes it difficult to assess effort. Passive range of motion was only approximately 50% in all fields and 100% normal active range of motion in all fields including cervical, elbows, shoulders, wrists, hands, thoracolumbar, hips, knees and ankles/feet.

R. at 257 (emphasis added). Dr. Maccannon thus found that

[Plaintiff] can be expected to sit 30 minutes, stand 20 minutes and walk 15 minutes at a time in an eight hour work day before requiring a break due to subjective back and joint pain. [Plaintiff] does not need an assistive device with regards to short and long distances and uneven terrain. [Plaintiff] can be expected to carry 15 pounds frequently and 20 pounds occasionally due to subjective joint and back pain. There are limitations on bending, stooping, crouching, and so on and [Plaintiff] will be able to perform these occasionally due to subjective undiagnosed right groin pain with crouching and squatting. There are no manipulative limitations on reaching, handling, ...

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