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Bishop v. Berryhill

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

September 7, 2017

NANCY A. BERRYHILL Acting Commissioner of Social Security[1]



         Plaintiff 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 her claim for a period of disability and Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”), as provided under Title II of the Social Security Act (“the Act”). The case is currently pending on Plaintiff's motion for judgment on the administrative record (Docket Entry No. 16), [2] to which Defendant has responded. Docket Entry No. 17. Plaintiff has also filed a subsequent reply to Defendant's response. Docket Entry No. 18. This action is before the undersigned for all further proceedings pursuant to the consent of the parties and order of the District Judge in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) (Docket Entry Nos. 20-21).

         Upon review of the administrative record as a whole and consideration of the parties' filings, Plaintiff's motion is DENIED and the decision of the Commissioner is AFFIRMED.


         Plaintiff filed an application for a period of disability and DIB on September 8, 2010. See Transcript of the Administrative Record (Docket Entry No. 14) at 54.[3] She alleged a disability onset date of August 15, 2010. AR 54.[4] Plaintiff asserted that she was unable to work due to heart problems, breathing problems, stomach problems, brain lesion, depression, asthma, ulcer, migraines, memory loss, and pain on both side of the body. AR 63, 67.

         Plaintiff's applications were denied initially and upon reconsideration AR 54-55. Pursuant to her request for a hearing before an administrative law judge (“ALJ”), Plaintiff appeared with counsel and testified at a hearing before ALJ Elizabeth P. Neuhoff on January 15, 2013. AR 29. On March 1, 2013, the ALJ denied the claim. AR 11-13. On July 5, 2013, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for a review of the ALJ's decision (AR 1-3), thereby making the ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner. 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 March 1, 2013. AR 11. 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 December 31, 2015.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since October 1, 2010, the amended alleged onset date (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq.).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: asthma, major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and alcohol abuse in current remission (20 CFR 404.1520(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 and 404.1526).
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform a full range of work at all exertional levels but with the following nonexertional limitations: the claimant can have no work around pulmonary irritants; limited to unskilled work consisting of simple tasks and instructions; can maintain concentration, persistence and pace for periods of at least two hours at a time; occasionally engage in contact with the public; can handle occasional changes in the workplace routine setting or location.
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work (20 CFR 404.1565).
7. The claimant was born on April 9, 1961 and was 49 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the amended alleged disability onset date (20 CFR 404.1563)
8. The claimant has at least a high school education and is able to communicate in English (20 CFR 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 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 regional and national economy that claimant can perform (20 CFR 404.1569 and 404.1569(a))
11. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from August 15, 2008, through the date of this decision (20 CFR 404.1520(f)).

         AR 16-23.


         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 only to the extent necessary to analyze the parties' arguments.


         A. ...

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