United States District Court, S.D. Alabama, Southern Division
JONATHAN L. HUNTER, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
BRADLEY MURRAY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Jonathan L. Hunter brings this action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1383(c)(3), seeking judicial review of a final
decision of the Commissioner of Social Security denying his
claim for supplemental security income benefits. 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. (Docs. 20 & 21 (“In
accordance with 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.”)). Upon consideration of the
administrative record, Plaintiff's brief, the
Commissioner's brief, and the parties' arguments at
the February 5, 2018 hearing before the undersigned, the
Court concludes that the Commissioner's decision denying
benefits should be affirmed.
filed an application for supplemental security income
benefits on December 29, 2014, alleging disability beginning
on June 14, 2014. (See Tr. 173-77.) Hunter's
claim was initially denied on March 11, 2015 (Tr. 94 &
97-100) and, following Plaintiff's March 26, 2015 request
for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) (Tr. 105; see also Tr. 106-08
(SSA notice that it received the request for hearing on April
3, 2015)), a hearing was conducted before an ALJ on December
21, 2016 (Tr.32-84). On May 2, 2017, the ALJ issued a
decision finding that the claimant was not disabled and,
therefore, not entitled to supplemental security income
benefits. (Tr. 10-18.) More specifically, the ALJ determined
at the fifth step of the five-step sequential evaluation
process that Hunter retains the residual functional capacity
to perform those sedentary jobs identified by the vocational
expert (“VE”) during the administrative hearing
(compare Id. at 12-17 with Tr. 79-81). On
June 24, 2017, the Plaintiff appealed the ALJ's
unfavorable decision to the Appeals Council (see Tr.
155); the Appeals Council denied Hunter's request for
review on February 26, 2018 (Tr. 1-3). Thus, the hearing
decision became the final decision of the Commissioner of
alleges disability due to inflammatory bowel disease and
Crohn's Disease. The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) made
the following relevant findings:
2. The claimant has the following severe impairments:
inflammatory bowel disease and Crohns disease (20 CFR
. . .
3. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of
impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of
one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P,
Appendix 1 (20 CFR 416.920(d), 416.925 and 416.926).
. . .
4. After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual
functional capacity to perform sedentary work as defined in
20 CFR 416.967(a) except for lifting 10 pounds occasionally
and less than 10 pounds frequently; carrying 10 pounds
occasionally and less than 10 pounds frequently; sitting for
6 hours, standing for 2 hours, and walking for 2 hours; the
claimant can climb ramps and stairs occasionally; he can
never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds; and he can balance,
stoop, kneel, crouch and crawl occasionally. The claimant can
never work at unprotected heights, and never work with moving
. . .
5. The claimant has no past relevant work (20 CFR 416.965).
. . .
6. The claimant was born on September 1, 1987 and was 27
years old, which is defined as a younger individual age
18-44, on the date the ...