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Braddom v. Colvin

United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Northeastern Division

November 22, 2016

JENNIFER JO BRADDOM, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM

          KEVIN H. SHARP UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Pending before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Judgment on the Administrative Record (Docket Entry No. 11). The motion has been fully briefed by the parties.

         Plaintiff filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) to obtain judicial review of the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security (“Commissioner”) denying Plaintiff's claim for disability insurance under Title II, as provided by the Social Security Act (“the Act”). Upon review of the administrative record as a whole and consideration of the parties' filings, the Court finds that the Commissioner's determination that Plaintiff is not disabled under the Act is supported by substantial evidence in the record as required by 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Plaintiff's motion will be denied.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff, Jennifer Jo Braddom, filed a Title II application for a period of disability and disability insurance on August 26, 2011, alleging disability as of May 31, 2009. (Tr. 156). The claim was denied at the initial level on November 9, 2011 (Tr. 111-113) and on reconsideration on January 11, 2012. (Tr. 114-115). Thereafter, she filed a timely written request for hearing dated February 23, 2012. (Tr. 120). On May 15, 2013, a video hearing was held. (Tr. 74-108). On August 14, 2013, the ALJ issued a decision denying Plaintiff's claim. (Tr. 50-69). Plaintiff filed a Request for Review of Hearing Decision on October 9, 2013. (Tr. 47-48). On December 6, 2014, the Appeals Council issued an order denying the Request for Review. (Tr. 1-7). See (Docket Entry No. 11 at p. 1). This civil action was thereafter timely filed, and the Court has jurisdiction. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

         II. THE ALJ FINDINGS

         The ALJ issued an unfavorable decision on August 15, 2013. (AR p. 50). Based upon the record, the ALJ made the following enumerated findings:

1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through June 20, 2014.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity, since May 31, 2009, the alleged onset date (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq. and 416.971 et seq.).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: diabetes, status post lumbar laminectomy with microdiscectomy, rheumatoid arthritis, recurrent kidney stones, borderline intellectual functioning depressive disorder (20 CFR 404.1520(c).
4. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR 404.1520(d), 404.1525, 404.1526).
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, I find that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) except she can perform frequent postural movements and cannot tolerate exposure to temperature extremes, wetness or humidity or vibration. She is able to perform simple tasks, adapt to gradual and infrequent changes in her work routine, maintain concentration and persistence for simple tasks and is limited to work that requires occasional interaction with the public and coworkers and supervision that is direct and nonconfrontational.
6. The claimant is capable of performing past relevant work as a gluer. This work does not require the performance work-related activities precluded by the claimant's residual functional capacity (20 CFR 404.1565).
7. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from May 31, 2009, through the date of this decision (20 CFR 404.1520(f).

(AR pp. 55-65).

         III. REVIEW OF THE RECORD

         The following summary of the evidence of record is taken from Plaintiff's brief, Docket Entry No. 12 at pp. 2, 13-16:

Jennifer Jo Braddom was born on January 26, 1971 and was 42 years old at the time of her hearing. (Tr. 78). She has a high school education and was in special education classes. She has no additional vocational training. Her work history includes working for White County as a custodian in 2002; working at Tri State Distribution as a gluer in 2003; working at Food Lion as a stocker in 2003; working at Sequatchie County Board of Education as a custodian in 2004; and her last work was at Fixture World in Cookeville where she left in May of 2009 because she was no longer able to work due to back pain and kidney stones. (Tr. 81-83).
***
Hearing Testimony
Ms. Braddom testified that she is unable to work due to back pain, kidney stones and arthritis. She had surgery on her back in December 2011 which helped the sciatic nerve and decreased the intensity of her back pain but did not relieve it completely. She rated her pain a 9 prior to surgery and a 4 or 5 following surgery. (Tr. 83-84).
She testified that she had arthritis and was treated for it by Dr. Gore, rheumatologist. She last saw Dr. Gore two months prior to the hearing and was due to return on June 1, 2013. (Tr. 84). Dr. Gore treated her with Methotrexate, Humira, Folic Acid, and Hydro chloroquine. Humira helped but caused trouble with her right knee. At times it looked like there was an egg by her kneecap. She rated her daily pain from arthritis a 7 of 10 and a 10 of 10 when it was raining. (Tr. 84-85).
She testified that she took Paxil for depression and anxiety at one time and that she was taking Trazadone for sleep at the time of the hearing, prescribed by Dr. Gotcher. (Tr. 85-86).
She testified that her husband owned a farm seven miles from their home. She tried to mow it at times but had not been able to do that in a while because the lawn mower jarred her kidney stone and made it too difficult. She had not been able to work on the farm for two years. She would feed and watch the horses at times, but her husband took care of the fields with a tractor. There were really not stalls to clean because they would run in the fields. (Tr. 86-87).
She testified that she had kidney stones on a regular basis. She described the kidney stones as a really bad pain in the flank on her sides. She could feel them cutting and at times she urinated blood. She was on Hydrochlorothiazide which helped flush the kidneys. She also took Calcium Citrate which helped lessen the flare ups. She had been passing them on her own since taking Calcium Citrate but they still did the same cutting. She suffers from kidney stones 10 to 15 days out of ...

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