Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Clark v. Berryhill

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

June 15, 2018

BILLY LEWIS CLARK, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          ORDER

          DAVID C. KEESLER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         THIS MATTER IS BEFORE THE COURT on Plaintiff's “Motion for Summary Judgment” (Document No. 11) and Defendant's “Motion for Summary Judgment” (Document No. 13). The parties have consented to Magistrate Judge jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), and these motions are ripe for disposition. After careful consideration of the written arguments, the administrative record, and applicable authority, the undersigned will direct that Plaintiff's “Motion for Summary Judgment” be denied; that Defendant's “Motion For Summary Judgment” be granted; and that the Commissioner's decision be affirmed.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Billy Lewis Clark (“Plaintiff”), through counsel, seeks judicial review of an unfavorable administrative decision on his application for disability benefits. (Document No. 1). On or about September 5, 2013, Plaintiff filed an application for a period of disability for supplemental security income under Title XVI of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1383, alleging an inability to work due to a disabling condition beginning June 12, 2013. (Transcript of the Record of Proceedings (“Tr.”) 13, 143). On December 2, 2015, Plaintiff amended his alleged onset date to January 26, 2014. (Tr. 13, 160).

         The Commissioner of Social Security (the “Commissioner” or “Defendant”) denied Plaintiff's application initially on or about December 4, 2013, and again after reconsideration on February 21, 2014. (Tr. 13, 74, 86). In its “Notice of Reconsideration, ” the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) included the following explanation of its decision:

On your application you stated that you are disabled because of right foot cyst, painful to stand and hands weak. The medical evidence shows that your condition is not severe enough to be considered disabling. We do not have sufficient vocational information to determine whether you can perform any of your past relevant work. However, based on the evidence in file, we have determined that you can adjust to other work. It has been decided, therefore, that you are not disabled according to the Social Security Act.

(Tr. 86).

         Plaintiff filed a timely written request for a hearing on March 10, 2014. (Tr. 13, 96). On January 7, 2016, Plaintiff appeared and testified at a hearing before Administrative Law Judge Theresa R. Jenkins (the “ALJ”). (Tr. 13, 28-41). In addition, Maria Vargas, a vocational expert (“VE”), and Chad F. Brown, Plaintiff's attorney, appeared at the hearing. Id.

         The ALJ issued an unfavorable decision on March 2, 2016, denying Plaintiff's claim. (Tr. 13-21). On March 2, 2016, Plaintiff filed a request for review of the ALJ's decision, which was denied by the Appeals Council on June 8, 2017. (Tr. 1-3, 142). The ALJ decision became the final decision of the Commissioner when the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's review request. (Tr. 1).

         Plaintiff's “Complaint” seeking a reversal of the ALJ's determination was filed in this Court on August 8, 2017. (Document No. 1). On October 27, 2017, the parties consented to the Magistrate Judge jurisdiction in this matter. (Document No. 10)

         Plaintiff's “Motion For Summary Judgment” (Document No. 11) and Plaintiff's “Memorandum In Support of Motion For Summary Judgment” (Document No. 12) were filed December 12, 2017; and the “Commissioner's Motion For Summary Judgment” (Document No. 13) and “Memorandum Of Law In Support Of The Commissioner's Motion For Summary Judgment” (Document No. 14) were filed February 8, 2018. Plaintiff declined to file a reply brief, and the time to do so has lapsed. See Local Rule 7.2 (e).

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         The Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) and § 1383(c)(3), limits this Court's review of a final decision of the Commissioner to: (1) whether substantial evidence supports the Commissioner's decision; and (2) whether the Commissioner applied the correct legal standards. Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 390 (1971); Hays v. Sullivan, 907 F.2d 1453, 1456 (4th Cir. 1990).

         The Fourth Circuit has made clear that it is not for a reviewing court to re-weigh the evidence or to substitute its judgment for that of the Commissioner - so long as that decision is supported by substantial evidence. Hays, 907 F.2d at 1456 (4th Cir. 1990); see also, Smith v. Schweiker, 795 F.2d 343, 345 (4th Cir. 1986); Hancock v. Astrue, 667 F.3d 470, 472 (4th Cir. 2012). “Substantial evidence has been defined as ‘more than a scintilla and [it] must do more than create a suspicion of the existence of a fact to be established. It means such relevant evidence as a reasonable ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.