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Matheney v. Berryhill

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

June 1, 2017

PAMELA JANE MATHENEY, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY BERRYHILL, [1] Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          Newbern Magistrate Judge.

          MEMORANDUM

          ALETA A. TRAUGER United States District Judge.

         Before the court is plaintiff Pamela Jane Matheney's Motion for Judgment on the Administrative Record (“Motion”) (Docket No. 9), filed with a Memorandum in Support (Docket No. 9-1). The defendant Commissioner of Social Security filed a Response in Opposition (Docket No. 14), and the plaintiff filed a Reply (Docket No. 16). On January 13, 2017, this case was referred to a magistrate judge. (Docket No. 18.)

         To avoid further delay in the resolution of this matter, the court will vacate the referral to the magistrate judge. In addition, upon consideration of the parties' filings and the transcript of the administrative record (Docket No. 5), [2] and for the reasons given below, the court will deny the plaintiff's Motion and affirm the Commissioner's decision.

         I. Introduction

         Matheney filed an application for Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) under Title II of the Social Security Act on September 20, 2010, alleging a disability onset date of May 17, 2005. (Tr. 12.) Matheney's claim was denied at the initial and reconsideration stages of state agency review. Matheney subsequently requested de novo review of her case by an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”). The ALJ conducted a hearing on November 28, 2012, at which the plaintiff was represented by counsel. The plaintiff and an impartial vocation expert (“VE”) both testified. (Tr. 24-80.) At the conclusion of the hearing, the matter was taken under advisement until February 13, 2013, when the ALJ issued a written decision finding Matheney not disabled. (Tr. 9-23.) That decision contains the following enumerated findings:

1. The claimant last met the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through December 31, 2005.
2. The claimant did not engaged in substantial gainful activity during the period from her alleged onset date of May 17, 2005 through her date last insured of December 31, 2005 (20 C.F.R. 404.1571 et seq.).
3. Through the date last insured, the claimant had the following severe impairments: valvular cardiomyopathy and obesity (20 C.F.R. 404.1520(c)).
4. Through the date last insured, the claimant did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that met or medically equaled the severity of one of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 C.F.R. 404.1520(d), 404.1525, 404.1526).
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, [the ALJ finds] that, through the date last insured, the claimant had the residual functional capacity to perform sedentary work as defined in 20 C.F.R. 404.1567(a) except that she should have avoided concentrated exposure to vibrations and electromagnetic fields.
6. Through the date last insured, the claimant was unable to perform any past relevant work (20 C.F.R. 404.1565).
7. The claimant was born on May 27, 1964 and was 41 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-44, on the date last insured (20 C.F.R. 404.1563).
8. The claimant has at least a high school education and is able to communicate in English (20 C.F.R. 404.1564).
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 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 2).
10. Through the date last insured, considering the claimant's age, education, work experience, and residual functioning capacity, there were jobs that existed in significant numbers in the national economy that the claimant could have performed (20 C.F.R. 404.1569 and 404.1569(a)).
11. The claimant was not under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, at any time from May 17, 2005, the alleged onset date, through December 31, 2005, the date last insured (20 C.F.R. 404.1520(g)).

(Tr. 14-15, 17-18.)

         On June 16, 2014, the Appeals Council denied Matheney's request for review of the ALJ's decision (Tr. 1-6), thereby rendering that decision the final decision of the Social Security Administration (“SSA”). This civil action was thereafter timely filed, and the court has jurisdiction. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

         II. ...


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