United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S
ALTERNATIVE MOTION FOR REMAND
M. DiGirolamo United States Magistrate Judge.
Tawana Clark 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 her applications for
disability insurance benefits (“DIB”) and for
Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) under Titles
II and XVI of the Social Security Act. Before 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. 19). 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, Plaintiff's alternative motion for
remand (ECF No. 16) is GRANTED.
1979, Plaintiff has an eighth-grade education and no past
relevant work. R. at 27, 191. Plaintiff protectively filed
applications for DIB and for SSI on June 13, 2013, alleging
disability beginning on May 18, 2012 (later amended to
February 28, 2014), due to a learning disability,
obsessive-compulsive disorder, and depression. R. at 19, 37,
154-65, 190. The Commissioner denied Plaintiff's
applications initially and again on reconsideration, so
Plaintiff requested a hearing before an Administrative Law
Judge (“ALJ”). R. at 59-115. On July 26, 2016,
ALJ Edward L. Brady held a hearing where Plaintiff and a
vocational expert (“VE”) testified. R. at 34-58.
On August 9, 2016, the ALJ issued a decision finding
Plaintiff not disabled from May 18, 2012, through the date of
the decision. R. at 16-33. Plaintiff sought review of this
decision by the Appeals Council, which denied Plaintiff's
request for review on June 5, 2017. R. at 1-6, 130-31, 244.
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).
August 8, 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 then was reassigned to the undersigned.
The parties have briefed the issues, and the matter is now
Summary of Evidence
reviewed Plaintiff's testimony in his decision:
[Plaintiff] reported she experienced mood swings and a lack
of energy. She also alleged memory loss and difficulty with
concentration deficits. She reported that she often
experienced mood swings, crying spells and anxiety. She also
indicated that she experienced paranoid feelings and
sometimes [thought] that people were trying to hurt her,
which is why she was separated from her husband. She also
alleged a history of self-mutilation[.]
R. at 25; see R. at 40-53, 196-203, 211-24, 251.
testified that a hypothetical individual with the same age,
education, and work experience as Plaintiff and with the
residual functional capacity (“RFC”) outlined
below in Part III could perform the unskilled jobs of
industrial cleaner, production helper, or bakery
worker.R. at 54-55. Being off task more than 15%
of a day would preclude all work, however. R. at 55-56.
According to the VE, his testimony was consistent with the
Dictionary of Occupational Titles. R. at 56.
Summary of ALJ's Decision
August 9, 2016, the ALJ found that Plaintiff (1) had not
engaged in substantial gainful activity since May 18, 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) had no past
relevant work; but (5) could perform other work in the
national economy, such as an industrial cleaner, ...