United States District Court, D. Maryland
DAVID COPPERTHITE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
before this Court is Plaintiff Christopher Paul Hepding's
"Motion to Reconsider" ("Plaintiffs
Motion") (ECF No. 22), seeking reconsideration of the
Court's Memorandum Opinion dated November 26. 2018. which
granted summary judgment in favor of Defendant, the Social
Security Administration. ECF No. 22 at 1. Plaintiff asks the
Court to reconsider its decision to grant Defendant's
summary judgment motion, asserting that the AIJ failed to
comply with the decision in Mascio v. Colvin, 780
F.3d 632 (4th Cir. 2015), and improperly evaluated Plaintiffs
impairments during step three of the sequential evaluation.
Id. at 2, 12. After consideration of Plaintiffs
Motion and the response thereto (ECF No. 23), the Court finds
that no hearing is necessary. See Loc.R. 105.6
(D.Md. 2018). For the reasons set forth herein. Plaintiffs
Motion is GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART.
December 14, 2017, Plaintiff petitioned this Court to review
the SSA's denial of his disability application. ECF No.
1. On August 7, 2018, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Summary
Judgment, in which he raised two allegations of error on
appeal: (1) that the ALJ improperly accounted for Plaintiffs
moderate difficulties in concentration, persistence, or pace
in violation of Mascio; and (2) that the ALJ failed
to properly evaluate Plaintiffs spinal impairments during
step three of the sequential evaluation. ECF Nos. 17, 17-1.
Defendant filed its Motion for Summary Judgment on September
19, 2018, ECF No. 18, and Plaintiff opposed this motion on
October 22, 2018, ECF No. 19. Upon reviewing the motions and
the response thereto, the Court denied Plaintiffs Motion for
Summary Judgment, granted Defendant's Motion for Summary
Judgment, and affirmed the SSA's decision pursuant to
sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). ECF No. 20 at 16;
ECF No. 21.
Plaintiff filed Plaintiffs Motion on November 28, 2018, ECF
No. 22, and Defendant filed its opposition on December 12,
2018, ECF No. 23. This matter is now fully briefed and the
Court has reviewed Plaintiffs Motion as well as the response
thereto. For the following reasons. Plaintiffs Motion will be
granted in part and denied in part.
Standard of Review
cites Local Rule 105.10 as authority for his motion to
reconsider. This rule states: "Except as otherwise
provided in Fed.R.Civ.P. 50, 52, 59, or 60, any motion to
reconsider any order issued by the Court shall be filed with
the Clerk not later than fourteen (14) days after entry of
the order." Loc.R. 105.10 (D.Md. 2018). "Under
[this] rule, similar to the standard for relief under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e), '[a] motion for reconsideration is
appropriate [ 1 ] to "correct manifest errors of law or
fact or  to present newly discovered evidence," or
 where there has been an intervening change in controlling
law.'" Crocetti v. Comm'r. Soc.
Sec. Admin., No. SAG-17-1122, 2018 WL 3973074, at *1
(D.Md. Aug. 1, 2018) (quoting Palter v. Potter.
199F.R.D. 550, 552 n.l (D.Md. 2001)).
Plaintiffs Motion to Reconsider
motion, Plaintiff contends that the Court erred in affirming
the SSA's decision because the ALJ improperly accounted
for Plaintiffs moderate difficulties in concentration,
persistence, or pace contrary to Mascio and
improperly evaluated Plaintiffs spinal impairments contrary
to Radford v. Colvin, 734 F.3d 288 (4th Cir. 2013).
ECF No. 22 at 2, 12. The Court will address each allegation
of error below.
1. T he
ALTs RFC Determination Improperly Accounted For Plaintiffs
Moderate Difficulties With Concentration, Persistence, Or
first contends that this Court's decision did not
properly resolve the ALJ's failure to comply with the
Mascio decision during step four of the sequential
evaluation. Id. at 2-11. Plaintiff maintains that
the ALJ did not include a limitation to account for
Plaintiffs moderate difficulties by merely stating that
Plaintiff "is able to retain and carry out simple
instructions," ECF No. 11 at 110. and that the ALJ
failed to explain why including a limitation was unnecessary.
ECF No. 22 at 10-11. After further consideration and review
of the record, the Court agrees.
three of the sequential evaluation, the ALJ must determine
whether the claimant's impairments meet or equal one or
more of the impairments listed in 20 C.F.R. pt. 404, subpt.
P, app. 1. Listings 12.00 et seq. pertain to mental
impairments. 20 C.F.R. pt. 404, subpt. P, app. 1, 12.00.
"Each [L]isting therein, consists of: (1) a brief
statement describing its subject disorder; (2)'paragraph
A criteria,' which consists of a set of medical findings;
and (3) 'paragraph B criteria." which consists of a
set of impairment-related functional limitations."
Rayman v. Comm V, Soc. Sec. Admin., No.
SAG-14-3102, 2015 WL 6870053, at *2 (D.Md. Nov. 6, 2015)
(citing 20 C.F.R. pt. 404, subpt. P, app. 1, 12.00(A)). If
the paragraph A and paragraph B criteria are satisfied, the
ALJ will find that the claimant meets the listed impairment.
B provides the functional criteria assessed by the ALJ and
consists of four broad functional areas: (1) activities of
daily living; (2) social functioning; (3) concentration,
persistence, or pace; and (4) episodes of decompensation. 20
C.F.R. pt. 404, subpt. P, app. 1. 12.00(A)(2)(b). The ALJ
employs a "special technique" to rate the degree of
a claimant's functional limitations in these areas. 20
C.F.R. §§ 404.1520a(b), 416.920a(b). The ALJ's
evaluation must determine "the extent to which [the
claimant's] impairment(s) interferes with [the] ability
to function independently, appropriately, effectively, and on
a sustained basis" and must include a specific finding
as to the degree of limitation in each of the four functional
areas. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520a(c), 416.920a(c). The
ALJ uses a five-point scale to rate a claimant's degree
of limitation in the first three areas: none, mild, moderate,
marked, and extreme. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520a(c)(4),
416.920a(c)(4). "To satisfy the ...