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Brown v. Berryhill

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

August 25, 2017

LATOSHA SHEREE BROWN, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security,[1] Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR. (CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE)

         Latosha Sheree Brown filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3) to obtain judicial review of the final decision of the Social Security Administration (“Commissioner”) denying Plaintiff's claim for Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) and Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) as provided under Title II and XVI of the Social Security Act (“the Act”). The case is currently pending on Plaintiff's Motion for Judgment on the Administrative Record (Doc. No. 18), to which Defendant has filed a response. (Doc. No. 19.) Plaintiff has also filed a reply. (Doc. No. 22.)

         Upon review of the administrative record as a whole and consideration of the parties' filings, Plaintiff's motion (Doc. No. 18) is DENIED and the decision of the Commissioner is AFFIRMED.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff filed an application for DIB and SSI on October 31, 2011. (Doc. No. 10, Transcript of the Administrative Record, at 60-61.)[2] She alleged a disability onset date of October 25, 2010. AR 60-61. Plaintiff asserted that she was unable to work because of fibromyalgia, arthritis, hip problems, asthma, hypertension, depression, and anxiety. AR 69.

         Plaintiff's applications were denied initially and upon reconsideration. AR 60-63. Pursuant to her request for a hearing before an administrative law judge (“ALJ”), Plaintiff appeared with counsel and testified at a hearing before ALJ Ronald E. Miller on September 6, 2013. AR 37. The ALJ subsequently denied the claim on November 1, 2013. AR 8-10. The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review of the ALJ's decision on March 19, 2015, thereby making the ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner. AR 1-3. This civil action was thereafter timely filed, and the Court has jurisdiction. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

         II. THE ALJ FINDINGS

         The ALJ issued an unfavorable decision and made the following enumerated findings based upon the record:

1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through December 31, 2016.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since October 25, 2010, the alleged onset date. (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq., and 416.971 et seq.).
***
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: fibromyalgia; arthritis of the right knee; a back impairment; chronic bursitis of the right hip; obesity; and asthma (20 CFR 404.1520(c) and 416.920(c)).
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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).
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5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform sedentary work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(a) and 416.967(a) except for ability to occasionally lift up to 20 pounds, to stand and walk for 2 hours each out of 8 hours, and to sit for 6 hours out of 8 hours, with no climbing of ladders, ropes or scaffolds or crawling, occasional climbing of stairs and ramps, stooping, crouching and kneeling, and no exposure to work at unprotected heights or around dangerous moving machinery, or to dust, fumes or gases.
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6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work (20 CFR 404.1565 and 416.965).
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7. The claimant was born on January 20, 1977 and was 33 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-44, on the alleged disability onset date (20 CFR 404.1563 and 416.963).
8. The claimant has a limited education (10th grade) and is able to communicate in English (20 CFR 404.1564 and 416.964).
9. Transferability of job skills is not an issue in this case because the claimant's past relevant work is unskilled (20 CFR 404.1564 and 416.964).
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)).
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11. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from October 25, 2010, through the date of this decision (20 ...

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