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.

Rosenberger v. Berryhill

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

July 25, 2018

JEFFREY C. ROSENBERGER, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, [1] COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          Donetta W. Ambrose United States Senior District Judge

         Background

         Plaintiff Jeffrey C. Rosenberger (“Rosenberger”) brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) for review of the ALJ's decision denying his claim for disability insurance benefits (“DIB”)[2] and supplemental social security (“SSI”).[3] He alleges a disability beginning on November 8, 2013. (R. 33) Following a hearing before an ALJ, during which time both Rosenberger and a vocational expert (“VE”) testified, the ALJ denied his claim. Rosenberger appealed. Pending are Cross Motions for Summary Judgment. See ECF docket nos. [14] and [16].

         Legal Analysis

         1. Standard of Review

         The standard of review in social security cases is whether substantial evidence exists in the record to support the Commissioner's decision. Allen v. Bowen, 881 F.2d 37, 39 (3d Cir. 1989). Substantial evidence has been defined as more than a mere scintilla. It means such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate. Ventura v. Shalala, 55 F.3d 900, 901 (3d Cir. 1995), quoting Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971). Determining whether substantial evidence exists is “not merely a quantitative exercise.” Gilliland v. Heckler, 786 F.2d 178, 183 (3d Cir. 1986) (citing Kent v. Schweiker, 710 F.2d 110, 114 (3d Cir. 1983)). “A single piece of evidence will not satisfy the substantiality test if the secretary 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).” Id. The Commissioner's findings of fact, if supported by substantial evidence, are conclusive. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g); Dobrowolsky v. Califano, 606 F.2d 403, 406 (3d Cir. 1979). A district court cannot conduct a de novo review of the Commissioner's decision or re-weigh the evidence of record. Palmer v. Apfel, 995 F.Supp. 549, 552 (E.D. Pa. 1998). Where the ALJ's findings of fact are supported by substantial evidence, a court is bound by those findings, even if the court would have decided the factual inquiry differently. Hartranft v. Apfel, 181 F.3d 358, 360 (3d Cir. 1999). To determine whether a finding is supported by substantial evidence, however, the district court must review the record as a whole. See, 5 U.S.C. §706.

         To be eligible for social security benefits, the claimant must demonstrate that he cannot engage in substantial gainful activity because of a medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months. 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A); Brewster v. Heckler, 786 F.2d 581, 583 (3d Cir. 1986). The Commissioner has provided the ALJ with a five-step sequential analysis to use when evaluating the disabled status of each claimant. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(a). The ALJ must determine: (1) whether the claimant is currently engaged in substantial gainful activity; (2) if not, whether the claimant has a severe impairment; (3) if the claimant has a severe impairment, whether it meets or equals the criteria listed in 20 C.F.R., pt. 404, subpt. P, appx. 1; (4) if the impairment does not satisfy one of the impairment listings, whether the claimant's impairments prevent him from performing his past relevant work; and (5) if the claimant is incapable of performing his past relevant work, whether he can perform any other work which exists in the national economy, in light of his age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520. The claimant carries the initial burden of demonstrating by medical evidence that he is unable to return to his previous employment (steps 1-4). Dobrowolsky, 606 F.2d at 406. Once the claimant meets this burden, the burden of proof shifts to the Commissioner to show that the claimant can engage in alternative substantial gainful activity (step 5). Id. A district court, after reviewing the entire record, may affirm, modify, or reverse the decision with or without remand to the Commissioner for rehearing. Podedworny v. Harris, 745 F.2d 210, 221 (3d Cir. 1984).

         2. The ALJ's Analysis

         At step one, the ALJ found that Rosenberger had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since November 8, 2013. (R. 36) At step two, the ALJ concluded that Rosenberger has the following severe impairments: partial left lower extremity lateral cutaneous neuropathy, status post hernia surgeries; affective disorders; and anxiety disorders. (R. 36)

         At step three, the ALJ concluded that Rosenberger does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of one of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpt. P, Appendix 1. The ALJ considered the listings in Section 11.00 (neurological system) and Section 12.00 (mental disorders), but determined that Rosenberger did not satisfy the criteria. (R. 36-40)

         Prior to engaging in step four, the ALJ assessed Rosenberger's residual functional capacity (“RFC”).[4] The ALJ found Rosenberger able to perform a range of light work, with some restrictions. (R. 40-42)

         At step four, the ALJ determined that Rosenberger is capable of performing his past relevant work as a cleaner. (R. 42)[5]

         3. Residual Functional Capacity

         Rosenberger challenges the ALJ's RFC findings. A claimant's RFC consists of “'that which an individual is still able to do despite the limitations caused by his or her impairment(s).'” Fargnoli v. Massanari,247 F.3d 34, 40 (3d Cir. 2001), quoting, Burnett v. Comm'r. of Soc. Sec.,220 F.3d 112, 121 (3d Cir. 2000). As stated earlier, the assessment must be based upon all of the relevant evidence, including the medical records, medical source opinions, and the individual's subjective allegations and description of his / her limitations. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1545(a)(3), 416.945(a)(3). The responsibility for deciding a claimant's RFC rests solely with the ALJ. Id. In making an RFC assessment, the “ALJ must describe how the evidence supports his conclusion and explain why certain limitations ...


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.