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Smith v. Colvin

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

December 29, 2014

RALPH DAVID SMITH,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, ACTING COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, SECTION:

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

MICHAEL B. NORTH, Magistrate Judge.

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §636(b) and Local Rule 73.2(B), this matter comes before the Court on the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment following a decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration ("SSA") denying Plaintiff's application for Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB"). (Rec. docs. 10, 15).

Ralph David Smith, Plaintiff herein, filed the subject application for DIB on July 8, 2011 alleging disability as of June 17, 2011. (Tr. pp. 109-115). In a Disability Report that appears in the administrative record below, the conditions limiting Plaintiff's ability to work were identified as ventricular tachycardia and coronary artery disease. (Tr. pp. 133-139). Plaintiff's application for DIB was denied at the initial level of the Commissioner's administrative review process on August 10, 2011. (Tr. pp. 48-51). Pursuant to Plaintiff's-request, a hearing de novo before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") went forward on March 28, 2012 at which Plaintiff, who was represented by counsel, and a Vocational Expert ("VE") appeared and testified. (Tr. pp. 54-55, 22-37). On April 5, 2012, the ALJ issued a written decision in which she concluded that Plaintiff was not disabled within the meaning of the Social Security Act. (Tr. pp. 8-21). The Appeals Council ("AC") subsequently denied Plaintiff's request for review of the ALJ's decision on April 17, 2013, thus making the

ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner. (Tr. pp. 1-6). It is from that unfavorable decision that the Plaintiff seeks judicial review pursuant to the 42 U.S.C. §405(g).

In his cross-motion for summary judgment, Plaintiff frames the issues for judicial review as follows:

I. THE ALJ FAILED TO APPLY THE PROPER LEGAL STANDARD TO DETERMINE THE CREDIBILITY OF THE PLAINTIFF.
II. THE ALJ DID NOT APPLY THE CORRECT LEGAL STANDARD IN ASSESSING PLAINTIFF'S RESIDUAL FUNCTIONAL CAPACITY.

(Rec. doc. 10-1, p. 4).

Relevant to the resolution of those issues are the following findings that were made by the ALJ:
1. T he claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through December 31, 2015.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since June 17, et seq. 2011, the alleged onset date (20 CFR 404.1571).
3. T he claimant has the following severe impairments: status-post single automatic implantable cardioverter defibrillator (AICD) implantation, and basal cell carcinoma of the skin (20 CFR 404.1520(c)).
4. T he 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 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, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform sedentary work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(a) except he cannot climb ladders, ropes, and scaffolds, cannot work at heights ...

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