United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
JEFFERY L. B., Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S
ALTERNATIVE MOTION FOR REMAND
M. DIGIROLAMO, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Jeffery B. 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 and alternative motion for remand (ECF No.
17), Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No.
20), and Plaintiff's Response to Defendant's Motion
for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 21). 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, Plaintiff's alternative motion for
remand (ECF No. 17) is GRANTED.
10, 2016, Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”)
Michael A. Krasnow held a hearing in Washington, D.C., where
Plaintiff and a vocational expert (“VE”)
testified. R. at 36-71. The ALJ thereafter found on July 29,
2016, that Plaintiff was not disabled from October 1, 2013,
through December 31, 2014, the date last insured. R. at
17-35. In so finding, the ALJ found that, “[t]hrough
the date last insured, [Plaintiff] did not have an impairment
or combination of impairments that met or medically equaled
the severity of one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part
404, Subpart P, Appendix 1.” R. at 23. The ALJ found:
Listing 1.04 was not met because the record does not
demonstrate compromise of a nerve root (including the cauda
equina) or the spinal cord with additional findings of: (A)
evidence of nerve root compression characterized by
neuro-anatomic distribution of pain, limitation of motion of
the spine, motor loss (atrophy with associated muscle
weakness) accompanied by sensory or reflex loss and, positive
straight-leg raising or; (B) spinal arachnoiditis or; (C)
lumbar spinal stenosis resulting in pseudoclaudication and
the inability to ambulate effectively.
then found that, through the date last insured, Plaintiff had
the residual functional capacity (“RFC”)
to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) except
he could occasionally climb ramps and stairs; could never
climb ladders, ropes, and scaffolds; could occasionally
balance, stoop, kneel, and crouch; could never crawl; must
avoid concentrated exposure to hazards including dangerous
machinery and unprotected heights; could frequently reach
overhead with the right upper extremity; and could frequently
handle with the bilateral upper extremities.
24. The ALJ determined that, although Plaintiff could not
perform his past relevant work as a bus driver, he was
capable through the date last insured of performing other
work, such as a merchandise marker, assembler, or cafeteria
attendant. R. at 29-30. Plaintiff thus was not disabled from
October 1, 2013, through December 31, 2014, the date last
insured. R. at 31.
the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for
review, Plaintiff filed on August 21, 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.
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 . . ...