United States District Court, M.D. North Carolina
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED
STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Patrick Auld United States Magistrate Judge.
Timothy McDougald, 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 Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”).
(Docket Entry 1.) Defendant has filed the certified
administrative record (Docket Entry 6 (cited herein as
“Tr. __”)), and both parties have moved for
judgment (Docket Entries 9, 12; see also Docket Entry 11
(Plaintiff's Memorandum); Docket Entry 13
(Defendant's Memorandum)). For the reasons that follow,
the Court should enter judgment for Defendant.
applied for DIB, alleging an onset date of January 16, 2012.
(Tr. 160-66.) Upon denial of that application initially (Tr.
73-83, 96-99) and on reconsideration (Tr. 84-95, 103-10),
Plaintiff requested a hearing de novo before an
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) (Tr. 111).
Plaintiff, his non-attorney representative, and a vocational
expert (“VE”) attended the hearing. (Tr. 33-72.)
The ALJ subsequently ruled that Plaintiff did not qualify as
disabled under the Act. (Tr. 13-27.) The Appeals Council
thereafter denied Plaintiff's request for review (Tr.
1-5, 6-12, 299-300), thereby making the ALJ's ruling the
Commissioner's final decision for purposes of judicial
rendering that disability determination, the ALJ made the
following findings later adopted by the Commissioner:
1. [Plaintiff] last met the insured status requirements of
the  Act on September 30, 2014.
2. [Plaintiff] did not engage in substantial gainful activity
during the period from his alleged onset date of January 16,
2012 through his date last insured of September 30, 2014.
3. Through the date last insured, [Plaintiff] had the
following severe impairments: morbid obesity; status-post
left lower extremity fracture with residuals; reflex
sympathetic dystrophy (RSD)/complex regional pain syndrome
(CRPS); gout/arthrolithiasis; plantar fasciitis; lumbago;
4. Through the date last insured, [Plaintiff] did not have an
impairment or combination of impairments that met or
medically equaled the severity of one of the listed
impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1.
5. . . . [T]hrough the date last insured, [Plaintiff] had the
residual functional capacity to perform sedentary work . . .,
with the following provisos: [Plaintiff] is able to
frequently push, pull, operate hand controls, handle, finger,
and/or feel bilaterally. He can frequently use his lower
extremities for pushing, pulling, and/or operating foot
controls. [Plaintiff] can occasionally climb ramps and
stairs, balance, stoop, kneel, and/or crouch. He cannot climb
ladders, ropes, scaffolds, or crawl. [Plaintiff] must avoid
concentrated exposure to workplace hazards, such as dangerous
moving machinery and unprotected heights. He requires the use
of an assistive device, such as a cane, for ambulation only.
6. Through the date last insured, [Plaintiff] was unable to
perform any past relevant work.
10. Through the date last insured, considering
[Plaintiff's] age, education, work experience, and
residual functional capacity, there were jobs that existed in
significant No. in the national economy that [Plaintiff]
could have performed.
11. [Plaintiff] was not under a disability, as defined in the
 Act, at any time from January 16, 2012, the alleged onset
date, through ...