United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Honorable Stephen J. Murphy, III
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION ON CROSS-MOTIONS FOR
SUMMARY JUDGMENT [ECF. NOS. 11, 12]
ELIZABETH A. STAFFORD UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Monyaka Burnett appeals the final decision of defendant
Commissioner of Social Security (Commissioner), which denied
her application for disability insurance benefits (DIB) under
the Social Security Act. Both parties have filed summary
judgment motions, referred to this Court for a report and
recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B).
After review of the record, the Court finds that the
administrative law judge's (ALJ) decision is supported by
substantial evidence and thus RECOMMENDS
. Burnett's motion [ECF No. 11] be
. the Commissioner's motion [ECF No. 12]
be GRANTED; and
. the ALJ's decision be
AFFIRMED pursuant to sentence four of 42
U.S.C. § 405(g).
Burnett's Background and Disability Applications
July 26, 1982, Burnett was 30 years old on the alleged
disability onset date of July 17, 2013, and 32 years old on
March 31, 2015, the date last insured. [ECF No. 9-2, Tr. 26].
She has past relevant work as a hairstylist and nail
technician. [Id.]. Burnett claims disability due to
a “severe compound fracture of the fibula with
surgery.” [ECF No. 9-5, Tr. 153].
hearing on March 9, 2016, during which Burnett and a
vocational expert (VE) testified, the ALJ found that Burnett
was not disabled. [Id., Tr. 32-71]. The Appeals
Council denied review, making the ALJ's decision the
final decision of the Commissioner. [Id., Tr. 1-6].
Burnett timely filed for judicial review. [ECF No. 1].
The ALJ's Application of the Disability Framework
“disability” is 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 determines whether an applicant is disabled by
analyzing five sequential steps. First, if the applicant is
“doing substantial gainful activity, ” he or she
will be found not disabled. 20 C.F.R. §404.1520(a)(4).
Second, if the claimant has not had a severe impairment or a
combination of such impairments for a continuous period of at
least 12 months, no disability will be found. Id.
Third, if the claimant's severe impairments meet or equal
the criteria of an impairment set forth in the
Commissioner's Listing of Impairments, the claimant will
be found disabled. Id. If the fourth step is
reached, the Commissioner considers its assessment of the
claimant's residual functional capacity
(“RFC”), and will find the claimant not disabled
if he or she can still do past relevant work. Id. At
the final step, the Commissioner reviews the claimant's
RFC, age, education and work experiences, and determines
whether the claimant could adjust to other work. Id.
The claimant bears the burden of proof throughout the first
four steps, but the burden shifts to the Commissioner if the
fifth step is reached. Preslar v. Sec'y of Health
& Human Servs., 14 F.3d 1107, 1110 (6th Cir. 1994).
this framework, the ALJ concluded that Burnett was not
disabled. At the first step, she found that Burnett had not
engaged in substantial gainful activity during the relevant
period, the alleged onset date of July 17, 2013, through the
date last insured, March 31, 2015. [ECF No. 9-2, Tr. 21]. At
the second step, she found that Burnett had the severe
impairments of “non-displaced tibia and fibula
fracture, status post ORIF of the distal tibia and fibula,
morbid obesity, cervical degenerative disc disease, carpal
tunnel syndrome with left hand trauma, and history of
intermittent asthma.” [Id.]. ...