Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Lisa D. v. Berryhill

United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division

December 20, 2018

LISA D., Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.[1]

          MEMORANDUM OPINION GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S ALTERNATIVE MOTION FOR REMAND

          Thomas M. DiGirolamo United States Magistrate Judge.

         Plaintiff Lisa D. 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 and alternative motion for remand (ECF No. 12) and Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 13).[2] 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. 12) is GRANTED.

         I

         Background

         On June 7, 2016, Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Tom Duann held a hearing where Plaintiff and a vocational expert (“VE”) testified. R. at 28-47. The ALJ thereafter found on July 20, 2016, that Plaintiff was disabled from August 12, 2012, through August 12, 2014, but not thereafter. R. at 8-26. In so finding, the ALJ found that, from August 12, 2012, through August 12, 2014, Plaintiff had the residual functional capacity (“RFC”)

to perform sedentary work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(a), except she can engage in no more than occasional ramps and stairs, no ladders, ropes, and scaffolds, occasional stooping, kneeling, and crouching, and no crawling. She must avoid exposure to unprotected heights and hazards, and she requires more than one hour of unscheduled breaks in a typical day due to symptom flare-ups.

R. at 17. Thus, in light of Plaintiff's age, education, work experience, and RFC during this period, the ALJ found that there were no jobs that existed in significant numbers in the national economy that Plaintiff could have performed, so the ALJ found that she was disabled from August 12, 2012, through August 12, 2014. R. at 19. The ALJ found, however, that medical improvement related to the ability to work occurred as of August 13, 2014. R. at 20. Beginning on that date, Plaintiff had the RFC “to perform sedentary work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(a) except she can perform only occasional ramp and stair climbing; no ladder, rope and scaffold climbing; occasional stooping, kneeling, and crouching, no climbing [sic]; and she can tolerate no exposure to unprotected heights and hazards.” R. at 20. The ALJ found that her disability ended on August 13, 2014, because there were jobs existing in significant numbers in the national economy that Plaintiff could perform beginning on that date. R. at 21-22.

         After the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review, Plaintiff filed on August 29, 2017, 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 fully submitted.

         II

         Disability Determinations and Burden of Proof

         The 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).

         To 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).

         First, 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).

         Second, 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 ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.