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Grady v. Commissioner of Social Security

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

July 2, 2019

JOHN E. GRADY, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

          Gershwin A. Drain District Judge.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          MONA K. MAJZOUB UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Plaintiff John E. Grady seeks judicial review under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) of Defendant Commissioner of Social Security's determination that he is not entitled to benefits under the Social Security Act. (Docket no. 1.) Before the Court are Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment (docket no. 11) and Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (docket no. 14). This matter has been referred to the undersigned for determination of all non-dispositive motions pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A) and issuance of a Report and Recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and (C). (Docket no. 3.) Having reviewed the pleadings, the Court dispenses with a hearing pursuant to Eastern District of Michigan Local Rule 7.1(f)(2) and issues this Report and Recommendation.

         I. RECOMMENDATION

         For the reasons that follow, it is recommended that Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment (docket no. 11) be DENIED, that Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (docket no. 14) be GRANTED, and that the case be dismissed in its entirety.

         II. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Plaintiff applied for Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) and Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) on July 10, 2015, alleging that he has been disabled since September 30, 2014. (TR 205-214.) The Social Security Administration initially denied Plaintiff's claims on November 16, 2015. (TR 100-133.) On June 8, 2017, Plaintiff appeared with counsel and testified at a hearing before Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) James Kent. (TR 34-51.)

         On September 25, 2017, the ALJ issued an unfavorable decision on Plaintiff's claims. (TR 15-31.) Plaintiff requested review by the Appeals Council, which was denied on March 14, 2018. (TR 1-3.) On May 2, 2018, Plaintiff commenced this action for judicial review. (Docket no. 1.) The parties filed cross motions for summary judgment, which are currently before the Court. (Docket no. 11; docket no. 14.)

         III. HEARING TESTIMONY AND MEDICAL EVIDENCE

         Plaintiff sets forth a brief procedural history of this matter as well as a short summary of his medical issues. (Docket no. 11, pp. 4-10.) In addition, the ALJ summarized Plaintiff's medical record (TR 13-20), and Defendant adopted the ALJ's recitation of the facts (docket no. 14, p. 4). Having conducted an independent review of Plaintiff's medical record and the hearing transcript, the undersigned finds that there are no material inconsistencies among these recitations of the record. Therefore, in lieu of re-summarizing this information, the undersigned will incorporate the above-cited factual recitations by reference and will also refer to the record as necessary to address the parties' arguments throughout this Report and Recommendation.

         IV. ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE'S DETERMINATION

         The ALJ determined that Plaintiff met the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through September 30, 2017. (TR 13.) The ALJ found that Plaintiff engaged in substantial gainful activity between October and December of 2015, but that there had been a continuous twelve-month period during which Plaintiff did not engage in substantial gainful activity. (Id.) In addition, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had the following severe impairments: “Hepatitis C, status post traumatic right lower extremity injuries, anxiety, panic disorder, adjustment disorder with depressed mood, cannabis use disorder, and opiate use disorder.” (Id.) Nevertheless, the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that met or medically equaled the severity of one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. (TR 14.) The ALJ determined that Plaintiff had the Residual Functional Capacity (“RFC”) to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b), subject to the following non-exertional limitations:

▪ Plaintiff can never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds.
▪ Plaintiff can occasionally balance, kneel, stoop, crouch, crawl, and climb ramps and stairs.
▪ Plaintiff can occasionally push, pull and operate foot controls with his right lower extremity.
▪ Plaintiff must avoid concentrated exposure to extreme cold and vibration.
▪ Plaintiff must avoid all exposure to hazards, such as unprotected heights ...

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