United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S
ALTERNATIVE MOTION FOR REMAND
M. DiGirolamo United States Magistrate Judge
Corey Roberson seeks judicial review under 42 U.S.C. §
405(g) of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social
Security (“Defendant” or the
“Commissioner”) denying his application for
disability insurance benefits (“DIB”) under Title
II of the Social Security Act. Before the Court are
Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment and alternative
motion for remand (ECF No. 15) and Defendant's Motion for
Summary Judgment (ECF No. 16). 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. 15) is GRANTED.
was born in 1972, has a GED, and previously worked as a sewer
service worker. R. at 25-27. Plaintiff filed an application
for DIB on November 8, 2011, alleging disability beginning on
March 18, 2011, due to a heart attack and irregular
heartbeat. R. at 10, 198-99, 237. The Commissioner denied
Plaintiff's application initially and again on
reconsideration, so Plaintiff requested a hearing before an
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”). R. at 81-102,
105-12, 115-16. On April 11, 2014, ALJ Larry K. Banks held a
hearing in Washington, D.C., at which Plaintiff and a
vocational expert (“VE”) testified. R. at 22-55.
At the hearing, Plaintiff amended his alleged onset date of
disability to September 1, 2012. R. at 28, 223-25. On June 9,
2014, the ALJ issued a decision finding Plaintiff not
disabled from the amended alleged onset date of disability of
September 1, 2012, through the date of the decision. R. at
7-21. Plaintiff sought review of this decision by the Appeals
Council, which denied Plaintiff's request for review on
August 7, 2015. R. at 1-6, 296. The ALJ's decision thus
became the final decision of the Commissioner. See
20 C.F.R. § 404.981; see also Sims v. Apfel,
530 U.S. 103, 106-07, 120 S.Ct. 2080, 2083 (2000).
October 8, 2015, 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.
Summary of Evidence
State Agency Medical Consultants
March 7, 2012, a state agency consultant, L. Robbins, M.D.,
assessed Plaintiff's physical residual functional
capacity (“RFC”). R. at 85-86. Dr. Robbins opined
that Plaintiff could (1) lift and/or carry twenty pounds
occasionally and ten pounds frequently; (2) stand and/or walk
for a total of about six hours in an eight-hour workday; (3)
sit for about six hours in an eight-hour workday; and (4)
perform unlimited pushing and/or pulling. R. at 85-86.
Plaintiff occasionally could climb, balance, stoop, kneel,
crouch, and crawl, but he had no manipulative, visual,
communicative, or environmental limitations. R. at 86.
12, 2012, another state agency consultant, S.K. Najar, M.D.,
expressed the same opinion about Plaintiff's exertional,
postural, manipulative, visual, and communicative
limitations. R. at 94-96. Dr. Najar opined, however, that
Plaintiff was to avoid concentrated exposure to extreme cold.
R. at 96.
reviewed Plaintiff's testimony in his decision:
[Plaintiff] alleges disabling limitations due to a heart
attack and irregular heart beat [R. at 236-43.] He testified
that he stopped working due to a heart attack. He reported
having his first heart attack in March 2011 [R. at 25-52.] He
reported no prior history of heart disease (Id.). He
also had exploratory gallbladder surgery (Id.). He
returned to work for approximately one month in 2012, but he
had a second heart attack in June 2012, followed by a cardiac
catheterization. He reported a third heart attack in August
2013, followed by additional cardiac catheterizations
(Id.). [Plaintiff] reports continued chest pain
(Id.). He takes nitroglycerine (Id.).
R. at 13.