United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Beaufort Division
C. NORTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the court on United States Magistrate Judge
Bristow Marchant's Report and Recommendation
(“R&R”) that this court affirm Acting
Commissioner of Social Security Nancy A. Berryhill's
(“the Commissioner”) decision denying plaintiff
Karletta Virginia Mood's (“Mood”) application
for disability insurance benefits (“DIB”). Mood
filed objections to the R&R. For the reasons set forth
below, the court rejects the R&R, reverses the
Commissioner's decision, and remands for further
otherwise noted, the following background is drawn from the
August 29, 2013, Mood filed an application for DIB in which
she alleged her disability began on June 30,
2010. The Social Security Agency denied
Mood's claim initially and on reconsideration. Mood
requested a hearing before an administrative law judge
(“ALJ”), and ALJ Marcus Christ held a hearing on
November 23, 2015.
issued a decision on January 28, 2016, finding that Mood was
not disabled under the Social Security Act. The Appeals
Council denied Mood's request for review, rendering the
ALJ's decision the final action of the Commissioner. On
July 10, 2017, Mood filed this action seeking review of the
ALJ's decision. The magistrate judge issued an R&R on
August 24, 2018, recommending that this court affirm the
ALJ's decision. Mood filed objections to the R&R on
September 6, 2018, and the Commissioner responded to
Mood's objections on September 20, 2018. The matter is
now ripe for the court's review.
Mood's medical history is not directly at issue here, the
court dispenses with a lengthy recitation thereof and instead
notes a few relevant facts. Mood was born on December 8, 1982
and was 27 years old at the time of her alleged disability
onset date. She communicates in English and has a high school
education plus two years of college education. Her past
relevant work experience was as a machine operator, store
laborer, sales clerk, and general inspector.
employed the statutorily-required five-step sequential
evaluation process to determine whether Mood was disabled
from June 30, 2010 through the date last insured, June 30,
2014. The ALJ first determined that Mood did not engage in
substantial gainful activity during the period at issue. Tr.
29. At the second step, the ALJ found that Mood suffered from
the following severe impairments: deep venous thrombosis and
obesity. Id. At step three, the ALJ found that
Mood's impairments or combination of impairments did not
meet or equal one of the listed impairments in the
Agency's Listings of Impairments (“the
Listings”). Id.; see 20 C.F.R. Part
404, Subpart P, App'x 1.
reaching the fourth step, the ALJ determined Mood had the
residual function capacity (“RFC”) to perform
sedentary work with several limitations. Tr. 30- 33.
Specifically, the ALJ found that Mood could only engage in
sedentary work without climbing ladders, ropes, or scaffolds;
she could occasionally climb ramps and stairs, balance,
stoop, kneel, and crouch; she needed to avoid working at
unprotected heights; and she needed to use a hand held
assistive device for uneven terrain or prolonged ambulation.
Id. The ALJ found at step four that Mood was not
capable of performing past relevant work as a machine
operator, store laborer, sales clerk, or general inspector.
Tr. 33. Finally, at step five, the ALJ determined that,
considering Mood's age, education, work experience, and
RFC, she could perform jobs existing in significant numbers
in the national economy, and concluded that she was not
disabled during the period in issue. Tr. 33-34.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
court is charged with conducting a de novo review of
any portion of the magistrate judge's R&R to which
specific, written objections are made. 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1). A party's failure to object is accepted as
agreement with the conclusions of the magistrate judge.
See Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 149-50 (1985). The
recommendation of the magistrate judge carries no presumptive
weight, and the ...