United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
PHILLIP J. GREEN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
a social security action brought under 42 U.S.C. §§
405(g), 1383(c)(3), seeking review of a final decision of the
Commissioner of Social Security, finding that plaintiff was
not entitled to disability insurance benefits (DIB) and
supplemental security income (SSI) benefits. Plaintiff filed
his application for DIB benefits on August 12, 2015. He filed
his application for SSI benefits on January 29, 2016. He
alleged a March 27, 2015, onset of disability. (ECF No. 7-5,
PageID.244, 256). Plaintiff's claims were denied on
initial review. (ECF No. 7-4, PageID.163-79). On June 13,
2017, he received a hearing before an ALJ. (ECF No. 7-2,
PageID.75-110). The ALJ issued his decision on September 20,
2017, finding that plaintiff was not disabled. (Op., ECF No.
7-2, PageID.52-67). On May 25, 2018, the Appeals Council
denied review (ECF No. 7-2, PageID.42-44), rendering the
ALJ's decision the Commissioner's final decision.
timely filed a complaint seeking judicial review. Plaintiff
argues that the Commissioner's decision should be
overturned on the following ground:
I. The ALJ erred in not incorporating limitations from all
the medically determinable impairments, both severe and
non-severe, into the Residual Functional Capacity, in not
considering the combined impact thereof, and in failing to
build an accurate and logical bridge between the evidence and
(Plf. Brief, 5, ECF No. 12, PageID.1506). For the reasons
stated herein, the Commissioner's decision will be
reviewing the grant or denial of social security benefits,
this Court is to determine whether the Commissioner's
findings are supported by substantial evidence and whether
the Commissioner correctly applied the law. See Elam ex
rel. Golay v. Commissioner, 348 F.3d 124, 125 (6th Cir.
2003); Buxton v. Halter, 246 F.3d 762, 772 (6th Cir.
2001). Substantial evidence is defined as “such
relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as
adequate to support a conclusion.” Richardson v.
Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971). The scope of the
court's review is limited. Buxton, 246 F.3d at
772. The court does not review the evidence de novo, resolve
conflicts in evidence, or make credibility determinations.
See Ulman v. Commissioner, 693 F.3d 709, 713 (6th
Cir. 2012). “The findings of the Commissioner of Social
Security as to any fact, if supported by substantial
evidence, shall be conclusive[.]” 42 U.S.C. §
405(g); see McClanahan v. Commissioner, 474 F.3d
830, 833 (6th Cir. 2006). “The findings of the
Commissioner are not subject to reversal merely because there
exists in the record substantial evidence to support a
different conclusion. . . . This is so because there is a
‘zone of choice' within which the Commissioner can
act without fear of court interference.”
Buxton, 246 F.3d at 772-73; see Gayheart v.
Commissioner, 710 F.3d 365, 374 (6th Cir. 2013)
(“A reviewing court will affirm the Commissioner's
decision if it is based on substantial evidence, even if
substantial evidence would have supported the opposite
found that plaintiff met the disability insured status
requirements of the Social Security Act through December 30,
2019. (Op., 5, ECF No. 7-2, PageID.56). Plaintiff had not
engaged in substantial gainful activity since March 27, 2015,
the alleged onset of disability. (Id.). Plaintiff
had the following severe impairments: “chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, osteoarthritis,
sensorineural hearing loss, degenerative disc disease (DDD)
of the cervical and lumbar spine, hypertension, depression
and anxiety disorder.” (Id.). Plaintiff did
not have an impairment or combination of impairments that met
or equaled the requirements of a listing impairment.
(Id. at 6, PageID.57). The ALJ found that plaintiff
retained the residual functional capacity (RFC) for a range
of light work with the following exceptions:
He can occasionally kneel, crouch, crawl and climb ladders,
ropes and scaffolds; and can frequently balance, stoop and
climb ramps or stairs. He cannot perform work that requires
fine hearing or frequent verbal communication. He is limited
to occasional exposure to extreme cold or heat, humidity, and
must avoid concentrated exposure to fumes, odors, dusts,
gasses, and poor ventilation. He is limited to simple,
routine, repetitive tasks with no fast-paced production
requirements; work that requires only occasional contact or
interaction with co-workers or the public; and work that does
not involve frequent significant changes or adaptations.
(Id. at 7, PageID.58).
found that plaintiff's statements concerning the
intensity, persistence, and limiting effects of his symptoms
were not entirely consistent with the medical evidence and
other evidence in the record. (Id. at 8, PageID.59).
found that plaintiff was not disabled at step four of the
sequential analysis because he was capable of performing his
past relevant work as a production assembler and as a
recycler. (Id. at 13-14, PageID.64-65).
the ALJ found that plaintiff was not disabled at step five of
the sequential analysis. The ALJ considered the testimony of
a vocational expert. In response to a hypothetical question
regarding a person of plaintiff's age with his RFC,
education, and work experience, the vocational expert
testified that there were approximately 370, 000 jobs that
exist in the national economy that he would be capable of
performing. (ECF No. 7-2, PageID.104-07). ...