United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division
D. Whitney Chief United States District Judge.
MATTER is before the Court on Plaintiff Trevylan
Floyd Moore's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 9),
filed on February 21, 2017, and Defendant Commissioner of
Social Security Nancy A. Berryhill's Motion for Summary
Judgment (Doc. No. 10), filed on April 19, 2017. Plaintiff,
through counsel, seeks judicial review of an unfavorable
administrative decision on his application for disability
reviewed and considered the written arguments, administrative
record, and applicable authority, and for the reasons set
forth below, the Court DENIES Plaintiff's Motion for
Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 9), GRANTS Defendant's Motion
for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 10), and AFFIRMS the
filed an application for a period of disability and
disability insurance benefits on May 15, 2013, alleging a
disability onset date of February 8, 2013. (Doc. No. 10 p.
134-35). After his application was denied initially and upon
reconsideration (Tr. 69-72, 79-85), Plaintiff requested a
hearing (Tr. 23). The hearing commenced on May 6, 2015, and
on June 23, 2015, the Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) issued a decision denying Plaintiff's
application. (Tr. 10-8).
determined that Plaintiff was not disabled. (Tr. 18). The ALJ
found that Plaintiff had not engaged in any substantial
gainful activity since February 8, 2013, and that he had the
following severe impairments: atrial fibrillation,
cerebrovascular accident, neuropathy, deep vein thrombosis,
and sleep apnea. (Tr. 12). The ALJ reviewed the listed
impairments and found none of the conditions, standing alone
or in combination, met or medically equaled a per se disabled
medical listing under 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix
1. (Tr. 13). The ALJ then found that Plaintiff had the
Residual Functional Capacity (“RFC”) to perform
less than the full range of light work with the following
[T]he claimant can lift, carry, push and/or pull 20 pounds
occasionally and 10 pounds frequently. He can sit for 6 hours
in an 8-hour day, and stand and/or walk for 6 hours in an
8-hour day, with normal breaks. The claimant can never climb
ladders, ropes or scaffolds, and he can only frequently climb
ramps and stairs. He must avoid concentrated exposure to
unprotected heights, and he is limited to jobs requiring only
occasional peripheral acuity.
(Tr. 14). Nevertheless, in response to a hypothetical that
factored in the above limitations, a Vocational Expert
(“VE”) testified Plaintiff was capable of
performing his past relevant work as an office clerk. (Tr.
17-8). Accordingly, the ALJ concluded Plaintiff was not
disabled. (Tr. 18).
requested review of the ALJ's decision by the Appeals
Council, and the Appeals Council denied the request for
review on August 9, 2016. (Tr. 1-5). Plaintiff has exhausted
all administrative remedies and now appeals pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 405(g). Plaintiff claims that the ALJ's
decision is not based on proper legal standards and is not
supported by substantial evidence as 42 U.S.C. § 405(g)
STANDARD OF REVIEW
to the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) and
§ 1383(c)(3), this Court's review of a final
decision of the Commissioner of Social Security is limited
to: (1) whether substantial evidence supports the
Commissioner's decision, Richardson v. Perales,
402 U.S. 389, 390, 401 (1971), and (2) whether the
Commissioner applied the correct legal standards, 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g) (2006); Westmoreland Coal Co., Inc. v.
Cochran, 718 F.3d 319, 322 (4th Cir. 2013). A reviewing
court may not re-weigh conflicting evidence or make
credibility determinations because “it is not within
the province of a reviewing court to determine the weight of
the evidence, nor is it the court's function to
substitute its judgment for that of the Secretary if his
decision is supported by substantial evidence.”
Hays v. Sullivan, 907 F.2d 1453, 1456 (4th Cir.
evidence is “more than a scintilla and [it] must do
more than create a suspicion of the existence of a fact to be
established. It means such relevant evidence that a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.” Smith v. Heckler, 782 F.2d 1176,
1179 (4th Cir. 1986) (quoting Richardson, 402 U.S.
at 401). If this Court finds that the Commissioner applied
the correct legal standards and that his decision is
supported by substantial evidence, the Commissioner's
determination may not be capriciously overturned.
Social Security Administration has established a five-step
sequential evaluation process for determining if a person is