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McCaskill v. Department of Health and Human Services

United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Southern Division

March 30, 2015

CEDRIC MCCASKILL, Plaintiff,
v.
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER OVERRULING PLAINTIFF CEDRIC MCCASKILL'S [27] OBJECTIONS, ADOPTING MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S [26] REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION, AND AFFIRMING DECISION OF THE COMMISSIONER

HALIL SULEYMAN OZERDEN, District Judge.

BEFORE THE COURT are the Objections [27] filed by Plaintiff Cedric McCaskill to the Report and Recommendation [26] of United States Magistrate Judge Robert H. Walker. The Magistrate Judge reviewed Plaintiff Cedric McCaskill's Motion for Summary Judgment [12] which asked the Court to review the Social Security Administration's denial of his claim for Social Security disability benefits and supplemental security income. Plaintiff Cedric McCaskill filed a Motion to Expedite Status Conference [16] arguing that the administrative record had been improperly enlarged during the parties' briefing of that Motion [12]. The Magistrate Judge also reviewed an Emergency Motion for Protective Order [21] filed by the Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration. The Magistrate Judge recommended that the Commissioner of Social Security's decision be affirmed, that the Motion to Expedite Status Conference [16] be denied, and that the Emergency Motion for Protective Order [21] be granted. Report and Recommendation 14 [26].

Plaintiff now objects [27] to the Report and Recommendation [26], and Defendant Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration has filed a Response [28] to the objection. After review of the record and relevant legal authorities, the Court finds that Plaintiff's Objections [27] should be overruled, that the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation [26] should be adopted in its entirety as the finding of this Court, and that the decision denying disability benefits should be affirmed.

I. BACKGROUND

A. The Administrative Law Judge's Decision

Plaintiff Cedric McCaskill ("Claimant") applied for disability insurance benefits and for supplemental security income ("SSI") on February 18, 2009, claiming that he had been under a disability since October 27, 2007. R. 24, 161 [9]. Defendant Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration ("the Commissioner") initially denied the claim on June 19, 2009, and upon reconsideration on August 17, 2009. Id. at 48. Claimant filed a request for hearing on September 8, 2009, and a hearing was held on January 5, 2011. Id. at 161. The Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") issued a decision denying Claimant's application on January 24, 2011, but the Appeals Council remanded that decision on March 29, 2012, for further findings to be made by the ALJ. Id. at 175-77.

After conducting a second hearing on July 24, 2012, the ALJ determined on November 26, 2012, that:

1. [C]laimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through December 31, 2012....
2. [C]laimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since October 27, 2007, the alleged onset date (20 CFR 404.1571[])....
3. [C]laimant has the following severe impairments: status post back surgery, illiteracy, and depression (20 CFR 404.1520(c))....
4. [C]laimant 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, or 404.1526)....
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds [Claimant] has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) except occasional postural activities, no climbing of ladders, scaffolds or ropes, a sit/stand option allowing for standing up to 30 minutes at a time, walking up to thirty minutes at a time and sitting up to 30 minutes at a time, low stress where there is likely not to be confrontation in the workplace with coworkers, in receiving supervision or dealing with the general public, no timed production work or piece work, and involving simple, routine, repetitive work....
6. [C]laimant is unable to perform any past relevant work (20 CFR 404.1565)....
7. [C]laimant was born on August 25, 1968, and was 39 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the alleged disability onset date (20 CFR 404.1563)....
8. [C]laimant has a limited 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 [C]laimant has transferable job skills ( See SSR 82-41 and 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, [App.] 2)....
10.Considering [C]laimant's age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity, there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that the claimant can perform (20 CFR 404.1569 and 404.1569(a))....

Id. at 26-36. Based on the foregoing, the ALJ concluded that Claimant "has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from October 27, 2007, through the date of this decision...." Id. at 37 (citing 20 CFR 404.1520(g)).

For the purposes of his Objections [27], Claimant's disability claim centered on whether he established that he met the criteria of an intellectual disability as set forth in Listing 12.05 of the Social Security Administration's Listing of Impairments, 20 C.F.R. Pt. 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1, which provides in pertinent part:

12.05 Intellectual disability: Intellectual disability refers to significantly subaverage general intellectual functioning with deficits in adaptive functioning initially manifested during the developmental period; i.e., the evidence ...

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