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Urban v. Colvin

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

March 15, 2017

CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.



         Pending before the Court are Plaintiff’s Motions for Judgment on the Administrative Record (Docket Entry Nos. 23 and 24). 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 and Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”), 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.


         Plaintiff, Kimberly A. Urban, filed applications for disability insurance benefits and SSI under Titles II and XVI of the Act on May 29, 2012, alleging an onset date of July 11, 2011. (Tr. 121-35). The Social Security Administration (“SSA”) initially denied Plaintiff’s applications on July 26, 2012. (Tr. 77-84). Plaintiff requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”). (Tr. 86-87). The hearing took place before the ALJ on March 22, 2013. (Tr. 32-56). On April 4, 2013, the ALJ denied Plaintiff’s claims. (Tr. 17-28). On May 18, 2013, Plaintiff filed a request for a review of the ALJ’s hearing decision. (Tr. 7-11). The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff’s request for review on June 3, 2013, thereby making the ALJ’s decision the final decision of the Commissioner. (Tr. 1-6). This civil action was thereafter timely filed, and the Court has jurisdiction. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).


         The ALJ issued an unfavorable decision on April 4, 2013. (AR p. 17). 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 30, 2014.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since July 11, 20l1, the alleged onset date (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq., and 416.971 et seq.).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: obesity; status-post calcaneal fracture with complex regional pain syndrom (CRPS); and an adjustment disorder with depressed mood (20 CFR 404.1520(c) and 416.920(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, 416.920(d), 416.925 and 416.926).
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b), except no more than two hours standing and/or walking in an eight-hour day; unskilled work only, with no production-like standards such as one might find on a conveyor belt or assembly line; and the claimant would have the option to sit or stand at her own discretion.
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work (20 CFR 404.1565 and 416.965).
7. Claimant was born November 13, 1978 which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the alleged disability onset date (20 CFR 404.1563 and 416.963).
8. The claimant has at least a high school education and is able to communicate in English (20 CFR 404.1564 and 416.964).
9. Transferability of job skills is not material to the determination of disability because using the Medical-Vocational Rules as a framework supports a finding that the claimant is “not disabled,” whether or not the claimant has transferable job skills (See SSR 82-41 and 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 2).
10. Considering the claimant’s age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity, there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that the claimant can perform (20 CFR 404.1569, 404.1569(a), 416.969, and 416.969(a)).
11. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from July 11, 2011, through the date of this decision (20 CFR 404.1520(g) and 416.920(g)).

         (AR pp. 22-28).


         The following summary of the evidence of record is taken from Plaintiff’s brief, Docket Entry No. 25 at pp. 2-4:

Plaintiff was born on November 13, 1978, and was a younger individual on [her] AOD., [and] Plaintiff received a high school education. (Tr. 27). Plaintiff has past relevant work as a data entry clerk and a stock clerk. (Tr. 27). Plaintiff has not performed substantial gainful activity (“SGA”) since July 11, 2011 and is insured for DIB through June 30, 2014. (Tr. 22).
On July 11, 2011, Plaintiff presented to the [e]mergency room after fracturing her heel on a water slide. (Tr. 195). At that time, she complained of right ankle and foot pain. (Tr. 190). Eventually diagnostic testing revealed a “fracture through the calcaneus body and posterior tubercle centers at least the posterior articular facet.” (Tr. 198). Essentially – Plaintiff broke the heel of her foot. Unfortunately, Plaintiff’s records show that her condition continued to produce excruciating pain for the Plaintiff. Nevertheless, Plaintiff returned to the office three months after the fracture occurred, on September 12, 2011, complaining that the pain in her heel was so great, she was unable to walk. (Tr. 229). The next day, Plaintiff called ...

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