United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Beaufort Division
Bryan Harwell United States District Judge
Doris Lorraine Gleaton has brought this action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 405(g) seeking judicial review of the final
decision of the Commissioner of Social Security denying her
claim for disability insurance benefits (“DIB”).
This matter is now before the Court for review of the Report
and Recommendation (“R & R”) of United States
Magistrate Judge Bristow Marchant, made in accordance with 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Local Civil Rules 73.02(B)(2)(a)
and 83.VII.02 (D.S.C.). [ECF # 22');">22]. The Magistrate Judge
recommends that the Court affirm the decision of the
Commissioner. [ECF #22');">22, p. 30]. This Court has thoroughly
reviewed the record in this case and now issues the following
of Facts and Procedural History
Court is tasked with reviewing the denial of Plaintiff's
application for disability benefits. Plaintiff applied for
disability insurance benefits (“DIB”) on May 4,
2015, alleging a disability date of January 28, 2013 due to
fibromyalgia, insomnia, mood swings, vision problems,
rheumatoid arthritis, and problems with her breast and heart.
[ECF #19, p. 4]. The Magistrate Judge adequately set forth
Plaintiff's medical history in the R&R. [ECF #22');">22, pp.
3-11]. Briefly stated, medical records dating as far back as
2012 indicate Plaintiff received treatment for numbness and
tingling in her legs, and that she had myofascial tender
points above and below the waist. [ECF #10-11, Ex. 9F].
Approximately one year after Plaintiff's alleged
disability date, Dr. Michael J. Huggins treated Plaintiff for
anxiety and depression. [ECF #12-6, Ex. 28F]. Plaintiff's
treatment notes reflect that she was diagnosed with
fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis, though at least one
treatment note indicates that Plaintiff's rheumatologist
was not sure Plaintiff actually had fibromyalgia. [ECF #11-2,
Ex. 11F]. Plaintiff continually reported symptoms related to
fibromyalgia in her treatment records. Plaintiff underwent a
left total knee arthroplasty on April 9, 2015 and a right
total knee replacement on September 17, 2015. [ECF #10-11,
Ex. 9F; ECF #12-1, Ex. 20F]. She also underwent cataract
surgery on her left eye on July 9, 2015 and her right eye on
August 27, 2015. [ECF #12-1, Ex. 20F]. Her records also
indicate Plaintiff complained of generalized pain, including
back pain, hypertension, dry eye and eye irritation, and
vertigo. Plaintiff's records also indicate mental issues
related to anxiety and depression.
applied for disability on May 4, 2015. Plaintiff's claim
was denied initially and upon reconsideration. After she
requested and was granted a hearing, the ALJ denied her claim
on May 17, 2016. Plaintiff's request for a review by the
Appeals Council was eventually denied,  making the
findings and determination of the ALJ the final decision of
the Commissioner. The ALJ reviewed all of the medical history
in the record, as well as Plaintiff's testimony at the
hearing. The ALJ subsequently came up with several findings.
ALJ's findings were as follows:
(1) The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the
Social Security Act through December 31, 2019.
(2) The claimant engaged in substantial gainful activity
during the following periods: March 2013 through April 2014
(20 C.F.R. 404.1520(b) and 404.1571 et seq.).
(3) However, there has been a continuous 12-month period(s)
during which the claimant did not engage in substantial
gainful activity. The remaining findings address the
period(s) the claimant did not engage in substantial gainful
(4) The claimant has the following severe impairments:
obesity, hypertension, osteoarthritis in right foot,
fibromyalgia, degenerative joint disease of the knees,
status-post total knee arthroplasty and degenerative joint
disease of the right shoulder (20 C.F.R. 404.1520©).
(5) 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).
(6) After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual
functional capacity to perform sedentary work as defined in
20 C.F.R. 404.1567(a) except no ropes, ladders, or scaffolds,
no crawling and occasional other postural.[2" name="FN2" id="FN2">2] She would be
limited to no more than occasional exposure to extremes of
temperatures, no direct exposure to vibrations or unprotected
heights and no exposure to excessive humidity or wetness.
(7) The claimant is capable of performing past relevant work
as a facility assistant manager, transportation assistant and
greeter. 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).
(8) The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined
in the Social Security Act, from January 28, 2013 through the
date of this decision (20 C.F.R. 404.1520(f)).
[ECF #10-2, pp. 53-59].
March 17, 2017, Plaintiff filed a complaint seeking judicial
review of the Commissioner's decision. [ECF #1]. Both
Plaintiff and Defendant filed briefs [ECF #19, ECF #20], and
the Magistrate Judge issued a Report and Recommendation
(“R&R”) on May 3, 2018, recommending that the
Commissioner's decision be affirmed [ECF #22');">22]. The
Magistrate Judge determined that the ALJ properly addressed
the relevant medical findings, as well as considered
Plaintiff's testimony in determining that the ALJ's
decision is supported by substantial evidence. [ECF #22');">22, p.
29-30]. Plaintiff filed objections on May 17, 2018. [ECF
#23]. Plaintiff objects to the recommendation of the
Magistrate Judge based on the following arguments: (1) the
ALJ failed to perform a proper analysis of the claimant's
ability to perform past relevant work; (2) the ...