United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
BYRON C. YOUNG
ANDREW SAUL, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY
R. SÁNCHEZ, C.J.
NOW, this 22nd day of July, 2019, upon consideration of
Plaintiff Byron C. Young's Brief and Statement of Issues
in Support of Request for Judicial Review, Defendant Andrew
Saul, Commissioner of Social Security's response thereto,
Young's reply, and after careful review of the Report and
Recommendation of United States Magistrate Judge Thomas J.
Rueter and Young's objections, it is ORDERED:
1. Young's objections to the Report and Recommendation
(Document 24) are OVERRULED;
2. The Report and Recommendation (Document 20) is APPROVED
3. Young's Request for Review (Document 14) is DENIED;
4. Judgment is entered in favor of the Commissioner by
separate order, filed contemporaneously.
Clerk of Court is directed to mark this case CLOSED.
 Andrew Saul became the Commissioner of
Social Security on June 17, 2019. Pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 25(d), Saul is substituted for Carolyn W.
Colvin as the Defendant in this case.
 Plaintiff Byron C. Young seeks review
of the denial of his application for Social Security
Disability Insurance Benefits and Supplemental Security
Income by Defendant Andrew Saul, Commissioner of Social
Security. In a decision issued on April 11, 2014, an
Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) concluded Young was not
disabled after applying the Social Security
Administration's five-step sequential evaluation process.
See 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520. The ALJ first found
Young had not engaged in substantial gainful employment since
September 30, 2011. Second, she determined Young had the
following severe impairments: osteoarthritis of the hip and
knees with history of torn patella of the knees and right
wrist osteoarthritis. At this stage, the ALJ noted that Young
suffered from carpal tunnel syndrome but determined this was
not a severe impairment. Third, the ALJ found Young's
impairments did not equal the severity of one of the listed
impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1.
Fourth, the ALJ concluded Young had the residual functional
capacity to perform light work, subject to certain
limitations limitations on his postural activities and
exposure to certain environmental factors, rendering Young
unable to perform any past relevant work. Fifth, the ALJ
determined jobs Young could perform exist in significant
numbers in the national economy.
In his Request for Review, Young argues the ALJ's
decision is not supported by substantial evidence because the
ALJ erred by (1) “failing to find plaintiff's
carpal tunnel syndrome . . . to be a severe impairment,
” Req. for Review 6, (2) “failing to assign great
weight to the opinion of the treating orthopedist, ”
id. at 9, and (3) basing “her denial of
benefits on the [vocational expert's] answer to [her]
defective” hypothetical question, id. at 18.
On October 26, 2016, United States Magistrate Judge Thomas J.
Rueter issued a Report and Recommendation (R&R)
addressing these alleged errors, concluding the ALJ's
decision was supported by substantial evidence, and
recommending the Commissioner's denial of benefits be
On November 28, 2016, Young filed objections to the
R&R reasserting the first two arguments he made in his
Request for Review. Young argues (1) the ALJ “failed to
find that [Young's] bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome was
severe despite compelling evidence, ” and this error
was not harmless, Objs. 3, and (2) “the ALJ rejected
the opinion of the treating board-certified orthopedic
surgeon for erroneous reasons, ” id. at 5.
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), this Court reviews de
novo “those portions of the report or specified
proposed findings or recommendation to which objection is
Upon de novo review of the record, and in light of the
fact that Judge Rueter has already considered and addressed
Young's arguments that there was no substantial evidence
to support the ALJ's finding that Young's carpal
tunnel syndrome was not a severe impairment and the ALJ's
rejection of the treating orthopedist's medical source
statement, Young's objections are overruled for the
reasons stated in the R&R. The Court will nevertheless
address Young's ...