United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division
J. Conrad, Jr. United States District Judge
MATTER comes before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for
Summary Judgment, (Doc. No. 21), and Memorandum in Support,
(Doc. No. 24), and Defendant's Motion for Summary
Judgment, (Doc. No. 22), and Memorandum in Support, (Doc. No.
23). The motions are ripe for adjudication.
Plaintiff Billy Bullock (“Plaintiff”) seeks
judicial review of Carolyn Colvin's
(“Defendant” or “Commissioner”)
denial of his social security claim. (Doc. No. 1). On
February 24, 2011, Plaintiff filed an application for a
period of disability and disability insurance benefits
(“DIB”) under Title II of the Social Security
Act, 42 U.S.C. § 405 et seq. (Tr.
In his application, Plaintiff alleged an inability to work
due to post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, panic
attacks, depression, hypertension, high cholesterol, and
sleep apnea beginning on January 1, 1993. (Id.). The
Commissioner denied Plaintiff's application initially on
January 18, 2012 (Id.).
April 19, 2013, Plaintiff appeared and testified at a hearing
before an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”).
(Id. at 26-52). The ALJ issued a decision on June 6,
2013, denying Plaintiff's claims. (Id. at
14-25). Plaintiff filed a request for review of the ALJ's
decision on or about July 29, 2013, which was denied by the
Appeals Council on October 27, 2014. (Id. at 7- 13).
On November 12, 2014, the October 27, 2014 denial was set
aside and the Appeals Council considered additional
information before again denying Plaintiff's request.
(Id. at 1-6). Therefore, the June 6, 2013 ALJ
decision became the final decision of the Commissioner.
Complaint seeking judicial review and a remand of her case
was filed in this Court on January 7, 2015. (Doc. No. 1). On
January 5, 2016, the Court denied Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss for Lack of Prosecution, which was filed because
Plaintiff had yet to file a motion for summary judgment.
(Doc. No. 16). The Court warned Plaintiff that failure to
timely file his motion for summary judgment would result in
dismissal of this case. (Id.). When Plaintiff again
missed the deadline to file his motion, the Court dismissed
Plaintiff's Complaint with prejudice. (Doc. No. 17). But
upon Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration, (Doc. No.
19), alleging he did not receive the Court's order
setting new deadlines for motions for summary judgment, the
Court reopened the case and again set new deadlines. (Doc.
No. 20). Plaintiff filed his Motion for Summary Judgment on
April 25, 2016. (Doc. No. 21). Although styled as a Motion
for Summary Judgment, Plaintiff's filing consisted of a
request to rule in his favor on summary judgment accompanied
by a 140 page exhibit containing what primarily appears to be
pages from the Administrative Record, some of which had
handwritten annotations presumably from Plaintiff. (Doc. No.
21-1). Defendant filed her Motion for Summary Judgment and
Memorandum in Support on May 25, 2016. (Doc. Nos. 22, 23). On
June 13, 2016, Plaintiff filed a Memorandum in Support of
Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment. (Doc. No. 24).
Although not timely filed and despite the numerous warnings
Plaintiff has been given about honoring deadlines, the Court
will consider the arguments made in his memorandum. The
pending motions are ripe for disposition.
question before the ALJ was whether Plaintiff was under a
“disability” as that term of art is defined for
Social Security purposes, at any time between January 1,
1993, the alleged onset date, and December 31, 1997, the date
last insured. (Tr. at 17). To establish entitlement to
benefits, Plaintiff has the burden of proving that he was
disabled within the meaning of the Social Security Act.
Bowen v. Yuckert, 482 U.S. 137, 146 n.5 (1987). The
ALJ concluded that Plaintiff was not under a disability at
any time from January 1, 1993 through December 31, 2007, the
date last insured. (Tr. at 14-25).
Social Security Administration has established a five-step
sequential evaluation process for determining if a person is
disabled. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(a). The five steps are:
(1) whether claimant is engaged in substantial gainful
activity-if yes, not disabled;
(2) whether claimant has a severe medically determinable
physical or mental impairment, or combination of impairments
that meet the duration requirement in § 404.1509-if no,
(3) whether claimant has an impairment or combination of
impairments that meets or medically equals one of the
listings in appendix 1 and meets the duration requirement-if
(4) whether claimant has the residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) to perform his or her past relevant