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Mitchell v. Berryhill

United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Chattanooga

March 6, 2017

KELLIE S. MITCHELL, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM

          Christopher H. Steger UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         I. Introduction

         This action was instituted pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3) seeking judicial review of the Commissioner's final decision denying Kellie Mitchell's (“Plaintiff”) claim for Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”), as provided by the Social Security Act.

         The parties have consented to entry of final judgment by the United States Magistrate Judge under the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), with any appeal to the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit [Doc. 17]. Pending before the Court are Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. 12] and Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. 14].

         For the reasons stated herein, the Court AFFIRMS the Commissioner's decision. Accordingly, the Court DENIES Plaintiff's Motion [Doc. 12] and GRANTS Defendant's Motion [Doc. 14].

         II. Background

         A. Procedural History

         On December 13, 2010, Plaintiff protectively filed for SSI under Title XVI of the Social Security Act (“Act”), 42 U.S.C. § 1381 et seq., based on major depressive disorder, lumbago with lumbosacral neuritis, myofascial pain, and obesity with hypertension and edema of the lower extremities[1] [Tr. 96-106; Doc. 13 at 2].[2] Plaintiff's claim was denied initially and on reconsideration [Tr. 66-70, 77-79]. Following a hearing, Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Edward Snyder issued an unfavorable decision dated April 5, 2012 [Tr. 11-21]. The Appeals Council denied review of ALJ Snyder's decision [Tr. 1-3].

         On April 23, 2013, Plaintiff filed suit in this Court [Mitchell v. SSA, No. 1:13-cv-134]. Following a Joint Motion for Entry of Judgment with Remand Under Sentence Four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), this Court remanded the case with instructions for the ALJ to further evaluate the opinion evidence and Plaintiff's residual functional capacity and, if necessary, to obtain supplemental vocational expert testimony [Tr. 616-619]. The Appeals Council sent the case back to an ALJ [Tr. 623-627].

         ALJ Ronald Feibus conducted a hearing on September 16, 2014 [Tr. 570-596]. On February 5, 2015, Plaintiff appeared and testified at a second hearing before ALJ Feibus [Tr. 496-569]. On March 25, 2015, the ALJ issued a decision finding that Plaintiff “has not been under a disability” as defined in the Act [Tr. 486]. Plaintiff has exhausted her administrative remedies, and the ALJ's decision stands as the Commissioner's final decision subject to judicial review. See 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

         B. Relevant Facts

         Plaintiff's Age, Education, and Past Work Experience

         Plaintiff is currently a 46-year-old individual who has a limited education and no past relevant work [Tr. 485; Doc. 13 at 3].

         Plaintiff's Testimony and Medical History

         The parties and the ALJ have thoroughly summarized and discussed the medical and testimonial evidence of the administrative record. Accordingly, the Court will discuss those matters as relevant to the analysis of the parties' arguments.

         The ...


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