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Adams v. Colvin

United States District Court, Fourth Circuit

January 15, 2014

BERNICE ADAMS, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.

ORDER

ROBERT G. DOUMAR, Senior District Judge.

This matter comes before the court on the Plaintiffs Motion for Summary Judgment, filed July 8, 2013, and on the Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, filed August 7, 2013. The Plaintiff is seeking judicial review of the decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration ("Commissioner") denying the Plaintiffs claim for disability insurance benefits under the Social Security Act.

On May 31, 2013, the Motions were referred to United States Magistrate Judge Tommy E. Miller, pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and (C) and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b), for a report and recommendation for the disposition of the Motions.

The Report and Recommendation was filed on November 18, 2013. The Magistrate Judge recommended vacating the Commissioner's decision and remanding the case for further administrative proceedings consistent with the Report and Recommendation. By copy of the Report and Recommendation, the parties were advised of their right to file written objections to the findings and recommendations made by the Magistrate Judge. The Defendant's Objections to the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation were filed on December 4, 2013, and the Plaintiffs Response to the Objections was filed on December 13, 2013.

The court, having examined the Objections and Response to the Objections to the Report and Recommendation and having made de novo findings with respect thereto, does hereby adopt and approve the findings and recommendations set forth in the Report and Recommendation of the United States Magistrate Judge filed November 18, 2013. Accordingly, the Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment is DENIED. The Plaintiffs Motion for Summary Judgment is DENIED to the extent that it seeks an order directing an award of Social Security Disability benefits, and is GRANTED to the extent it seeks remand of this case. The Commissioner's decision is VACATED and REMANDED for further administrative proceedings consistent with this Order and the Report and Recommendation.

The Clerk is DIRECTED to forward a copy of this Order to all Counsel of Record.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

This action was referred to the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and (C) and Rule 72(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, as well as Rule 72 of the Rules of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Plaintiff brought this action under 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 42 U.S.C. § 1383(c)(3), seeking judicial review of the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner") denying Plaintiffs applications for disability insurance benefits ("DIB") pursuant to Title II of the Social Security Act. The undersigned recommends that the decision of the Commissioner be VACATED and REMANDED to the Commissioner for further analysis consistent with this Report and Recommendation and the Fourth Circuit's holding in Bird v. Astrue, 699 F.3d 337 (4th Cir. 2012).

I. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff protectively applied for DIB on November 30, 2011, alleging she has been disabled since November 16, 2011, due to traumatic brain injury, depression, anxiety, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder ("PTSD"), cognitive and concentration problems, headaches, shin splints, sleep apnea, bilateral perplanus, shoulder pain, and knee pain. R. 21, 130-37, 177, 219.[1] Plaintiffs application was denied initially and on reconsideration. R. 94-98, 101-103. Following an administrative hearing, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) issued a decision on September 6, 2012, finding Plaintiff was not disabled within the meaning of the Social Security Act. R. 21-31. The Appeals Council denied Plaintiffs request for administrative review of the ALJ's decision on January 24, 2013. R. 4-9. Therefore, the ALJ's decision stands as the final decision of the Commissioner for purposes of judicial review. See 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) (2012).

II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff graduated from high school, has thirty-six hours of college credit, and was thirty-five years old at the time of the ALJ's decision. R. 29-30. She has past relevant work experience as a restaurant shift manager and transportation supervisor. R. 29-30. Plaintiff served in the United States Army from 2002 through 2012. R. 1537. In 2003, Plaintiff was involved in an automobile accident in Iraq. ...


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