Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Alaounis v. Berryhill

United States District Court, D. South Carolina

June 15, 2017

Raymond Joseph Alaounis, Plaintiff,
v.
Nancy A. Berryhill, Commissioner of Social Security Administration, Defendant.

          ORDER

          The Honorable Bruce Howe Hendricks United States District Judge.

         This is an action brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) seeking judicial review of the Commissioner of Social Security's (“Commissioner”) final decision, which denied Plaintiff Raymond Joseph Alaounis's (“Plaintiff”) claims for disability insurance benefits (“DIB”) and supplemental security income (“SSI”). The record includes the report and recommendation (“Report”) of United States Magistrate Judge Thomas Rogers, which was made in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2)(a) (D.S.C.).

         In his Report, filed on February 15, 2017, the Magistrate Judge recommends that the Court affirm the Commissioner's final decision denying benefits. Plaintiff filed timely objections to the Report, and the Commissioner filed a response to those objections. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) (providing that a party may object, in writing, to a Magistrate Judge's Report within fourteen days after being served a copy). For the reasons stated below, the Court respectfully declines to adopt the Magistrate Judge's Report and instead remands the matter for further administrative proceedings as outlined in this order.

         BACKGROUND

         On September 4, 2012, Plaintiff applied for DIB and SSI, alleging a disability onset date of August 20, 2012. Both claims were denied initially and upon reconsideration, and Plaintiff requested a hearing. A hearing took place on August 1, 2014, and both Plaintiff and a vocational expert (“VE”) testified. On October 2, 2014, the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) denied Plaintiff's claims, finding that he was not disabled under the Social Security Act. Plaintiff filed a request for review of the ALJ's decision, but the Appeals Council denied the request on December 18, 2015, making the ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner.

         Plaintiff was born on June 18, 1962, and was over fifty years old as of the alleged onset date. Plaintiff completed his education through eighth grade and has past relevant work experience as a driver for a moving company and a driver/mechanic for a supply company. Plaintiff alleged disability originally due to hypertension, cardiomyopathy, severe left ventricular 25-30% ejection fraction, decompensated systolic congestive failure, dyslipidemia, diabetes, shortness of breath, orthopnea, and dyspnea.[1]

         STANDARDS OF REVIEW

         I. The Magistrate Judge's Report

         The Court conducts a de novo review to those portions of the Magistrate Judge's Report to which a specific objection is made, and the Court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the recommendations contained in the Report. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). Any written objection must specifically identify the portion of the Report to which the objection is made and the basis for the objection. Id.

         II. Judicial Review of a Final Decision

         The federal judiciary plays a limited role in the administrative scheme as established by the Social Security Act. Section 205(g) of the Act provides that “[t]he findings of the Commissioner of Social Security, as to any fact, if supported by substantial evidence, shall be conclusive . . . .” 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). “Consequently, judicial review . . . of a final decision regarding disability benefits is limited to determining whether the findings are supported by substantial evidence and whether the correct law was applied.” Walls v. Barnhart, 296 F.3d 287, 290 (4th Cir. 2002). “Substantial evidence” is defined as:

evidence which a reasoning mind would accept as sufficient to support a particular conclusion. It consists of more than a mere scintilla of evidence but may be somewhat less than a preponderance. If there is evidence to justify a refusal to direct a verdict were the case before a jury, then there is “substantial evidence.”

Shively v. Heckler, 739 F.2d 987, 989 (4th Cir. 1984) (quoting Laws v. Celebreeze, 368 F.2d 640, 642 (4th Cir. 1966)). In assessing whether substantial evidence exists, the reviewing court should not “undertake to reweigh conflicting evidence, make credibility determinations, or substitute [its] judgment for that of” the agency. M ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.