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Nickol v. Berryhill

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

September 29, 2017

MAUREEN NICKOL, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security Administration, 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 Maureen Nickol's (“Plaintiff”) claim for Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) and 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. 26]. Pending before the Court is Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. 30]. The Court will consider Plaintiff's “Brief in Support of the Claimaint” [sic] [Doc. 29], in which she requests reversal or remand of the Commissioner's decision, as her dispositive motion in this matter.

         For the reasons stated herein, the Court AFFIRMS the Commissioner's decision. Accordingly, the Court DENIES Plaintiff's motion [Doc. 29] and GRANTS Defendant's motion [Doc. 30].

         II. Background

         A. Procedural History

         On October 25, 2011, and April 19, 2013, Plaintiff protectively filed for DIB and SSI under Titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act (“Act”), 42 U.S.C. § 401 et seq. and 42 U.S.C. § 1381 et seq., based on panic attacks, depression, chronic joint pain, severe menopause symptoms, endometriosis, and pyelonephritis[1] [Tr. 11, 108-109, 125].[2] Plaintiff's claim was denied initially and on reconsideration [Tr. 54-55, 57-60, 62-64]. On February 27, 2014, Plaintiff appeared and testified at a hearing before Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Ronald Feibus [Tr. 27-46]. On March 27, 2014, the ALJ issued a decision finding that Plaintiff was “not disabled, ” as defined in the applicable sections of the Act, because work existed in the national economy that she could still perform [Tr. 11-19]. On July 8, 2014, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review [Tr. 1-3]. Thus, 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 fifty-one-year-old individual who performed past relevant work as a help desk analyst and computer support technician [Tr. 31-32, 40-41, 131, 153-160]. At the time of her alleged onset date of September 14, 2010, Plaintiff was forty-four years old [Tr. 108].

         Plaintiff's Testimony and Medical History

         The parties and the ALJ have 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 ALJ's Findings

         After considering the entire record, the ALJ made the following 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 September 14, 2010, the alleged onset date (20 CFR 404.1571, et seq., and 416.971 et seq.).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: depression; anxiety (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), ...

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