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Mayberry v. Berryhill

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

July 23, 2018

MICHAEL KEITH MAYBERRY, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          ORDER

          Graham C. Mullen United States District Judge

         THIS MATTER is before the Court upon Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 12) and the Commissioner's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 16). Having carefully considered the motions and reviewed the record, the Court enters the following findings, conclusions, and Order.

         I. Administrative History

         Plaintiff Michael Keith Mayberry filed his application for Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) and Supplemental Security Income Benefits (“SSI”) on June 24, 2014, alleging a disability onset date of August 5, 2011. Plaintiff subsequently amended his onset date to August 20, 2015. After Plaintiff's claim was denied both initially and on reconsideration, he requested and was granted a hearing. The Administrative Law Judge (“the ALJ”) held a hearing on January 30, 2017. On April 3, 2017, the ALJ issued a unfavorable decision.

         The Appeals Council subsequently denied Plaintiff's request for review, making the ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security (“Commissioner”). Thereafter, Plaintiff timely filed this action, seeking judicial review of the ALJ's decision.

         II. Factual Background

         In his decision, the ALJ at the first step determined that while Plaintiff worked part time after his amended alleged onset date, the work did not rise to the level of substantial gainful activity. (Tr. 30). At the second step, the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff has the following severe impairments: lumbar radiculopathy, cervicalgia, depression, anxiety, and a history of substance abuse disorder. (Tr. 32). At the third step, the ALJ found that the Plaintiff did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meet or medically equal the severity of one the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. § 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. (Tr. 32-33).

         The ALJ then found that Plaintiff has the following residual functional capacity (“RFC”):

to perform medium work as defined in 20 C.F.R. 404.1567(c) and 416.967(c) except that he is limited to climbing ladders occasionally. As for his mental residual functional capacity, he is capable of simple, routine, repetitive tasks in a stable environment at a non-production pace. He will be off-task for nine percent of the eight-hour workday.

(Tr. 33). Based on these limitations, the ALJ found in the fourth step that Plaintiff is precluded from performing his past relevant work as a jeweler and jewelry salesman. (Tr. 36). Finally, at the fifth step, the ALJ concluded that the Plaintiff retained the ability to perform other work available in significant numbers in the national economy. (Tr. 38-39). Accordingly, the ALJ found that Plaintiff was not disabled under the Act through the date of the decision. (Tr. 38).

         III. Standard of Review

         The 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. Schweiker, 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, 402 U.S. at 400. 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, 907 F.2d at 1456.

         IV. Discussion

         On appeal, Plaintiff asserts that remand is warranted, alleging two errors by the ALJ: (1) that the ALJ failed to conduct a proper function-by-function analysis of Mr. Mayberry's impairments, and provide a logical bridge between the evidence in the record and his RFC findings; and (2) that the ...


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