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., Jr., 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 (“DIB”) under Title
II of the Social Security Act. Before the Court are
Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 14) 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.
15) is GRANTED, Plaintiff's Motion for
Summary Judgment (ECF No. 14) is DENIED, and
the Commissioner's final decision is
March 13, 2017, Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”)
Susan G. Smith held a hearing where Plaintiff and a
vocational expert (“VE”) testified. R. at 39-73.
The ALJ thereafter found on June 26, 2017, that Plaintiff was
not disabled from the alleged onset date of disability of
November 1, 2009, through December 31, 2014, the date last
insured. R. at 7-28. In so finding, the ALJ 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 stand and walk 4 hours. He could occasionally
climb stairs and ramps, stoop, kneel, and balance; frequently
reach overhead bilaterally; and never crouch, crawl, or climb
ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. He had to avoid concentrated
exposure to hazards, including uneven terrain, unprotected
heights, and dangerous moving machinery. [Plaintiff] also
required a sit/stand option, where he could sit or stand up
to 30 minutes at a time, before changing positions, but could
remain at the workstation.
R. at 14. The ALJ determined that, although
Plaintiff could not perform his past relevant work as a
plumber apprentice, he was capable through the date last
insured of performing other work, such as a ticket taker,
retail sales attendant, or information clerk. R. at 19-20.
Plaintiff thus was not disabled from November 1, 2009,
through December 31, 2014, the date last insured. R. at
the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for
review, Plaintiff filed on May 2, 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 ...