United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
VANESSA K. BUSH, Plaintiff,
SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, Defendant.
WILLIAM J. HAYNES, JR. Senior United States District Judge,
Vanessa K. Bush, filed this action under 42 U.S.C. §
1383(c)(3) against the Defendant Carolyn W. Colvin, acting
Commissioner of Social Security, seeking judicial review of
the Commissioner's decision denying Plaintiffs
application for disability benefits under Title XVI of the
Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §§
1381-1385.On My 11, 2012, Plaintiff filed her
application for benefits under Title II and Title XVI,
alleging an onset date of March 1, 2003 that Plaintiff later
amended to January 27, 2005, and later to July 11, 2012.
(Docket Entry No. 10, Administrative Record at 19, 13 88).
Plaintiff asserted a disability based upon her major
depressive disorder, mental limitations, osteoarthritis,
degenerative disc disease, and obesity. Id. at 22.
Plaintiffs applications were denied initially on March 9,
2013, and upon reconsideration on July 18, 2013. Id.
at 50, 60. Plaintiff requested a hearing before an
Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") on her Title XVI
claim, but withdrew her Title XII application that the ALJ
dismissed. Id. at 19-20.
denied Plaintiffs Title XVI application and found Plaintiff
retained the ability to perform light work. Id. at
24. The ALJ found that Plaintiff had "severe
impairments, " of "mild mental retardation, major
depressive disorder, osteoarthritis, degenerative disc
disease, and obesity, " but Plaintiffs varicose veins
and chest pain were not severe impairments. Id. at
22-23. Plaintiff appealed the ALJ's decision to the
Appeals Council, that denied Plaintiff s request for a
review. Id. at 10.
the Court is the Plaintiffs motion for judgment on the record
(Docket Entry No. 17) contending, in sum, that the ALJ erred
in evaluating the testimony of Plaintiff, Plaintiff s mother
and the opinions of Plaintiff s examining physicians as well
as her finding that Plaintiff did not have a mental
impairment. The Commissioner responds that the ALJ properly
evaluated the testimony and her decision is support by
substantial evidence. (Docket Entry No. 19).
Review of the Record
the extensive record, the parties cite the following facts:
Plaintiff was 41 years old as of the date of her latest
application and 44 years old at the time of her hearing.
Plaintiff was graduated from high school with a grade point
average of 2.59, ranking her thirty-fourth in a class of
sixty-four graduates. (Docket Entry No. 10, Administrative
Record, at 320). Plaintiff notes that her "[m]ajor
classes were in resource special education."
Id. Plaintiffs transcript reflects grades of
"S" and "E" in the ninth and tenth grade
courses. Id. As Plaintiff explained at her hearing:
Q Okay. And what's the highest grade you finished in
A Graduated high school, 12th grade.
Q Okay. And when you were in high school, do you remember
being in any special education - -
Q - - classes?
A From first grade all the way to 12th.
Q Okay. And were you in there all day, or did you have, like,
certain classes that you recall?
A Part of the day.
A Where we're - -1 wasn't there all day. I did have
some regular classes, too.
A Just some.
Q And what types of classes do you remember that you had your
special - - A Special, spelling, English, social studies.
That's the main ones. And math. Never went through
Id. at 1403-04.
her employment history, between 1997 and 2007 Plaintiff
worked for thirty-two different employers. Id. at
123-28. Plaintiffs longest period of work for one employer
was six or seven months. H. at 123. From 2004 to 2007,
Plaintiff was a seasonal employee with the Salvation Army and
an averaged 4.4 employers per year. Id. at 123-28.
identified her severe impairments as major depression,
anxiety, mental retardation, "[a]goraphobia- [a]nxiety
when placed in public places, " and high cholesterol.
Id. at 231, 258. Plaintiff described her impairments
Q Okay, so, Ms. Bush, tell me what you believe is keeping you
from getting a job and, keeping it full-time.
A I'm having trouble understanding, when I do do a job,
instructions. I'm having trouble with my legs and knees,
and -- because of the veins, and numbness in ...