Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Echols v. Colvin

United States District Court, M.D. North Carolina

July 27, 2015

VERNON ECHOLS, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION, ORDER, AND RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

L. PATRICK AULD, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff, Vernon Echols, brought this action pursuant to Section 205(g) of the Social Security Act (the "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 claims for a period of disability and Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB") under Title II of the Act, and for Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") under Title XVI of the Act. (See Docket Entry 1.) The Court has before it the certified administrative record (cited herein as "Tr. __") and the parties have filed cross-motions for judgment (Docket Entries 13, 16). Additionally, Plaintiff has filed a Motion to Supplement the Transcript. (Docket Entry 18.) Supplementation will be denied, but the case should be remanded for further administrative proceedings.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiff protectively applied for DIB, a period of disability, and SSI on June 12, 2009, alleging a disability onset date of September 18, 2008. (Tr. 128-29, 130-32.) After denial of the applications initially (Tr. 54-55) and on reconsideration (Tr. 56-57), Plaintiff requested a hearing de novo before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") (Tr. 89-90). Plaintiff and his attorney appeared at the hearing. (Tr. 30-53.) The ALJ thereafter determined that Plaintiff did not qualify as disabled within the meaning of the Act. (Tr. 24.) 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] meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through June 30, 2011.
2. [Plaintiff] has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since September 18, 2008, the alleged onset date....
3. [Plaintiff] has the following severe impairments: history of anterior and posterior fusions at C5, C6, and C7; discogenic and degenerative disorder of the lumbar spine; history of bilateral carpel tunnel releases; diabetes mellitus; hypertension....
...
4. [Plaintiff] does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1....
...
5.... [Plaintiff] has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b), except that he can occasionally stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl.

(Tr. 18-21 (internal parenthetical citations removed).)

In light of the foregoing findings regarding residual functional capacity, the ALJ determined that jobs existed in significant numbers in the national economy that Plaintiff could perform. (Tr. 24.) Accordingly, the ALJ ruled that Plaintiff did not have a disability, as defined by the Act, at any time from September 18, 2008, through the date of the decision. (Tr. 24.)

DISCUSSION

Federal law "authorizes judicial review of the Social Security Commissioner's denial of social security benefits." Hines v. Barnhart, 453 F.3d 559, 561 (4th Cir. 2006). However, "the scope of... review of [such a] decision... is extremely limited." Frady v. Harris, 646 F.2d 143, 144 (4th Cir. 1981). "The courts are not to try the case de novo." Oppenheim v. Finch, 495 F.2d 396, 397 (4th Cir. 1974). Instead, "a reviewing court must uphold the factual findings of the ALJ [underlying the denial of benefits] if they are supported by substantial ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.