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Jama v. Colvin

United States District Court, M.D. North Carolina

January 31, 2017

PETER FRANCIS JAMA, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          L. Patrick Auld, United States Magistrate Judge

         Plaintiff, Peter Francis Jama, brought this action pursuant to the Social Security Act (the “Act”) to obtain judicial review of a final decision of Defendant, the Acting Commissioner of Social Security, denying Plaintiff's claims for Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) and Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”). (Docket Entry 2.) Defendant has filed the certified administrative record (Docket Entry 8 (cited herein as “Tr. ___ ”)), and both parties have moved for judgment (Docket Entries 11, 14; see also Docket Entry 12 (Plaintiff's Memorandum); Docket Entry 15 (Defendant's Memorandum)). For the reasons that follow, the Court should enter judgment for Defendant.

         I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Plaintiff applied for DIB and SSI, alleging an onset date of March 8, 2008. (Tr. 241-57.) Upon denial of those applications initially (Tr. 80-105, 140-49) and on reconsideration (Tr. 106-39, 154-62), Plaintiff requested a hearing de novo before an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) (Tr. 163-64). Plaintiff, his attorney, and a vocational expert (“VE”) attended the hearing. (Tr. 29-79.) The ALJ subsequently ruled that Plaintiff did not qualify as disabled under the Act. (Tr. 11-23.) The Appeals Council thereafter denied Plaintiff's request for review (Tr. 1-7, 8, 310-15), thereby making the ALJ's ruling the Commissioner's final decision for purposes of judicial review.

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

1. [Plaintiff] meets the insured status requirements of the [] Act through December 31, 2014.
2. [Plaintiff] has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since March 8, 2008, the alleged onset date.
. . .
3. [Plaintiff] has the following severe impairments: diabetes mellitus, ocular hypertension (pre-glaucoma); depressive disorder; osteoarthritis; and degenerative disc disease.
. . .
4. [Plaintiff] does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of 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 . . . except [Plaintiff] may need to shift positions every 40 minutes. He can occasionally bend, stoop, kneel, crouch and crawl. He should avoid concentrated exposure to humidity, heat and cold. [Plaintiff] is able to understand and carry out simple, routine, repetitive tasks.
. . .
6. [Plaintiff] is capable of performing past relevant work as a door-to-door sales representative. This work does not require the performance of work-related activities precluded by [Plaintiff's] residual functional capacity.
. . .
In the alternative, considering [Plaintiff's] age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity, there are other jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that [Plaintiff] can also perform.
7. [Plaintiff] has not been under a disability, as defined in the [] Act, from March 8, 2008, through the date of this decision.

(Tr. 16-23 (bold font and internal parenthetical citations omitted).)

         II. 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 [the Court's] review of [such a] decision . . . is extremely limited.” Frady v. Harris, 646 F.2d 143, 144 (4th Cir. 1981). Plaintiff has not established entitlement to relief under the extremely limited review standard.

         A. ...


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