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Shaw v. Colvin

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Orangeburg Division

August 26, 2016

Vonzetta Sanders Shaw, Plaintiff,
v.
Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.

          ORDER

          R. Bryan Harwell United States District Judge.

         This matter is before the Court following the issuance of a Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) by United States Magistrate Judge Kaymani D. West.[1] Plaintiff, Vonzetta Sanders Shaw, 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.

         Factual Findings and Procedural History

         Plaintiff applied for DIB in April of 2012, alleging disability as of November 4, 2011. 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 July 18, 2013. Plaintiff, represented by counsel, appeared and testified. A vocational expert also testified. The ALJ issued a decision on August 30, 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, 2016.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since November 4, 2011, the alleged onset date (20 C.F.R. 404.1571 et seq.).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: morbid obesity and non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus with neuropathy (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, and 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) except she must be allowed liberal opportunity to alternate between sitting and standing at will, and can frequently but not constantly use her bilateral lower extremities for foot controls. She can frequently use her bilateral upper extremities for fine and gross manipulations, and must avoid environmental irritants such as fumes, dust, chemicals, noxious odors, and poor ventilation. Lastly, the claimant must avoid workplace hazards such as unprotected heights or dangerous, moving machinery.
6. The claimant is capable of performing past relevant work as a phlebotomist. This work does not require the performance of work-related activities precluded by the claimant's residual functional capacity (20 C.F.R. 404.1565).
7. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from November 4, 2011, through the date of this decision (20 C.F.R. 404.1520(f)).

[ALJ Decision, ECF #10-2, at 22-29, Tr. 21-28].

         On March 4, 2015, after finding that the ALJ did not adequately address the opinions set forth in medical source statements dated December 18, 2011, the Appeals Council issued its own decision adopting the ALJ's findings that Plaintiff was not disabled and was capable of returning to her past relevant work. Plaintiff filed this action on April 30, 2015, seeking judicial review of the Commissioner's decision. [Compl., ECF #1]. Both Plaintiff and Defendant filed briefs, [ECF ## 12, 13 & 14]. The Magistrate Judge issued her Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) on June 22, 2016, recommending that the Commissioner's decision be reversed and remanded for further administrative consideration. [R&R, ECF #17]. Defendant filed timely objections to the R&R on July 11, 2016. [Defendant's Objections, ECF #19]. Plaintiff filed a response to Defendant's objections on July 25, 2016. [ECF #22].

         Standard ...


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