United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S UNASSENTED MOTION FOR
REMAND PURSUANT TO SENTENCE FOUR OF 42 U.S.C. § 405(G)
MATTHEW F. LEITMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
February 4, 2014, Plaintiff Tiffany Danielle Ammons filed an
application for disability insurance benefits with the Social
Security Administration (the “SSA”).
(See Admin R., ECF #13-5 at Pg. ID 224.) Ammons
contended that she was disabled as the result of several
conditions, including bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety,
diabetes, asthma, osteoarthritis, muscle spasm, nerve damage,
heel spurs, and hypertension. (See Admin R., ECF
#13-6 at Pg. ID 251.) The SSA denied Ammons' application
for benefits. (See Admin R., ECF #13-4 at Pg. ID
thereafter requested a hearing before an administrative law
judge (the “ALJ”). (See Admin R., ECF
#13-2 at Pg. ID 73.) The ALJ held that hearing on November
13, 2015 (see Id. at Pg. ID 96), and he then later
entered a written decision in which he affirmed the SSA's
denial of benefits. (See Id. at Pg. ID 73.) The ALJ
found that Ammons suffered from the following severe
impairments: “obesity, osteoarthritis, mitral valve
prolapse, anemia, bipolar disorder, anxiety, disruptive mood
dysregulation disorder, major depressive disorder, with mood
congruent psychotic features . . . .” (Id. at
Pg. ID 76.) The ALJ nonetheless concluded that Ammons was not
disabled and that there were jobs that existed in significant
numbers in the national economy that Ammons could perform.
(See Id. at Pg. ID 91.) Ammons appealed the
ALJ's decision to the SSA's Appeals Council, and that
body denied review. (See Id. at Pg. ID 52-53.)
then filed this action challenging the denial of her
application for disability insurance benefits. On August 8,
2017, Ammons filed a motion for summary judgment challenging
the decision. (See ECF #15.) Ammons argued that the
ALJ made five errors:
1. The ALJ erred by failing to weigh the medical opinion of
[Ammons' treating physician].
2. The ALJ erred in failing to find Plaintiff's
3. The ALJ committed reversible error by ignoring evidence of
Plaintiff's Fibromyalgia and failing to follow SSR 12-2p.
4. The ALJ's credibility determination is not supported
by substantial evidence.
5. The ALJ's Step 4 and Step 5 analysis was not supported
by substantial evidence.
(ECF #15 at Pg. ID 704-05.)
of filing a response to Ammons' summary judgment motion,
Defendant Commissioner of Social Security moved the Court to
remand this action for further administrative action.
(See ECF #18.) Ammons filed a response opposing the
motion in part. (See ECF #19.)
the Commissioner and Ammons agree that a remand is necessary,
but the parties disagree on the proper scope of the remand.
Ammons asks that the Court “remand this case for
further administrative proceedings, including de
novo hearing and decision.” (Obj. to Mot. for
Remand, ECF #19 at Pg. ID 750.) The Commissioner counters
that a new de novo hearing is not necessary. The
Commissioner requests a limited remand on which the ALJ would
be instructed to: “(1) reevaluate the opinion evidence
of record and explain the weight assigned to such; (2) give
further consideration to Plaintiff's residual functional
capacity (“RFC”) during the relevant period; and
(3) take further action to complete the administrative record
resolving the above issues, and issue a new decision.”
(Mot. for Remand, ECF #18 at Pg. ID 743.)
Court agrees with the Commissioner that a de novo
hearing is not warranted. Ammons' fundamental criticism
of the ALJ's decision is that the ALJ made a number of
legal errors, not that the ALJ impeded her (Ammons')
ability to present evidence and develop an appropriate record
for decision. Likewise, Ammons has not persuaded the Court
that the current record is in any sense deficient or that the
ALJ could not properly determine her eligibility for benefits
based upon the current record.
Ammons has not identified any specific additional evidence
that she wishes to present at a new hearing. Instead, she
contends that at a new hearing she will have the opportunity
to answer some unidentified set of “questions that
could help develop the issue of her Fibromyalgia and prove
herself credible.” (Obj. to Mot. for Remand, ECF #19 at
Pg. ID 752.) But Ammons has not pointed to anything in the
record that suggests that she lacked the opportunity at the
prior hearing to describe her Fibromyalgia and demonstrate
her credibility. Indeed, Ammons provided ...