United States District Court, M.D. North Carolina
ALFRED L. MARSHALL, III, Plaintiff,
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
L. PATRICK AULD, Magistrate Judge.
Plaintiff, Alfred L. Marshall, III, brought this action pursuant to Sections 205(g) and 1631(c)(3) of the Social Security Act (the "Act"), as amended (42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3)), to obtain judicial review of a final decision of Defendant, the Commissioner of Social Security, denying Plaintiff's claim for Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB") under Title II of the Act. (Docket Entry 2.) The Court has before it the certified administrative record (cited herein as "Tr. ___"), as well as the parties' cross-motions for judgment (Docket Entries 12, 16). For the reasons that follow, the Court should enter judgment for Defendant.
I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Plaintiff filed an application for DIB on June 11, 2009, alleging a disability onset date of November 19, 2005. (Tr. 171-72.) Upon denial of the application initially and upon reconsideration (Tr. 48, 49, 61-64, 68-75), Plaintiff requested and received a hearing de novo before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"), at which Plaintiff and his attorney appeared. (Tr. 26-47.) The ALJ then ruled Plaintiff not disabled under the Act. (Tr. 9-20.) The Appeals Council subsequently denied Plaintiff's request for review (Tr. 1-5), thereby making the ALJ's ruling the Commissioner's final decision for purposes of judicial review.
In rendering this disability determination, the ALJ made the following findings later adopted by Defendant:
1. [Plaintiff] last met the insured status requirements of the... Act on June 30, 2010.
2. [Plaintiff] did not engage in substantial gainful activity during the period from his alleged onset date of November 19, 2005 through his date last insured of June 30, 2010.
3. Through the date last insured, [Plaintiff] had the following severe impairments: chronic back pain due to degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine, lumbar spinal stenosis (status post surgery), degenerative disc disease of the cervical spine, and cervical spondylosis.
4. Through 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.
5.... [T]hrough the date last insured, [Plaintiff] had the residual functional capacity to perform light work... except that [Plaintiff] would be limited to occasional climbing of stairs, balancing, stooping, bending, crouching, and squatting. [Plaintiff] has the ability to lift and carry up to 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently, as well as sit, stand and walk 6 hours in an 8-hour workday. Additionally, [Plaintiff] can use his hands for frequent reaching and handling.
6. Through the date last insured, [Plaintiff] was unable to perform any past relevant work.
10. Through the date last insured, considering [Plaintiff's] age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity, there were jobs that existed in significant numbers in the ...