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Rozzelle v. Berryhill

United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division

March 7, 2018

LERONE D. ROZZELLE, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, [1] Acting Commissioner of Social Security Administration, Defendant.

          ORDER

          Robert J. Conrad, Jr. United States District Judge

         THIS MATTER comes before the Court on Lerone D. Rozzelle's (“Plaintiff's”) Motion for Summary Judgment, (Doc. No. 11), and Memorandum in Support, (Doc. No. 12), Nancy A. Berryhill's (“Defendant's or Commissioner's”) Motion for Summary Judgment, (Doc. No. 13), and Memorandum in Support, (Doc. No. 14).

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Procedural Background

         Plaintiff seeks judicial review of Defendant's denial of his social security claim. (Doc. No. 1). On October 7, 2013, Plaintiff filed his application for supplemental security income (“SSI”) under Title XVI of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 405 et seq. (Doc. Nos. 10 to 10-1: Administrative Record (“Tr.”) at 249-51). Plaintiff's application was denied initially and upon consideration. (Tr. 22, 142-145, 173-176).

         On October 8, 2015, a hearing was held in front an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”). (Tr. 40-77). On November 17, 2015, the ALJ issued a decision finding Plaintiff not disabled. (Tr. 19-39). The Appeals Council denied review of the ALJ's decision on January 12, 2017, making the ALJ's opinion the final decision of Defendant. (Tr. 1-6). Plaintiff now appeals the ALJ's decision, requesting this Court to issue a remand pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §405(g).

         B. Factual Background

         The question before the ALJ was whether the claimant is disabled under section 1614(a)(3)(A) of the Social Security Act. (Tr. 22). 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 ultimately concluded that Plaintiff was not under a disability at any point in the relevant timeframe. (Tr. 33-34).

         The 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, not disabled;
(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 yes, disabled;
(4) whether claimant has the residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform his or her past relevant work-if yes, not disabled; and
(5) whether considering claimant's RFC, age, education, and work experience he or she can make an adjustment to other work-if yes, not disabled.

See 20 C.F.R. ยง 404.1520(a)(4)(i-v). In this case, the ALJ determined at the fifth step that Plaintiff was not ...


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