United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
GORDON BAKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
case is before the Court for a Report and Recommendation
pursuant to Local Rule 73.02(B)(2)(a), D.S.C., concerning the
disposition of Social Security cases in this District, and
Title 28, United States Code, Section 636(b)(1)(B). Plaintiff
Thomas Lee Goodwin (“Plaintiff”) brought this
action pursuant to Section 205(g) of the Social Security Act,
as amended, (42 U.S.C. § 405(g)), to obtain judicial
review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social
Security Administration (the “Administration”)
regarding his claim for Disability Insurance Benefits
(“DIB”) under Title II of the Social Security Act
(the “Act”). For the reasons set forth below, the
undersigned recommends that this matter be remanded for
further consideration and analysis by the Commissioner.
FACTS AND ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEEDINGS
was 38 years old on his alleged disability onset date of May
13, 2007. (R. at 67, 82.) Plaintiff alleged disability due
to, inter alia, back pain; plantar fasciitis; mood disorder;
high blood pressure; migraines; and arthritis in his spine.
(Id. at 67.) Plaintiff has no past relevant work.
(Id. at 928.)
filed an application for DIB on July 25, 2013. (Id. at
67.) His application was denied initially on October 11,
2013, and on reconsideration on February 7, 2014.
(Id. at 82, 97.) A hearing was held on July 7, 2014,
before Administrative Law Judge Arthur L. Conover (the
“ALJ”). (Id. at 32-66.) On July 30,
2014, the ALJ issued a decision and found that Plaintiff was
not disabled. (Id. at 12-27.) The Appeals Council
denied Plaintiff's request for review on November 3,
2014. (Id. at 5-7.)
March 26, 2014, Plaintiff filed a complaint in the United
States District Court for the District of South Carolina,
Charleston Division, seeking review of the ALJ's
decision. (See C/A No. 2:15-cv-01386-RBH-MGB, Dkt. No. 1.) On
December 8, 2015, this Court remanded Plaintiff's case to
the Appeals Council for further consideration and analysis.
(R. at 1015.) Additional hearings were held before the ALJ on
July 12, 2016, (id. at 976-81), and January 9, 2017,
(id. at 948-75). On March 6, 2017, Plaintiff amended
his alleged disability onset date from May 13, 2007, to
November 5, 2010. (Id. at 1110.) On April 4, 2017,
the ALJ issued a second decision and again found that
Plaintiff was not disabled. (Id. at 910-30.) The
Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review,
making the ALJ's decision the Commissioner's final
decision for purposes of judicial review. (Id. at
making the determination that Plaintiff is not entitled to
benefits, the Commissioner has adopted the following findings
of the ALJ's 2017 decision:
(1) The claimant last met the insured status requirements of
the Social Security Act on December 31, 2013.
(2) The claimant did not engage in substantial gainful
activity during the period from his amended alleged onset
date of November 5, 2010, through his date last insured of
December 31, 2013 (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq.).
(3) Through the date last insured, the claimant had the
following severe impairments: degenerative disc disease,
depressive disorder, plantar fasciitis, and migraine
headaches (20 CFR 404.1520(c)).
(4) Through the date last insured, the claimant did not have
an impairment or combination of impairments that met or
medically equaled the severity of one of the listed
impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR
404.1520(d), 404.1525 and 404.1526).
(5) After careful consideration of the entire record, I find
that, through the date last insured, the claimant had the
residual functional capacity to perform simple, routine tasks
at the light exertional level as defined in 20 CFR
404.1567(b) except work requiring climbing ladders, ropes, or
scaffolds; kneeling; crawling; exposure to large crowds;
interaction with the general public; interaction with the
public as customers; interaction with more than a small group
of co-workers; exposure to loud background noise; or
concentrated exposure to harsh environmental irritants,
unprotected heights, or dangerous machinery; or more than
occasional pushing or pulling with the legs, overhead
reaching with both arms, stooping, crouching, balancing, or
climbing ramps or stairs. The claimant's workplace must
be an indoor, temperature-controlled environment. His work
must permit him to alternate between sitting and standing
positions at 35 to 45 minute intervals. The mental
limitations result from a combination of the claimant's
mental impairment, pain, and reported medication side
(6) Through the date last insured, the claimant was unable to
perform any past relevant work (20 CFR 404.1565).
(7) The claimant was born on June 7, 1968 and was 45 years
old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on
the date last insured (20 CFR 404.1563).
(8) The claimant has at least a high school education and is
able to communicate in English (20 CFR 404.1564).
(9) Transferability of job skills is not material to the
determination of disability because using the
Medical-Vocational Rules as a framework supports a finding
that the claimant is “not disabled, ” whether or
not the claimant has transferrable job skills (See SSR 82-41
and 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 2).
(10) Through the dated [sic] last insured, considering the
claimant's age, education, work experience, and residual
functional capacity, there were jobs that existed in
significant No. in the national economy that the claimant