Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Thurston v. Commissioner of Social Security

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

June 10, 2019

TODD THURSTON, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

          Honorable Gershwin A. Drain

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION ON CROSS-MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT [ECF. NOS. 10, 13]

          ELIZABETH A. STAFFORD, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff Todd Thurston appeals a final decision of defendant Commissioner of Social Security (Commissioner) denying his 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 under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). The Court RECOMMENDS that:

• Thurston's motion [ECF No. 10] be DENIED;
• the Commissioner's motion [ECF No. 13] be GRANTED; and
• the ALJ's decision be AFFIRMED under sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Background and Disability Application

         Born December 15, 1963, Thurston was 51 years old on the date of application, and he alleged an onset date of July 15, 2014. [ECF No. 8-5, Tr. 152-54]. His last insured date was March 31, 2016. [ECF No. 8-2, Tr. 33]. He has a high school diploma and has past relevant work as an auto mechanic and delivery route driver. [Id., Tr. 35, 38-39]. Thurston claimed disability from chronic left shoulder pain post clavicle fracture, degenerative disc disease with narrowing of the cervical spine, multilevel narrowing and degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine, and depression. [ECF No. 8-6, Tr. 249].

         After a hearing in October 2017, during which Thurston and a vocational expert (VE) testified, the ALJ found him not disabled. [ECF No. 8-2, Tr. 32-63]. The Appeals Council denied review, making the ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner. [Id., Tr. 1-3]. Thurston timely filed for judicial review. [ECF No. 1].

         B. The ALJ's Application of the Disability Framework Analysis

         A “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).

         The 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).

         Applying this framework, the ALJ concluded that Thurston was not disabled. At the first step, he found that Thurston had not engaged in substantial gainful activity from his alleged onset date to his last insured date. [ECF No. 8-2, Tr. 12]. At the second step, he found that Thurston had the severe impairments of “degenerative disc disease of the lumbar and cervical spine; left clavicle fracture, status post ORIF; left scapular fracture; and COPD.” [Id., Tr. 12]. Next, the ALJ concluded ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.