United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION
FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
M. DiGirolamo United States Magistrate Judge
Cheryl Glover 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 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. 16). 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. 16) is GRANTED,
Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 13) is
DENIED, and the Commissioner's final
decision is AFFIRMED.
February 10, 2016, Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) Andrew M. Emerson found that Plaintiff
was not disabled from July 13, 2012, through the date last
insured of December 31, 2015. R. at 12-32. In so finding, the
ALJ found that, through the date last insured, Plaintiff had
several severe impairments. R. at 17. The ALJ found, however,
that Plaintiff's “medically determinable mental
impairments of an acute reaction to stress, depression and
anxiety disorder, considered singly and in combination, did
not cause more than minimal limitation in [her] ability to
perform basic mental work activities through December 2015
and were therefore non-severe.” R. at 19. In finding
that Plaintiff's mental impairments were not severe, the
ALJ noted that “no treating or examining mental health
professional opined that [she] had any work-related
limitations from a mental health impairment.” R. at 21.
determining that Plaintiff's impairments did not meet or
medically an impairment listed in 20 C.F.R. pt. 404, subpt.
P, app. 1, the ALJ determined that, through the date last
insured, Plaintiff had the residual functional capacity
to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) except
she could occasionally balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, crawl
and climb ramps and stairs but could not climb ladders, ropes
or scaffolds, had to avoid concentrated exposure to extreme
cold, extreme heat, excessive vibration, and hazardous moving
machinery and unprotected heights.
R. at 21-22.
noted Plaintiff's testimony that “she experiences
anxiety and has dark days on which she cannot function
although she also testified that she experiences such days
only once a month.” R. at 22. The ALJ found, however,
that Plaintiff's “activities of daily living during
the period at issue were also inconsistent with an individual
who was experiencing disabling symptoms.” R. at 25. The
ALJ found that Plaintiff's “medically determinable
impairments could reasonably be expected to produce the
alleged symptoms but the statements concerning the intensity,
duration and limiting effects of [Plaintiff's] symptoms
are not entirely credible and are inconsistent with the
totality of the evidence.” R. at 27. The ALJ ultimately
found that, through the date last insured, Plaintiff was
capable of performing her past relevant work as a
secretary/administrative assistant, leasing agent, community
manager, and compliance liaison. R. at 27.
the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for
review, Plaintiff filed a complaint in this Court on August
2, 2017, 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 fully submitted.
Disability Determinations and Burden of
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 at steps one through four.
See Bowen v. Yuckert, 482 U.S. 137, 146 n.5, 107
S.Ct. 2287, 2294 n.5 (1987); Radford v. Colvin, 734
F.3d 288, 291 (4th Cir. 2013).
the Commissioner will consider a claimant's work
activity. If the claimant is engaged in substantial gainful
activity, then the claimant is not disabled. 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1520(a)(4)(i), 416.920(a)(4)(i).
if the claimant is not engaged in substantial gainful
activity, the Commissioner looks to see whether the claimant
has a “severe” impairment, i.e., an impairment or
combination of impairments that significantly limits the
claimant's physical or mental ability to do basic work
activities. Pass v. Chater, 65 F.3d 1200, 1203 ...