United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S
ALTERNATIVE MOTION FOR REMAND
M. DiGirolamo, United States Magistrate Judge
Shuntus W. seeks judicial review under 42 U.S.C. §§
405(g) and 1383(c)(3) of a final decision of the Commissioner
of Social Security (“Defendant” or the
“Commissioner”) denying her applications for
disability insurance benefits and Supplemental Security
Income under Titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act.
Before the Court are Plaintiff's Motion for Summary
Judgment and alternative motion for remand (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 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. 16) is GRANTED.
September 1, 2016, Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) Michael Krasnow held a hearing in
Washington, D.C., where Plaintiff and a vocational expert
(“VE”) testified. R. at 54-88. The ALJ thereafter
found on May 11, 2017, that Plaintiff was not disabled from
her alleged onset date of disability of May 1, 2012, through
the date of the ALJ's decision. R. at 20-41. In so
finding, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had the residual
functional capacity (“RFC”)
to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) and
416.967(b) except [she] must never climb ladders, ropes, or
scaffolds, but can occasionally climb ramps and stairs,
occasionally balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl, and
frequently reach overhead with the right upper extremity.
[Plaintiff] must avoid moderate exposure to hazards, such as
moving machinery and unprotected heights. [Plaintiff] is
limited to jobs involving simple, routine, repetitive tasks
with no production rate for pace of work, and occasional
interaction with coworkers and the general public.
R. at 28. In light of this RFC and the VE's testimony,
the ALJ found that, although Plaintiff could not perform her
past relevant work as a physical education teacher, she was
capable of performing other work, such as a router, office
helper, or non-postal mail clerk. R at 33-35. The ALJ thus
found that Plaintiff was not disabled from May 1, 2012,
through May 11, 2017. R. at 35.
the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for
review, Plaintiff filed on February 10, 2018, 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 . . . 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 ...