United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
MARK A. ANTHONY, Plaintiff
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.
HONORABLE DAVID M. LAWSON JUDGE
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION ON CROSS-MOTIONS FOR
SUMMARY JUDGMENT [ECF. NOS. 18, 22]
ELIZABETH A. STAFFORD UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Mark A. Anthony appeals the final decision of defendant
Commissioner of Social Security, which denied his application
for supplemental security income (SSI) 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)(B). After
review of the record, the Court RECOMMENDS
• Anthony's motion [ECF No. 18] be
• the Commissioner's motion [ECF No. 22] be
• the ALJ's decision be REMANDED
under sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
Anthony's Background and Disability Application
December 30, 1966, Anthony was 48 years old on the
application date, March 23, 2015. [ECF No. 14-3, Tr. 59, 67].
He has past relevant work as a painter. [Id., Tr.
67]. Anthony claims disability from lower back pain, left
shoulder pain and learning disorders. [ECF No. 14-6, Tr.
hearing during which Anthony and a vocational expert (VE)
testified, the ALJ found that Anthony was not disabled. [ECF
No. 14-2, Tr. 15-38; ECF No. 14-3, Tr. 57-68]. The Appeals
Council denied review, making the ALJ's decision the
final decision of the Commissioner. [ECF No. 14-2, Tr. 1-6].
Anthony 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. § 1382c(a)(3)(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. § 416.920(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 Anthony was not
disabled. At the first step, she found that Anthony had not
engaged in substantial gainful activity since the application
date, March 23, 2015.
No. 14-3, Tr. 59]. At the second step, she found that Anthony
had the severe impairments of “learning disorder,
attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression,
osteoarthritis of the left shoulder, and degenerative disc
disease of the lumbar spine.” [Id.]. Next, the
ALJ concluded that none of his impairments, either alone or
in combination, met or medically equaled the severity of a
listed impairment. [Id., Tr. 59-61]. Between the
third and fourth steps, the ALJ found that Anthony had the
RFC to perform light work, except that he could “never
climb ladders, ropes or scaffolds, and only occasionally
climb ramps or stairs, ” only occasionally stoop,
kneel, crouch and crawl, and only “occasionally perform
overhead reaching with his left upper extremity.” He
was also “limited to only simple, routine and
repetitive tasks performed in a low stress environment, which
is defined as involving only simple work-related decisions;
and with little to no changes in work setting or
routine.” He also “requires the option to
alternate between sitting and standing, spending no more than
20 minutes in each position.” [Id., Tr. 61].
At step four, the ALJ found that Anthony could not do his
past relevant work as a painter. [Id., Tr. 67]. At
the final step, after considering Anthony's age,
education, work experience, RFC and the testimony of the VE,
the ALJ determined that there were jobs in significant
numbers that Anthony could perform, including positions as
packager, machine tender and line attendant. [Id.,