United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Southern Division
HENRY A. CUMBEE, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
TERRENCE W. BOYLE United States District Judge
matter is before the Court on the parties' cross-motions
for judgment on the pleadings [D.E. 15, 18]. On February 21,
2018, the court held a hearing on this matter in Raleigh,
North Carolina [D.E. 26]. For the following reasons, this
matter is REMANDED for further consideration by the
11, 2011, plaintiff filed applications for disability
insurance benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act
("Act") and supplemental security income benefits
under Title XVI of the Act. [Tr. 327-341]. Plaintiff alleged
a disability onset date of December 15, 2010. [Tr. 149].
Plaintiffs applications were denied initially and upon
reconsideration, and he requested a hearing before an
Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"). [Tr. 169-187].
April 17, 2013, the ALJ held a hearing to consider plaintiffs
claims de novo. [Tr. 69-102]. On May 30, 2013, the
ALJ issued a decision finding that plaintiff was not disabled
within the meaning of the Act. [Tr. 146-163]. Plaintiff
appealed and, on August 28, 2014, the Appeals Council
remanded plaintiffs claim for further proceedings. [Tr.
April 9, 2015, the ALJ held a second hearing to consider
de novo plaintiffs remanded claims. [Tr. 35-68]. The
ALJ issued an unfavorable decision on June 16, 2015. [Tr.
12-34]. Plaintiff again appealed and, on October 31, 2016,
the Appeals Council denied review, thereby rendering the
ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner.
[Tr. 1-5, 9-11]. On December 21, 2016, plaintiff filed a
complaint in this court seeking review of the
Commissioner's final decision pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3). [D.E. 5].
district court's review of the Commissioner's final
decision is limited to determining whether the correct legal
standard was applied and whether, based on the entire
administrative record, there is substantial evidence to
support the Commissioner's findings. 42 U.S.C. §
405(g); Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401
(1971). Substantial evidence is defined as "such
relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as
adequate to support a conclusion." Johnson v.
Barnhart, A2>A F.3d 650, 653 (4th Cir. 2005) (per
curiam) (internal quotation and citation omitted).
necessary predicate to engaging in substantial evidence
review is a record of the basis for the ALJ's ruling,
" including "a discussion of which evidence the ALJ
found credible and why, and specific application of the
pertinent legal requirements to the record evidence."
Radford v. Colvin, 734 F.3d 288, 295 (4th Cir.
2013). An ALJ's decision "must build an accurate and
logical bridge from the evidence to his conclusion" and
also must "include a narrative discussion describing how
the evidence supports each conclusion." Monroe v.
Colvin, 826 F.3d 176, 189-90 (4th Cir. 2016) (citations
and quotation marks omitted).
the Act, an individual is disabled if he is unable "to
engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any
medically determinable physical or mental impairment which
can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can
be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than
[twelve] months." 42U.S.C. § 1382c(a)(3)(A).
an individual shall be determined to be under a disability
only if his physical or mental impairment or impairments are
of such severity that he is not only unable to do his
previous work but cannot, considering his age, education, and
work experience, engage in any other line of substantial
gainful work ....
42U.S.C. § 1382c(a)(3)(B).
engages in a sequential five-step evaluation process to make
an initial disability determination. 20 C.F.R. §
404.1520(a); see Johnson, 434 F.3d at 653. The
burden of proof is on the claimant for the first four steps
of this inquiry, but shifts to the Commissioner at the fifth
step. Pass v. Chater, 65 F.3d 1200, 1203 (4th Cir.
1995). If a decision regarding the claimant's disability
can be made at any step of the process, the ALJ's inquiry
ceases. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(a)(4).
evaluating adults, the ALJ denies the claim at step one if
the claimant is currently engaged in substantial gainful
activity. 20 C.F.R. § 416.920(a)(4). At step two, the
ALJ denies the claim if the claimant does not have a severe
impairment or combination of impairments significantly
limiting him from performing basic work activities.
Id. At step three, the ALJ compares the
claimant's impairment to those in the Listing of
Impairments. See 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, App.
1. If the impairment is listed, or equivalent to a listed
impairment, disability is conclusively presumed without
considering the claimant's age, education, and work
experience. 20 C.F.R. § ...