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Manning v. Berryhill

United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Northeastern Division

January 13, 2020

ROGER DALE MANNING, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, ACTING COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          LILES C. BURKE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         On March 5, 2018, the Plaintiff Roger Manning filed a complaint (Doc. 1) seeking judicial review of an adverse final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (“the Commissioner”) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). The Commissioner filed an answer to the complaint on June 20, 2018. (Doc. 7). The Plaintiff filed a brief in support of his position on September 6, 2018, (Doc. 11), and the Commissioner filed a brief in support of the decision on October 9, 2018. (Doc. 11). Therefore, this issue is ripe for review. For the following reasons stated below, the final decision of the Commissioner is affirmed.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The Plaintiff protectively filed for a period of disability and disability insurance benefits on August 6, 2014. (R. 11). He alleged that his disability began on June 12, 2013. Id. The Plaintiff's claim for benefits was denied on January 12, 2015, and the he subsequently filed a request for a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) on February 5, 2015. Id. The Plaintiff appeared before ALJ Patrick Digby on June 7, 2017. Id. The Plaintiff testified at the hearing and was questioned by his attorney and the ALJ. (R. 45, 51). Vocational Expert Marilyn J. Stroud also testified at the hearing. (R. 54). The ALJ issued his opinion on July 21, 2017. (R. 24). When he issued his opinion, the ALJ used the five-step evaluation process to determine whether an individual is disabled. (R. 12). The ALJ made the following determinations:

1. The Plaintiff meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through December 31, 2018. (R. 13).
2. The Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since June 12, 2013, the alleged onset date of disability. Id.
3. The Plaintiff has the following severe impairments: migraine headaches and degenerative disk disease. Id.
4. The Plaintiff 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. (R. 15).
5. The Plaintiff has the residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b). He can occasionally climb ramps or stairs. He can also balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl. He can never climb ladders, ropes, and scaffolds. He must avoid: concentrated exposure to extreme heat, cold, heat, wetness, humidity, and vibration; exposure to hazardous machinery; and unprotected heights and uneven terrain. Id.
6. The Plaintiff can perform past relevant work as: a production manager, a position consistent with Dictionary of Occupational Titles (“DOT”) #123.117-014; computer operator, DOT # 213.362-010; production coordinator, DOT #211.167-018; and sales representative, data processing services, DOT #251.157-014. (R. 23).
7. The Plaintiff has not been under a disability as defined in the Social Security Act, from June 12, 2013, through July 21, 2017. Id.

         After the ALJ denied his claim, The Plaintiff requested an appeal to the Appeals Council and was denied on January 8, 2018. (R. 1). At that point, the ALJ's decision became the final decision of the Commissioner. Henry v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 802 F.3d 1264, 1267 (11th Cir. 2015). The Plaintiff filed this action on March 5, 2018. (Doc. 1).

         II. DISCUSSION

         The Social Security Administration (“SSA”) is authorized to pay Supplemental Security Insurance (“SSI”) and disability insurance to claimants that have a disability. Washington v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 906 F.3d 1353, 1358 (11th Cir. 2018). Title II of the Social Security Act defines disability as “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 that has lasted ...


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