United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Knoxville
case is before the undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636(c), the Rules of this Court, and the consent of the
parties [Doc. 16]. Now before the Court is the
Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment and Memorandum in
Support [Docs. 17 & 18] and the Defendant's Motion
for Summary Judgment and Memorandum in Support [Docs. 19
& 20]. The Plaintiff also filed a Reply Memorandum [Doc.
23]. Patricia Ann Ogle (“the Plaintiff”) seeks
judicial review of the decision of the Administrative Law
Judge (“the ALJ”), the final decision of the
Defendant Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social
Security (“the Commissioner”).
April 20, 2012, the Plaintiff filed an application for
disability insurance benefits and supplemental security
income (“SSI”), claiming a period of disability
which began April 9, 2012. Her claim of disability was based
on “nerves, depression, hypertension, chest pain and
colon problems” [Doc. 236]. After her application was
denied initially and upon reconsideration, the Plaintiff
requested a hearing. On May 15, 2014, a hearing was held
before the ALJ to review the determination of Plaintiff's
claim [Doc. 24-45].
the hearing the ALJ secured the following additional evidence
in the case: (1) consultative exam by Jeffrey Uzzle, M.D., on
September 10, 2014; (2) consultative exam by Ellen Denny,
Ph.D., on August 28, 2014; and (3) a vocational
interrogatory, consisting of nine questions and answers, from
Susan Thomas, vocational expert. The ALJ provided this
evidence to the Plaintiff and her representative of record,
Ken Butler, and properly advised the Plaintiff of her right
to respond and/or submit to the ALJ written questions to be
sent to Dr. Uzzle, Dr. Denny, or Ms. Thomas [Tr. 301-302;
309-310]. The Plaintiff responded by letter to the ALJ as to
the exams by Dr. Uzzle and Dr. Denny [Tr. 304]. The Plaintiff
responded by letter to the ALJ as to the interrogatory
answers by Ms. Thomas. The Plaintiff requested that two
additional “hypothetical” interrogatories be
posed to Ms. Thomas which incorporate physical limitations
found by Dr. Uzzle [Tr. 312]. The ALJ, however, did not
submit Plaintiff's requested interrogatory to Ms. Thomas,
although she acknowledged receipt of the request in her
Decision [Doc. 17].
February 2, 2015, the ALJ found that the Plaintiff was not
disabled, because the Plaintiff could perform her past
relevant work as a housekeeper [Tr. 10-18]. The Appeals
Council denied the Plaintiff's request for review [Tr.
1-3]; thus, the decision of the ALJ became the final decision
of the Commissioner.
Court has considered the medical evidence in the record, the
testimony at the hearings, and all other evidence in the
record. The medical history of the Plaintiff and the content
of the ALJ's Decision are not in dispute, and need not be
case involves an application for SSI benefits. To qualify for
SSI benefits, an individual must file an application and be
an “eligible individual” as defined in the Act.
42 U.S.C. § 1382(a); 20 C.F.R. § 416.202. An
individual is eligible for SSI benefits on the basis of
financial need and either age, blindness, or disability.
See 42 U.S.C. § 1382(a).
is “the inability to do any substantial gainful
activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or
mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or
which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous
period of not less than twelve months.” 42 U.S.C.
§ 1382c(a)(3)(A); 20 C.F.R. § 416.905(a). A
claimant will only be considered disabled if:
his physical or mental impairment or impairments are of such
severity that he is not only unable to do his previous work
but cannot, considering his age, education, and work
experience, engage in any other kind of substantial gainful
work which exists in the national economy, regardless of
whether such work exists in the immediate area in which he
lives, or whether a specific job vacancy exists for him, or
whether he would be hired if he applied for work.
42 U.S.C. § 1382c(a)(3)(B); see also 20 C.F.R.
is evaluated pursuant to a five-step analysis summarized as
claimant is doing substantial gainful activity, he is not
2. If claimant is not doing substantial gainful activity, his
impairment must be severe before he can be found to be
3. If claimant is not doing substantial gainful activity and
is suffering from a severe impairment that has lasted or is
expected to last for a continuous period of at least twelve
months, and his impairment meets or equals a listed