United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S
ALTERNATIVE MOTION FOR REMAND
M. DIGIROLAMO, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Sean P. 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 his 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. 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, Plaintiff's alternative motion for remand (ECF
No. 14) is GRANTED.
February 27, 2017, Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) Mary C. Peltzer held a hearing where
Plaintiff and a vocational expert (“VE”)
testified. R. at 30-59. The ALJ thereafter found on May 25,
2017, that Plaintiff was not disabled from his alleged onset
date of disability of September 1, 2015, through the date of
the ALJ's decision. R. at 9-29. In so finding, the ALJ
found that Plaintiff had moderate limitations in
concentrating, persisting, or maintaining pace. R. at 16. The
ALJ then found that Plaintiff had the residual functional
to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) and
416.967(b) except: standing and walking up to four hours per
workday; occasional stairs and ramps; no ladders, ropes, or
scaffolds; occasional balancing, stooping, kneeling,
crouching and crawling; and occasional exposure to workplace
hazards such as vibration and dangerous moving machinery, but
no exposure to unprotected heights. He can perform unskilled
work involving simple, routine tasks with no independent goal
setting and no work where the pace of productivity is
dictated by an external source outside his control, such as
conveyor belts. He can have no contact with the general
public and occasional contact with supervisors and coworkers,
with no tandem work assignments.
R. at 17. In light of this RFC and the VE's
testimony, the ALJ found that, although Plaintiff could not
perform his past relevant work as a dump truck driver and car
porter, he could perform other work, such as a final
inspector, final assembler, or sorter. R at 22-23. The ALJ
thus found that Plaintiff was not disabled from September 1,
2015, through May 25, 2017. R. at 24.
the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for
review, Plaintiff filed on July 9, 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 ...