United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
CRITES-LEONI, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Bryan Humphrey brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g), seeking judicial review of the Social Security
Administration Commissioner's denial of his application
for Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) under
Title II of the Social Security Act and Supplemental Security
Income (“SSI”) under Title XVI of the Act.
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) found that,
despite Humphrey's severe impairments, he was not
disabled as he had the residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) to perform work existing in significant
numbers in the national economy.
matter is pending before the undersigned United States
Magistrate Judge, with consent of the parties, pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 636(c). A summary of the entire record is
presented in the parties' briefs and is repeated here
only to the extent necessary.
following reasons, the decision of the Commissioner will be
reversed and remanded.
filed his applications for benefits on August 9, 2011,
claiming that he became unable to work on August 10, 2009.
(Tr. 249-50, 251-57.) In his Disability Report, Humphrey
alleged disability due to diabetes, depression, back pain,
foot and leg pain, tremors, ringing in ears, dizzy spells,
double vision, heartburn, and nausea. (Tr. 325.) Humphrey was
38 years of age at the time of his alleged onset of
disability. His applications were denied initially. (Tr.
59-60.) Humphrey's claims were denied by an ALJ on April
1, 2013, following a hearing. (Tr. 61-78.) The Appeals
Council remanded the case for further proceedings before an
ALJ on February 7, 2014. (Tr. 79-84.) Following another
hearing, Humphrey's claims were denied in a written
opinion by an ALJ, dated October 16, 2014. (Tr. 85-106.) The
Appeals Council remanded the case again on January 20, 2016.
hearing was held on July 1, 2016. (Tr. 1770-1804.) The ALJ
issued an unfavorable decision on December 9, 2016. (Tr.
15-27.) On December 5, 2017, the Appeals Council denied
Humphrey's request for review. (Tr. 1-6.) Thus, the
December 9, 2016 decision of the ALJ stands as the final
decision of the Commissioner. See 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.981, 416.1481.
action, Humphrey first argues that the ALJ erred “by
failing to provide a proper analysis of Humphrey's
ability to perform other work at step five of the sequential
evaluation process.” (Doc. 17 at 13.) He next argues
that the ALJ's RFC is not supported by substantial
evidence “in that it conflicts with the opinions of Dr.
Burchett and Dr. Spencer and the ALJ failed to explain why he
did not include limitations from those opinions as required
by SSR 96-8p.” Id. at 17.
The ALJ's Determination
first found that Humphrey met the insured status requirements
of the Act through December 31, 2013. (Tr. 17.) The ALJ also
found that Humphrey had not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since August 10, 2009, the alleged onset date.
Id. In addition, the ALJ concluded that Humphrey had
the following severe impairments: diabetes mellitus with
neuropathy; diabetic retinopathy; depression and anxiety,
NOS; obesity; right upper extremity osteoarthritis; and
degenerative disc disease of the cervical spine. (Tr. 18.)
The ALJ found that Humphrey did not have an impairment or
combination of impairments that met or medically equaled the
severity of one of the listed impairments. Id.
Humphrey's RFC, the ALJ stated:
After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual
functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20
CFR 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b) except: lifting more than 10
pounds frequently and 20 pounds occasionally and sitting,
standing and walking six hours total in an eight-hour
workday. The claimant must avoid climbing ropes, ladders and
scaffolds, working at unprotected heights, working with or
around hazardous machinery and operating foot controls
bilaterally. The claimant must avoid working above shoulder
level bilaterally and walking on unimproved terrain. The
claimant must avoid exposure to extreme heat or cold. He
would be limited to no more than occasionally climbing ramps
and stairs, stooping, kneeling, crouching and crawling. Jobs
that require handling and fingering more than frequently and
jobs that require working with objects smaller than a shirt
button. The claimant would be further limited to performing
no more than simple repetitive tasks and jobs that do not
require close interaction with the public.
found that Humphrey was unable to perform any past relevant
work, but was capable of performing other jobs existing in
significant numbers in the national economy, such as larger
item packager, production worker, and assembler. (Tr. 26-27.)
The ALJ therefore concluded that Humphrey was not under a
disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from
August 10, 2009, through the date of the decision. (Tr. 27.)
ALJ's final decision reads as follows:
Based on the application for a period of disability and
disability insurance benefits filed on August 9, 2011, the
claimant is not disabled under sections 216(i) and ...