United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Matthew F. Leitman, Judge
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION ON CROSS-MOTIONS FOR
SUMMARY JUDGMENT [ECF NOS. 10, 11]
ELIZABETH A. STAFFORD, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Jermaine Morris 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. Â§ 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 that:
• Morris's motion [ECF No. 10] be
• the Commissioner's motion [ECF No. 11] be
• the ALJ's decision be AFFIRMED
under to sentence four and sentence six of 42 U.S.C. §
Background and Disability Application
October 3, 1972, Morris was 42 years old on the application
date, June 29, 2015. [ECF No. 8-5, Tr. 172]. He has past
relevant work as an assembly line worker. [ECF No. 8-2, Tr.
49-50]. Morris alleges disability because of back and knee
pain, carpal tunnel, diabetes, hypertension, neuropathy, GERD
and chronic kidney disease. [ECF No. 8-3, Tr. 91-92].
the Commissioner denied his application initially, Morris
requested a hearing, during which he and a vocational expert
(VE) testified. [ECF No. 8-2, Tr. 39-74]. In a November 2017
written decision, the ALJ found Morris not disabled.
[Id., Tr. 17-32]. The Appeals Council denied review,
making the ALJ's decision the final decision of the
Commissioner. [ECF No. 8-2, Tr. 1-6]. Morris 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 Morris was not
disabled. At the first step, he found that Morris had not
engaged in substantial gainful activity since the application
date, June 29, 2015. [ECF No. 8-2, Tr. 23]. At the second
step, he found that Morris had the severe impairments of
degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine with
radiculopathy, bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome, and disease
mellitus with mild diabetic neuropathy. [Id.].
the ALJ concluded that none of his impairments, either alone
or in combination, met or medically equaled the severity of a
listed impairment. [Id.].
the third and fourth steps, the ALJ found that Morris had the