United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Orangeburg Division
Bryan Harwell United States District Judge
matter is before the Court following the issuance of a Report
and Recommendation (“R&R”) by United States
Magistrate Judge Kaymani D. West. Plaintiff, Leona Ruth
Heeter, brought this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
405(g) seeking judicial review of a final decision of the
Commission of Social Security (“the
Commissioner”) denying Plaintiff’s claim for
Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) pursuant to
the Social Security Act. The Magistrate Judge recommended
reversing the Administrative Law Judge’s decision and
remanding the case for further administrative action.
Findings and Procedural History
applied for DIB on February 28, 2012, alleging disability as
of June 1, 2009. The applications were denied initially and
on reconsideration. Plaintiff then requested a hearing before
an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”). A hearing
was held before the ALJ on October 23, 2013. Plaintiff,
represented by counsel, appeared and testified. A vocational
expert also testified. The ALJ issued a decision on November
20, 2013, finding that Plaintiff was not disabled. The
ALJ’s findings are as follows:
1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the
Social Security Act through December 31, 2014.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since June 1, 2009, the alleged onset date (20
C.F.R. 404.1571 et seq.).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: obesity
and degenerative disc disease (20 C.F.R. 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 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart
P, Appendix 1 (20 C.F.R. 404.1520(d), 404.1525, 404.1526).
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual
functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20
C.F.R. 404.1567(b). Specifically, the claimant can lift and
carry up to 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently
and stand, walk, and sit for six hours each in an eight-hour
workday, with normal breaks. The claimant can occasionally
climb, crawl, crouch, and kneel.
6. The claimant is capable of performing past relevant work
as a server, product sorter, and cook. This work does not
require the performance of work-related activities precluded
by the claimant’s residual functional capacity (20
7. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined
in the Social Security Act, from June 1, 2009, through the
date of this decision (20 C.F.R. 404.1520(f)).
[ALJ Decision, ECF #10-2, at 21-28, Tr. 20-27].
ALJ’s finding became the final decision of the
Commissioner when the Appeals Council denied
Plaintiff’s request for further review on February 18,
2015. Plaintiff filed this action on April 23, 2015, seeking
judicial review of the ALJ’s decision. [Compl., ECF
#1]. Both Plaintiff and Defendant filed briefs, [ECF ## 18,
20 & 21]. The Magistrate Judge issued her Report and
Recommendation (“R&R”) on June 23, 2016,
recommending that the ALJ’s decision be reversed and
remanded for further administrative consideration. [R&R,
ECF #24]. Defendant filed timely objections to the R&R on
July 11, 2016. [Defendant’s Objections, ECF #25].
Plaintiff filed a response to Defendant’s objections on
July 28, 2016. [ECF #29].