United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Statesville Division
C. Mullen United States District Judge
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,
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.
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, 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).
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.
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. 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
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