United States District Court, M.D. North Carolina
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED
STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Patrick Auld United States Magistrate Judge
Mark Anthony Taylor, 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
claim for Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”).
(Docket Entry 1.) Defendant has filed the certified
administrative record (Docket Entry 9 (cited herein as
“Tr.___ ”)), and both parties have moved for
judgment (Docket Entries 13, 15; see also Docket
Entry 14 (Plaintiff's Memorandum); Docket Entry 16
(Defendant's Memorandum)). For the reasons that follow,
the Court should enter judgment for Defendant.
applied for SSI. (Tr. 222-33.) Upon denial of that
application initially (Tr. 113-27, 147-50) and on
reconsideration (Tr. 128-46, 160-69), Plaintiff requested a
hearing de novo before an Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) (Tr. 170-72). Plaintiff, his attorney,
and a vocational expert (“VE”) attended the
hearing. (Tr. 42-107.) The ALJ subsequently ruled that Plaintiff
did not qualify as disabled under the Act. (Tr. 18-33.) The
Appeals Council thereafter denied Plaintiff's request for
review (Tr. 1-6, 15-17, 329-30), thereby making the ALJ's
ruling the Commissioner's final decision for purposes of
rendering that disability determination, the ALJ made the
following findings later adopted by the Commissioner:
1. [Plaintiff] has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since July 17, 2012, the application date.
. . .
2. [Plaintiff] has the following severe impairments: back
disorder; obesity; and bipolar disorder.
. . .
3. [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,
. . .
4. . . . [Plaintiff] has the residual functional capacity to
perform light work . . . except that he requires the option
to alternate sitting and standing every ninety minutes. He
can occasionally climb ramps and stairs; never climb ladders
or scaffolds; and occasionally balance. He must not have any
concentrated exposure to hazardous conditions, such as
unprotected heights, dangerous moving machinery, or uneven
surfaces. He retains the mental residual functional capacity
to understand, recall, and carry out simple, routine tasks
involving no more than simple, short instructions and simple,
work-related decisions with few workplace changes. He can
have frequent interaction with supervisors, and occasional
interaction with coworkers and the general public.
. . .
5. [Plaintiff] is unable to perform any past ...