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.

Fuhrman v. Saul

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania, Scranton

December 10, 2019

TODD LEROY FUHRMAN, Plaintiff,
v.
ANDREW SAUL, Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION TO GRANT PLAINTIFF'S APPEAL AND TO REVERSE AND REMAND DECISION OF COMMISSIONER

          GERALD B. COHN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This matter is before the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge for a report and recommendation. Todd Leroy Fuhrman (“Plaintiff”), seeks judicial review of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration's decision finding of not disabled. As set forth below, the undersigned recommends to GRANT Plaintiff's appeal and REVERSE and REMAND the Commissioner's decision in this case.

         I. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         To receive disability or supplemental security benefits under the Social Security Act (“Act”), a claimant bears the burden to demonstrate an “inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any 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 not less than 12 months.” 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A); accord 42 U.S.C. § 1382c(a)(3)(A).

         The Act further provides that an individual:

shall be determined to be under a disability 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, regardless of whether such work exists in the immediate area in which he lives, or whether a specific job vacancy exists for him, or whether he would be hired if he applied for work.

42 U.S.C. §§ 423(d)(2)(A), 1382c(a)(3)(B). Plaintiff must demonstrate the physical or mental impairment “by medically acceptable clinical and laboratory diagnostic techniques.” 42 U.S.C. §§ 423(d)(3), 1382c(a)(3)(D).

         Social Security regulations implement a five-step sequential process to evaluate a disability claim. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520, 416.920. The process requires an ALJ to decide whether an applicant (1) is engaged in “substantial gainful activity;” (2) suffers from a “severe medically determinable physical or mental impairment;” (3) suffers from “an impairment(s) that meets or equals one” listed in the regulation's appendix; (4) has a residual functional capacity (“RFC”) allowing for performance of “past relevant work;” and (5) can “make an adjustment to other work.” Rutherford v. Barnhart, 399 F.3d 546, 551 (3d Cir. 2005).

         If at any of the steps a determination exists that a plaintiff is or is not disabled, evaluation under a subsequent step is not necessary. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(a)(4). The claimant bears the burden of proof at steps one through four. See Rutherford, 399 F.3d at 551. If the claimant satisfies this burden, then the Commissioner must show at step five that jobs exist in the national economy that a person with the claimant's abilities, age, education, and work experience can perform. Id.

         In reviewing a decision of the Commissioner, the Court is limited to determining whether the Commissioner has applied the correct legal standards and whether the decision is supported by substantial evidence. See e.g., 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) (“Court shall review only the question of conformity with such regulations and the validity of such regulations”). Substantial evidence is a deferential standard of review. See Jones v. Barnhart, 364 F.3d 501, 503 (3d Cir. 2004). 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.'” Pierce v. Underwood, 487 U.S. 552, 565 (1988) (quoting Consolidated Edison Co. v. NLRB, 305 U.S. 197, 229 (1938)); see also Johnson v. Commissioner of Social Sec., 529 F.3d 198, 200 (3d Cir. 2008). Substantial evidence is “less than a preponderance” and “more than a mere scintilla.” Jesurum v. Sec'y of U.S. Dep't of Health & Human Servs., 48 F.3d 114, 117 (3d Cir. 1995) (citing Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971)).

         The Court may neither re-weigh the evidence nor substitute its judgment for that of the fact-finder. Rutherford, 399 F.3d at 552. The Court will not set the Commissioner's decision aside if it is supported by substantial evidence, even if the Court would have decided the factual inquiry differently. Hartranft v. Apfel, 181 F.3d 358, 360 (3d Cir.1999) (citing 42 U.S.C. § 405(g)).

         II. BACKGROUND

         A. Procedural History

         In June 2015, Plaintiff filed an application for Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) and Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) pursuant to Titles II and XVI of the Act, alleging disability since August 20, 2013. (Tr. 141-52, 158). In May 2017, an ALJ held a hearing where Plaintiff and a Vocational Expert (“VE”) testified. (Tr. 27-39). On August 2, 2017, the ALJ issued a decision finding Plaintiff not disabled. (Tr. 12-22). Plaintiff was fifty-four years old at the time of the ALJ's decision. (Tr. 20, 22). In May 2018, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review (Tr. 1-6), ...


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.