United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division
JAMIE F. RINEHART, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
C. Mullen, United States District Judge.
MATTER is before the court upon Plaintiff's
Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 6) and the
Commissioner's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 8).
Having carefully considered such motions and reviewed the
pleadings, the court enters the following findings,
conclusions, and Order.
filed an application for a period of disability and
Disability Insurance alleging a disability onset date of
April 15, 2006. (Tr. 277-86, 307). Plaintiff's claim was
denied both initially and on reconsideration; thereafter,
Plaintiff requested and was granted a hearing before an
administrative law judge (“ALJ”). (Tr. 36-68).
After conducting a hearing, the ALJ issued a decision which
was unfavorable to Plaintiff, from which Plaintiff appealed
to the Appeals Council. (Tr. 10-30). Plaintiff's request
for review was denied, making the ALJ's decision the
final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security
(“Commissioner”). (Tr. 1-5). Thereafter,
Plaintiff timely filed this action, seeking review of the
Commissioner's final decision.
appearing that the ALJ's findings of fact are supported
by substantial evidence, the undersigned adopts and
incorporates such findings herein as if fully set forth. Such
findings are referenced in the substantive discussion which
Standard of Review
only issues on review are whether the Commissioner applied
the correct legal standards and whether the
Commissioner's decision is supported by substantial
evidence. Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 390
(1971); Hays v. Sullivan, 907 F.2d 1453, 1456 (4th
Cir. 1990). Review by a federal court is not de
novo, Smith v. Schwieker, 795 F.2d 343, 345
(4th Cir. 1986); rather, inquiry is limited to whether there
was “such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might
accept as adequate to support a conclusion, ”
Richardson v. Perales, supra. Even if the
undersigned were to find that a preponderance of the evidence
weighed against the Commissioner's decision, the
Commissioner's decision would have to be affirmed if
supported by substantial evidence. Hays v. Sullivan,
court has read the transcript of Plaintiff's
administrative hearing, closely read the decision of the ALJ,
and reviewed the extensive exhibits contained in the
administrative record. The issue is not whether a court might
have reached a different conclusion had it been presented
with the same testimony and evidentiary materials, but
whether the decision of the administrative law judge is
supported by substantial evidence. The undersigned finds that
five-step process, known as “sequential” review,
is used by the Commissioner in determining whether a Social
Security claimant is disabled. The Commissioner evaluates a
disability claim ...