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Lawrence v. Colvin

United States District Court, M.D. North Carolina

May 29, 2015

KEVIN T. LAWRENCE, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

L. PATRICK AULD, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff, Kevin Lawrence, brought this action pursuant to Section 205(g) of the Social Security Act, as amended (42 U.S.C. ยง 405(g)), to obtain judicial review of a final decision of Defendant, the Acting Commissioner of Social Security, denying Plaintiff's claim for a period of disability and Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB") under Title II of the Social Security Act (the "Act"). (See Docket Entry 2.) The Court has before it the certified administrative record (cited herein as "Tr. ____") and the parties have filed cross-motions for judgment (Docket Entries 9, 12). For the reasons that follow, the Court should enter judgment for Defendant.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiff applied for DIB and a period of disability, alleging a disability onset date of August 18, 2000. (Tr. 151-52.) After denial of the application, both initially (Tr. 82) and on reconsideration (Tr. 90), Plaintiff requested a hearing de novo before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") (Tr. 107). Plaintiff, his attorney, and a vocational expert ("VE") appeared at the hearing. (Tr. 40-69.) The ALJ thereafter determined that Plaintiff did not qualify as disabled within the meaning of the Act. (Tr. 25-36.) The Appeals Council subsequently denied Plaintiff's request for review, thereby making the ALJ's determination the Commissioner's final decision for purposes of judicial review. (Tr. 1-3.)

In rendering that disability ruling, the ALJ made the following findings later adopted by the Commissioner:

1. [Plaintiff] last met the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act on June 30, 2007.
2. [Plaintiff] did not engage in substantial gainful activity during the period from his alleged onset date of August 18, 2000[, ] through his date last insured of June 30, 2007 (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq. ).
...
3. Through the date last insured, [Plaintiff] had the following severe impairments: bipolar disorder, general anxiety disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, and history of alcohol dependence. (20 CFR 404.1520(c)).
...
4. Through the date last insured, [Plaintiff] did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that met or medically equaled one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR 404.1520(d), 404.1525 and 404.1526).
...
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that, through the date last insured, [Plaintiff] had the residual functional capacity to perform a full range of work at all exertional levels but with the following nonexertional limitations: as of the claimant's date last insured, his mental disorders reduced his capacity to the performance of only unskilled work ...

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