United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S
ALTERNATIVE MOTION FOR REMAND
M. DiGirolamo United States Magistrate Judge
Latrice Lewis 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 and for Supplemental Security
Income 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.
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.
27, 2016, Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Thomas
Mercer Ray found that Plaintiff was not disabled from
November 4, 2012, through the date of his decision. R. at
16-26. In so finding, the ALJ
considered other factors including [Plaintiff's]
activities of daily living and work history. [Plaintiff]
reported to the State agency that despite her symptoms, she
was able to prepare meals, get her daughter up for school, do
some cleaning, laundry, dishes, ironing, vacuuming, house
repairs, cleaning the restroom, and making the bed, use
public transportation or walk to get around, drive if she had
a car to use; shop in stores, and go to church, grocery
stores, and other stores on a regular basis. At the hearing,
[Plaintiff] also reported that she is able to drive but does
not own a car and is able to help her mother clean and
vacuum. The undersigned finds that these activities further
support [Plaintiff's] ability to perform the work
described in the residual functional capacity.
R. at 22 (citation omitted).
The ALJ then found that Plaintiff had the residual functional
to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) and
416.967(b) except [Plaintiff] can occasionally lift or carry
20 pounds [sic] and frequently lift or carry 20 pounds [sic],
stand or walk for a total of 6 hours in an 8-hour workday,
and sit for a total of 6 hours in an 8-hour workday.
[Plaintiff] can push or pull as much as she can lift or
carry. [Plaintiff] can frequently climb ramps or stairs,
never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds, frequently balance,
occasionally stoop, kneel, and crouch, and never crawl.
[Plaintiff] can have occasional exposure to noise, vibration,
fumes, odors, dusts, gases, and poor ventilation. [Plaintiff]
can have no exposure to hazards such as moving mechanical
parts and unprotected heights. [Plaintiff] cannot operate a
R. at 18-19. The ALJ found that Plaintiff's
“medically determinable impairments could reasonably be
expected to produce the above alleged symptoms; however,
[her] statements concerning the intensity, persistence and
limiting effects of these symptoms are not entirely
consistent with the medical evidence and other evidence in
the record for the reasons explained in this decision.”
R. at 20.
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 then was reassigned to the undersigned.
The parties have briefed the issues, and the matter is now
Determinations and Burden of Proof
Social Security Act defines a disability as the inability to
engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any
medically determinable physical or mental impairment that can
be expected to result in death or that has lasted or can be
expected to last for a continuous period of not less than
twelve months. 42 U.S.C. §§ 423(d)(1)(A),
1382c(a)(3)(A); 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1505, 416.905. A
claimant has a disability when the claimant is “not
only unable to do his previous work but cannot, considering
his age, education, and work experience, engage in any other
kind of substantial gainful work which exists . . . in
significant numbers either in the region where such
individual lives or in several regions of the country.”
42 U.S.C. §§ 423(d)(2)(A), 1382c(a)(3)(B).
determine whether a claimant has a disability within the
meaning of the Social Security Act, the Commissioner follows
a five-step sequential evaluation process outlined in the
regulations. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520, 416.920;
see Barnhart v. Thomas, 540 U.S. 20, 24-25, 124
S.Ct. 376, 379-80 (2003). “If at any step a finding of
disability or nondisability can be made, the [Commissioner]
will not review the claim further.” Thomas,
540 U.S. at 24, 124 S.Ct. at 379; see 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1520(a)(4), 416.920(a)(4). The claimant has
the burden of production and proof ...