Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Rhyder v. Colvin

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

January 9, 2017

WILLIAM O. RHYDER, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM

          KOSIK, JUDGE.

         The above-captioned action is one seeking review of a decision of the Acting Commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner"), denying Plaintiff William O. Rhyder's application for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB") and Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") under Title II and Title XVI. For the reasons set forth below, we will vacate the decision of the Commissioner and remand the case to the Commissioner for further proceedings.

         I. Background

         Rhyder applied protectively for DIB and SSI on December 1, 2009, alleging disability beginning June 23, 2009. (Tr. 190-96, 197-201).[1] Rhyder later amended the alleged onset date to March 2, 2012. (Tr. 232). His claim was initially denied on June 2, 2010. (Tr. 118).

         Rhyder requested a hearing before the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") Office of Disability and Adjudication and Review of the Social Security Administration, and one was held on June 8, 2011. (Tr, 158-59, 59-93). At the hearing, Rhyder was represented by counsel, and a Vocational Expert testified. (Tr. 59-93). On August 24, 2011, the ALJ issued a decision denying Rhyder's application. (Tr. 127-43). Rhyder filed a request for review with the Appeals Council, which was granted. (Tr. 144-49). A second hearing was conducted on January 27, 2014 before the same ALJ. (Tr. 94-117). Again, Rhyder was represented by counsel and a Vocational Expert testified. (Id.). On March 22, 2014, the ALJ again issued a decision finding Rhyder not disabled. (Tr. 20-40). The Appeals Council subsequently denied Rhyder's request for review. (Tr. 1-6). Thus, the ALJ's decision stood as the final decision of the Commissioner.

         Rhyder filed a complaint in this Court on May 16, 2016. (Doc. 1). The Commissioner filed an answer on July 14, 2016. (Doc. 4). After supporting and opposing briefs were submitted (Docs. 8, 11, 12), the appeal[2] became ripe for disposition.

         Rhyder was born in March of 1957 (Tr. 118), and has a 10th grade education. (Tr.l 18). In the past, Rhyder worked as a warehouse worker, forklift operator, and auto body technician. (Tr. 126, 138, 269). Rhyder has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since the amended alleged onset date of disability, March 2, 2012. (Tr. 25, 232).

         Rhyder has the following severe impairments: bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, lumbar degenerative disc disease/degenerative joint disease, and a history of right rotator cuff tear/impingement. (Tr. 26).

         II. Standard of Review

         When considering a social security appeal, the Court has plenary review of all legal issues decided by the Commissioner. See Poulos v, Comm'r of Soc, Sec. 474 F.3d 88, 91 (3d Cir.2007); Johnson v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec. 529 F.3d 198, 200 (3d Cir. 2008). However, our review of the Commissioner's findings of fact pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) is to determine whether those findings are supported by "substantial evidence." Id. The factual findings of the Commissioner, "if supported by substantial evidence, shall be conclusive . . .." 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). "Substantial evidence does not mean a large or considerable amount of evidence, but rather such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion." Johnson. 529 F.3d at 200 (3d Cir. 2008) (quoting Hartranft v. Apfel. 181 F.3d 358, 360 (3d Cir. 1999)) (internal quotations and citations omitted). Substantial evidence has been described as more than a mere scintilla of evidence but less than a preponderance. Brown v. Bowen, 845 F.2d 1211, 1213 (3d Cir. 1988). "It means such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion." Plummer v. Apfel. 186 F.3d 422, 427 (3d Cir. 1999) (citing Ventura v. Shalala. 55 F.3d 900, 901 (3d Cir. 1995)) (quoting Richardson v. Perales. 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971) (internal citations omitted)). The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has stated,

[O]ur decisions make clear that determination of the existence vel non of substantial evidence is not merely a quantitative exercise. A single piece of evidence will not satisfy the substantiality test if the [Commissioner] ignores, or fails to resolve, a conflict created by countervailing evidence. Nor is evidence substantial if it is overwhelmed by other evidence - particularly certain types of evidence (e.g., that offered by treating physicians) - or if it really constitutes not evidence but mere conclusion.

Morales v. Apfel. 225 F.3d 310. 317 (3d Cir. 2000) (citing Kent v. Schweiker. 710F.2d 110, 114 (3d Cir. 1983); Gilliland v. Heckler. 786 F.2d 178, 183 (3d Cir. 1986)). Therefore, a court reviewing the decision of the Commissioner must scrutinize the record as a whole. Id. (citing Smith v. Califano. 637 F.2d 968, 970 (3d Cir. 1981)).

         III. Sequential Evaluation Process

         The plaintiff must establish that there is some "medically determinable basis for an impairment that prevents him from engaging in any substantial gainful activity for a statutory twelve-month period." Fargnoli v. Massanari. 247 F.3d 34, 38-39 (3d Cir. 2001) (quoting Plummer. 186 F.3d at 427) (internal quotations omitted). "A claimant is considered unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity 'only if his physical or mental impairment or impairments are of such severity that he is not only unable to do his previous work but cannot, considering his age, education, and work experience, engage in any other kind of substantial gainful work which exists in the national economy .. . .'" Fargnoli. 247 F.3d at 39 (quoting 42 U.S.C. ยง 423(d)(2)(A)). The ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.