United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S
ALTERNATIVE MOTION FOR REMAND
M. DiGirolamo, United States Magistrate Judge
Carson Tracy Jupiter 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 for
Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) under Titles
II and XVI of the Social Security Act.
the Court are Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment and
alternative motion for remand (ECF No. 16) 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 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. 16) is GRANTED.
was born in 1967, has a high-school education, and previously
worked as a warehouse laborer and forklift driver. R. at
29-30. Plaintiff protectively filed an application for DIB on
April 23, 2013, and for SSI on March 27, 2013, alleging
disability beginning on June 30, 2012, due to a pinched nerve
and dislocated disc. R. at 23, 211. The Commissioner denied
Plaintiff's applications initially and again on
reconsideration, so Plaintiff requested a hearing before an
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”). R. at 70-111,
114-27. On May 22, 2015, ALJ Thomas Mercer Ray held a hearing
in Washington, D.C., at which Plaintiff and a vocational
expert (“VE”) testified. R. at 37-68. On August
6, 2015, the ALJ issued a decision finding Plaintiff not
disabled from the alleged onset date of disability of June
30, 2012, through the date of the decision. R. at 20-36.
Plaintiff sought review of this decision by the Appeals
Council, which denied Plaintiff's request for review on
December 14, 2016. R. at 1-7, 15-19. 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).
February 17, 2017, 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
reviewed Plaintiff's testimony in his decision:
[Plaintiff's] symptoms include pain, weakness, and
difficulty concentrating as a result of his pain. He alleged
in a pain questionnaire and two function reports that these
symptoms have impacted his activities of daily living and
ability to maintain gainful employment. [Plaintiff] testified
that he stopped working because of his health issues, which
required him to frequently miss work. He stated that the side
effects of his medications further affect his ability to work
as they cause dizziness. He further stated that because of
his pain, he must constantly change positions from sitting,
to standing, to lying down. He testified that he can walk a
[sic] two or three block [sic] before having to rest, stand
for 20 to 25 minutes before having to sit down, lift 20 to 25
pounds, and must lie down for six hours out of the day. He
noted that surgery has been recommended, but he is unsure if
the procedure will help him. Finally, he stated that he
sometimes needs a short cane to help him ambulate and he does
very little around the house.
R. at 27-28 (citation omitted); see R. at 47-60,
testified that a hypothetical individual with Plaintiff's
same age, education, and work experience with the residual
functional capacity (“RFC”) outlined below in
Part III could not perform Plaintiff's past relevant work
but could perform the unskilled, light jobs of grading and
sorting worker, inspector, or bench worker. R. at 63-64. No
unskilled work would be available to someone who would need
to be absent from work two days per month on an unscheduled
basis. R. at 65. No unskilled work would be available to a
person productive only 80% of the time in an eight-hour
workday. R. at 66. According to the VE, his testimony did not
conflict with the Dictionary of Occupational
Titles. R. at 67.
Summary of ...