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, 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
Findings and Procedural History
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
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].
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].