United States District Court, S.D. Alabama, Southern Division
CARL L. GRAYSON, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
BRADLEY MURRAY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Carl L. Grayson brings this action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3), seeking judicial review
of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security
(“the Commissioner”) denying his claim for a
Period of Disability, Disability Insurance Benefits
(“DIB”) and Supplemental Security Income
(“SSI”), based on disability. The parties have
consented to the exercise of jurisdiction by the Magistrate
Judge, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), for all
proceedings in this Court. (Doc. 21 (“In accordance
with the provisions of 28 U.S.C. 636(c) and Fed.R.Civ.P. 73,
the parties in this case consent to have a United States
Magistrate Judge conduct any and all proceedings in this
case, … order the entry of a final judgment, and
conduct all post-judgment proceedings.”)). See
also Doc. 22. Upon consideration of the administrative
record, Grayson's brief, the Commissioner's brief,
all other documents of record, and oral argument, it is
determined that the Commissioner's decision denying
benefits should be affirmed.
20, 2013, Grayson applied for a Period of Disability and DIB,
under Title II of the Social Security Act, and for SSI, based
on disability, under Title XVI of the Social Security Act
(“the Act”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 1381-1383d,
alleging disability beginning on December 31, 2012. (Tr.
312-327). After his application was denied at the initial
level of administrative review on September 24, 2013, Grayson
requested a hearing by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
(Tr. 139-43; 152-53). After an initial hearing was held on
November 5, 2014 before ALJ Renee Blackmon Hagler, but no
decision issued, a second hearing was held before ALJ L. Dawn
Pischek on February 10, 2016. (Tr. 87-120; 68-86). After ALJ
Pischek conducted a supplemental hearing on May 11, 2016, she
issued a decision denying Grayson's claims on August 25,
2016. (Tr. 50-67; 21-42). Grayson appealed the ALJ's
decision to the Appeals Council, which denied his request for
review on September 7, 2017. (Tr. 1-3).
exhausting his administrative remedies, Grayson sought
judicial review in this Court, pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§§ 405(g) and 1383(c). (Doc. 1). The Commissioner
filed an answer and the social security transcript on January
16, 2018. (Docs. 10, 11). On February 5, 2018, Grayson filed
a brief in support of his claim. (Doc. 12). The Commissioner
filed her brief on May 17, 2018. (Doc. 16). Oral argument was
held before the undersigned Magistrate Judge on August 8,
2018. (Doc. 20). The case is now ripe for decision.
CLAIMS ON APPEAL
presents the following claims in this appeal:
1. Whether the ALJ committed reversible error in violation of
Social Security Rulings 96-8p and 96-6p by failing to assess
mental limitations when formulating Grayson's Residual
Functional Capacity (RFC) despite finding that he had the
severe impairments of borderline intellectual functioning and
adjustment disorder; and
2. Whether the ALJ's RFC determination was supported by
substantial evidence. (Doc. 12 at p. 2).
was born on January 25, 1962, making him 51 years old at the
time he filed his claim for benefits. (Tr. 312). Grayson
initially alleged disability due to sleep apnea, insomnia,
high blood pressure, weak heart, forgetfulness, allergies,
asthma, borderline diabetes, and headaches. (Tr. 362). He
left high school during 12th grade in 1980, after
having attended primarily regular classes, but not performing
well, when he was in school. (Tr. 91-92, 355, 363). He has
not completed any type of specialized job training, trade, or
vocational school. (Tr. 92, 363). He worked until 2011 as a
cement finisher and from February to December of 2012 as a
stocker at Wal-Mart. (Tr. 93-94, 363). He stated that he lost
his most recent job due to job performance issues that arose
because of the problems associated with his sleep apnea and
insomnia. (Tr. 598).
generally handles his own personal care. (Tr. 100, 384).
During the relevant period here, he lived with his mom. (Tr.
71-72, 91, 383). According to Grayson, his mom cooks all of
his meals, does all of the shopping, and takes care of
household tasks. (Tr. 100, 385-86). He does not pay bills,
handle a savings account, or use a checkbook or money orders
because he sometimes makes mistakes with his money and his
mom does everything for him. (Tr. 386-87). He spends his time
watching television and talking to his mom and children. (Tr.
101, 387). He alleges that he cannot pay attention for long
because he falls asleep and that he cannot follow written
instructions, but can follow spoken instructions if they are
repeated. (Tr. 388). He gets along with authority figures and
other people, but does not handle stress or changes in
routine well. (Tr. 389).
testified at the first hearing in November of 2014 that he
cannot do his prior jobs because of problems with his back,
knees, sleep apnea, and dizzy spells. (Tr. 95, 103-04). At
the second hearing in February of 2016, he continued to
complain of problems with his back, knees, sleep apnea, and
dizziness. (Tr. 72). At the time of both hearings, he used a
cane to assist with walking. (Tr. 76-77). After conducting
the hearing in February of 2016 and a supplemental hearing in
May of 2016, the ALJ made a determination that Grayson had
not been under a disability during the relevant time period,
and thus, was not entitled to benefits. (Tr. 21-).