United States District Court, S.D. Alabama, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
BRADLEY MURRAY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Lorenzo Bennett brings this action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g), seeking judicial review of a final decision of
the Commissioner of Social Security denying his claim for a
period of disability and disability insurance 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. (Doc. 16 (“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.”); see also
Doc. 18 (endorsed order of reference by District Judge
William H. Steele)). Upon consideration of the administrative
record, Plaintiff’s brief, and the Commissioner’s
brief,  the Court concludes that the
Commissioner’s decision denying benefits should be
reversed and remanded for further proceedings not
inconsistent with this decision.
protectively filed an application for a period of disability
and disability insurance benefits on or about March 4, 2016,
alleging disability beginning on December 7, 2015.
(See Tr. 173-74). Bennett’s claim was
initially denied on April 14, 2016 (Tr. 68 & 82-86) and,
following Plaintiff’s April 28, 2016 oral request for a
hearing before an Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) (see Tr. 89-90), hearings were
conducted before an ALJ on October 3, 2017 (Tr. 51-66) and,
again, on May 15, 2018 (Tr. 35-49). On June 27, 2018, the ALJ
issued a decision finding that the claimant was not disabled
and, therefore, not entitled to disability insurance
benefits. (Tr. 12-20). More specifically, the ALJ determined
that Bennett retains the residual functional capacity to
perform sedentary work as defined in 20 C.F.R. §
404.1567(a), with limitations, and those sedentary jobs
identified by the VE during the hearing on May 15, 2018
(compare Tr. 19 with Tr. 45-47). On July 6,
2018, the Plaintiff appealed the ALJâs unfavorable decision
to the Appeals Council (Tr. 171); the Appeals Council denied
Plaintiffâs request for review on February 8, 2019 (Tr. 1-3).
Thus, the hearing decision became the final decision of the
Commissioner of Social Security.
alleges disability due to rheumatoid arthritis, major joint
dysfunction, and obesity. The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)
made the following relevant findings:
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since December 7, 2015, the alleged onset date (20
CFR 404.1571 et seq.)
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: major
joint dysfunction and obesity (20 CFR 404.1520(c)).
. . .
4. 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 404.1520(d), 404.1525 and 404.1526).
. . .
5. 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 404.1567(a) except that he only can lift/carry up to
20 pounds occasionally; sit for 8 hours in an 8-hour workday;
stand for 20 minutes at one time and [a] total of 2 hours in
an 8-hour workday with breaks; walk 20 minutes at one time
and [a] total of 1 hour in an 8-hour workday with breaks. The
claimant, who is right hand dominant, can never use his right
hand for reaching overhead, but occasionally, he can do all
other reaching, handling, fingering, feeling and
pushing/pulling with either hand. He can never use his feet
for the operation of foot controls. He can occasionally climb
stairs and ramps and balance; he can never climb ladders or
scaffolds, and never stoop, kneel, crouch or crawl. At the
initial hearing, claimant’s attorney stipulated that no
non-exertional limitations are alleged or shown in the
medical evidence of record.
. . .
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work