United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION
FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
M. DiGIROLAMO UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Susan Washington 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 her application for
disability insurance benefits (“DIB”) under Title
II of the Social Security Act. Before the Court are
Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 13) and
Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No.
Plaintiff contends that the administrative record does not
contain substantial evidence to support the
Commissioner's decision that she is not disabled. No
hearing is necessary. L.R. 105.6. For the reasons that
follow, Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No.
14) is GRANTED, Plaintiff's Motion for
Summary Judgment (ECF No. 13) is DENIED, and
the Commissioner's final decision is
was born in 1959, has a college education, and previously
worked as a special-education teacher. R. at 22, 38.
Plaintiff protectively filed an application for DIB on May
26, 2012, alleging disability beginning on November 30, 2009
(later amended to February 1, 2012), due to plantar
fasciitis, and Morton's neuroma of the left foot. R. at
15, 138-44, 174, 196. The Commissioner denied Plaintiff's
application initially and again on reconsideration, so
Plaintiff requested a hearing before an Administrative Law
Judge (“ALJ”). R. at 70-92, 97-101. On August 27,
2014, ALJ Thomas Mercer Ray held a hearing at which Plaintiff
and a vocational expert (“VE”) testified. R. at
30-57. On January 16, 2015, the ALJ issued a decision finding
Plaintiff not disabled from the amended alleged onset date of
disability of February 1, 2012, through the date of the
decision. R. at 10-29. Plaintiff sought review of this
decision by the Appeals Council, which denied Plaintiff's
request for review on May 6, 2016. R. at 1-9, 236. 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).
29, 2016, Plaintiff filed a complaint in this Court seeking
review of the Commissioner's decision. After the parties
consented, this case was transferred to a United States
Magistrate Judge for final disposition and entry of judgment.
The case then was reassigned to the undersigned. The parties
have briefed the issues, and the matter is now fully
of ALJ's Decision
January 16, 2015, the ALJ found that Plaintiff (1) had not
engaged in substantial gainful activity since the amended
alleged onset date of disability of February 1, 2012; and (2)
had an impairment or a combination of impairments considered
to be “severe” on the basis of the requirements
in the Code of Federal Regulations; but (3) did not have an
impairment or a combination of impairments meeting or
equaling one of the impairments set forth in 20 C.F.R. pt.
404, subpt. P, app. 1; and (4) was able to perform her past
relevant work as a special-education teacher; and (5) could
perform other work in the national economy, such as an office
helper, cashier, or router. R. at 18-23. The ALJ thus found
that she was not disabled from February 1, 2012, through the
date of the decision. R. at 23.
finding, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had the residual
functional capacity (“RFC”)
to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b),
including the ability to occasionally lift and/or carry 20
pounds; frequently lift and/or carry 10 pounds; stand and/or
walk for 6 hours in [an] 8-hour workday; sit for 6 hours in
an 8-hour workday; push and/or pull as much as lift and/or
carry, including the use of hand and/or foot controls as much
as she can lift and/or carry, however may only occasionally
use foot controls; no limitation on climbing ramps and
stairs; can never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds;
occasionally balance; unlimited as to stooping, kneeling,
crouching, and crawling.
R. at 19.