United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION
FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
M. DIGIROLAMO UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
James P. 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 his 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. 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, Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No.
17) is GRANTED, Plaintiff's Motion for
Summary Judgment (ECF No. 16) is DENIED, and
the Commissioner's final decision is
October 13, 2016, Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) Irving A. Pianin held a hearing where
Plaintiff and a vocational expert testified. R. at 34-61. The
ALJ thereafter found on October 20, 2016, that Plaintiff was
not disabled from December 12, 2012, through the date of the
ALJ's decision. R. at 18-33. In so finding, the ALJ
determined that Plaintiff had the residual functional
to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) except
[Plaintiff] requires the option to alternate between sitting
and standing on an occasional basis during the workday.
[Plaintiff] can perform no more than occasional postural
activity, and he cannot kneel or squat. [Plaintiff] requires
work involving no climbing, or exposure to heights or
hazards. He can perform no more than occasional overhead
reaching with the right, dominant arm.
R. at 24. The ALJ found that, although Plaintiff could not
perform his past relevant work as a carpenter, carpentry
supervisor, and construction superintendent, he was capable
of performing other work, such as an officer helper,
information clerk, or cashier. R. at 28-29. Plaintiff thus
was not disabled from December 12, 2012, through October 20,
2016. R. at 29-30. The ALJ further stated:
At the hearing, the undersigned denied the motion to delay to
obtain additional medical records. The undersigned notes that
[Plaintiff's] representatives have been appointed to the
case since December of 2013, providing them with ample time
to obtain any outstanding medical records. Accordingly, the
motion to delay to obtain additional medical evidence is
hereby denied, because there is no basis to support a delay.
R. at 21; see R. at 38-39.
the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for
review, Plaintiff filed a complaint in this Court on August
29, 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 ...