United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Honorable Gershwin A. Drain Judge.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION ON CROSS-MOTIONS FOR
SUMMARY JUDGMENT [8, 9]
R. GRAND United States Magistrate Judge.
Carol Girouard-Bono (“Girouard-Bono”) brings this
action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), challenging the
final decision of Defendant Commissioner of Social Security
(“Commissioner”) denying her application for
Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) under the
Social Security Act (the “Act”). Both parties
have filed summary judgment motions (Docs. #8, 9), which have
been referred to this Court for a Report and Recommendation
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B).
reasons set forth below, the Court finds that the
Administrative Law Judge's (“ALJ”) conclusion
that Girouard-Bono is not disabled under the Act is not
supported by substantial evidence. Accordingly, the Court
recommends that the Commissioner's Motion for Summary
Judgment (Doc. #9) be
DENIED, Girouard-Bono's Motion for
Summary Judgment (Doc. #8) be
GRANTED IN PART to the extent it seeks
remand and DENIED IN PART to the extent it
seeks an award of benefits, and that, pursuant to sentence
four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), this case be
REMANDED to the ALJ for further proceedings
consistent with this Recommendation.
was 49 years old at the time of her alleged onset date of
January 1, 2008. (Tr. 54-55). For DIB purposes, her date last
insured was September 30, 2010. (Tr. 54). She completed high
school but had no further education. (Tr. 155). Girouard-Bono
has prior work history as a janitor, medical assistant,
teacher's aide, office clerk, and cashier. (Tr. 154-56,
173). She alleges disability as a result of breast cancer,
back pain, arthritis, migraine headaches, shoulder pain, and
anxiety. (Tr. 54-55, 154).
Girouard-Bono's application for DIB was denied at the
initial level on March 6, 2014 (Tr. 67-70), she timely
requested an administrative hearing, which was held on
December 7, 2015, before ALJ Ena Weathers (Tr. 24-52).
Girouard-Bono, who was represented by attorney William
Biebuyck, testified at the hearing, as did vocational expert
Pauline Pegram. (Id.). On February 1, 2016, the ALJ
issued a written decision finding that Girouard-Bono is not
disabled under the Act. (Tr. 12-19). On February 6, 2017, the
Appeals Council denied review. (Tr. 1-3). Girouard-Bono
timely filed for judicial review of the final decision on
March 21, 2017. (Doc. #1).
Court has thoroughly reviewed the transcript in this matter,
including Girouard-Bono's medical record, Function and
Disability Reports, and testimony as to her conditions and
resulting limitations. Instead of summarizing that
information here, the Court will make references and provide
citations to the transcript as necessary in its discussion of
the parties' arguments.
The ALJ's Application of the Disability Framework
the Act, DIB are available only for those who have a
“disability.” See Colvin v. Barnhart,
475 F.3d 727, 730 (6th Cir. 2007). The Act defines
“disability” as the “inability to engage in
any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically
determinable physical or mental impairment which can be
expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be
expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12
months.” 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A).
Commissioner's regulations provide that a disability is
to be determined through the application of a five-step
Step One: If the claimant is currently engaged in substantial
gainful activity, benefits are denied ...