United States District Court, D. Connecticut
WILLIAM I. GARFINKEL United States Magistrate Judge
Darby Brown has filed this appeal of the adverse decision of
the Commissioner of Social Security denying his applications
for disability insurance benefits (''DIB'')
and supplemental security income (''SSI'').
Plaintiff now moves, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), for
an order reversing this decision, or in the alternative
remanding the matter for rehearing. [Doc. # 15]. Defendant
has responded with a motion to affirm the decision of the
Commissioner. [Doc. # 16]. The undersigned heard oral
argument in this matter on May 18, 2016. For the reasons that
follow, the Commissioner‘s decision is affirmed.
standards for determining a claimant‘s entitlement to
disability benefits, the Commissioner‘s five-step
framework for evaluating disability claims, and the district
court‘s review of the Commissioner‘s final
decision are well-established. The Court is following those
standards, but does not repeat them here.
filed his DIB application on July 20, 2012 and his SSI
application on November 15, 2012, alleging a disability onset
date of May 18, 2012. His claims were denied at both the
initial and reconsideration levels. Plaintiff then requested
a hearing before an administrative law judge
(''ALJ''), which was held before ALJ Deirdre
R. Horton on January 30, 2014. On April 25, 2014, the ALJ
issued a decision denying Plaintiff‘s claim. The
Appeals Council denied review, making the ALJ‘s
unfavorable decision the final decision of the Commissioner.
This action followed.
was 54 years old on the alleged disability onset date. (R.
23). He last worked in May 2012 as a supervisor in Home
Depot‘s hardware department, a position he had held for
five years. (R. 261-62). Plaintiff also has prior work
experience as a manager at Walmart and an assistant manager
at Benny‘s. (R. 263). Plaintiff completed high school,
some college, and spent four years serving in the military,
from which he was honorably discharged. (R. 269). Plaintiff
has alleged disability based on diabetes, high cholesterol,
accordance with the Court‘s scheduling order, the
parties have submitted a Stipulation of Facts, which the
Court adopts and incorporates by reference herein. [Doc. #
issued her decision on April 25, 2014. The ALJ followed the
sequential evaluation process for evaluating disability
claims. At step one, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had not
engaged in substantial gainful activity since the alleged
onset date. (R. 16). At step two, the ALJ found that
Plaintiff‘s adjustment disorder was a severe
impairment, and that Plaintiff‘s diabetes mellitus and
high cholesterol were nonsevere. (R. 17-18). At step three,
the ALJ found that Plaintiff did not have an impairment or
combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the
severity of one of the listed impairments. (R. 18-20). The
ALJ then found that Plaintiff retained the following residual
Plaintiff can perform a full range of work at all exertion
levels with the following nonexertional limitations: he is
limited to occasional interaction with the general public and
occasional interaction with coworkers and supervisors.
(R. 20-22). At step four, the ALJ found Plaintiff was unable
to perform any past relevant work. (R. 22). Finally, at step
five, the ALJ used the Medical-Vocational Guidelines, 20
C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 2 (hereinafter the
''Grids''), as a framework in determining
that there are jobs in significant numbers in the national
economy Plaintiff can perform. (R. 23). In making the step
five finding, the ALJ determined that the RFC‘s
nonexertional limitations have little or no effect on the
occupational base of unskilled work at all exertion levels.
(Id.). Accordingly, the ALJ found Plaintiff to be
raises two issues on appeal, which the Court will discuss in
the order ...