United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
BROWN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
before the court is the pro se Plaintiff's
motion for judgment on the administrative record (Docket
Entry No. 16), to which Defendant Commissioner of Social
Security (“Commissioner”) filed a response
(Docket Entry No. 17). Upon consideration of the parties'
filings and the transcript of the administrative record
(Docket Entry No. 13),  and for the reasons given herein, the
Magistrate Judge RECOMMENDS that
Plaintiff's motion for judgment on the administrative
record be DENIED and that the decision of
the Commissioner be AFFIRMED.
Dantay Yvette Blackwell, filed an application for
supplemental security income (“SSI”) under Title
XVI of the Social Security Act on March 7, 2013, alleging
disability onset as of June 1, 2006, due to epilepsy. (Tr.
10, 64, 72, 165). Plaintiff's claim was denied at the
initial level on July 3, 2013, and on reconsideration on
October 14, 2013. (Tr. 10, 64-88). Plaintiff subsequently
requested de novo review of her case by an
administrative law judge (“ALJ”). (Tr. 90-92).
The ALJ heard the case on April 8, 2015, when Plaintiff
appeared pro se and gave testimony. (Tr. 10, 27-53,
55-63). Testimony was also received by a vocational expert.
(Tr. 53-55). At the conclusion of the hearing, the matter was
taken under advisement until October 6, 2015, when the ALJ
issued a written decision finding Plaintiff not disabled.
(Tr. 6-21). That decision contains the following enumerated
1. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since March 7, 2013, the application date (20 CFR
416.971 et seq.).
2. The claimant has the following severe impairments: seizure
disorder; headaches; sleep apnea; and obesity (20 CFR
3. 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 416.920(d), 416.925 and 416.926).
4. 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 except that she should avoid all exposure
5. The claimant has no past relevant work (20 CFR 416.965).
6. The claimant was born on March 24, 1974 and was 38 years
old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on
the date the application was filed (20 CFR 416.963).
7. The claimant has at least a high school education and is
able to communicate in English (20 CFR 416.964).
8. Transferability of job skills is not an issue because the
claimant does not have past relevant work (20 CFR 416.968).
9. 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 416.969 and
10. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined
in the Social Security Act, since March 7, 2013, the date the
application was filed (20 CFR 416.920(g)).
(Tr. 12-13, 19-21).
November 4, 2016, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's
request for review of the ALJ's decision (Tr. 1-3),
thereby rendering that 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).
REVIEW OF THE RECORD
following summary of the medical record is taken from the
The claimant alleges a disability onset date of June 1, 2006,
based epilepsy. Exhibit l F includes an undated letter from
neurologist Dr. Richard T. Hoos addressed to Dr. Keith Junior
of the Waverly-Belmont Clinic detailing the claimant's
history of epilepsy. The letter notes the claimant's age
as thirty-one, so it was obviously completed sometime between
March 2005 and March 2006 based on the claimant's
birthday. Dr. Hoos reported that the claimant typically had a
reliable premonitory sensation described as a “funny
feeling in her head” as well as staring attacks and
continued activity. He noted that the claimant's seizures
typically progressed to blacking out and falling down with
incontinency and tongue or lip-biting. At the time the letter
was written, the claimant had been taking Lamictal since
November 2004 and her last seizure had occurred a month
before the letter was written. On examination, Dr. Hoos noted
that the claimant weighed two hundred and sixty-eight pounds,
but his findings were otherwise unremarkable. He prescribed
the claimant Topamax and continued on her Lamictal. Exhibit
On March 13, 2006, it was noted that the claimant was doing
okay and that she had not had any seizures, and on July 5,
2006, she reported feeling good. The next medical record is
dated February 8, 2007, and it shows that the claimant
reported having a seizure two days prior. The next record is
dated December 12, 2008, and it reflects that the claimant
reported having many seizures and being off of Lamictal for
about a year. It was noted that her seizures had probably
been well-controlled on her previous dose of Lamictal but
that she frequently forgot to take her medication. Exhibit
There is another long gap in the claimant's medical
records until September 16, 2010, when it was noted that she
had run out of Lamictal about two years prior and was again
having several seizures. She was restarted on Lamictal.
Exhibit l F. On January 19, 2011, she presented to United
Neighborhood Health Services and reported that her last
seizure had occurred in November 2010. She was diagnosed with
chronic convulsions. Except for weighing two hundred and
fifty-four pounds, she had an unremarkable respiratory,
cardiovascular, and musculoskeletal examination. Exhibit 2F.
The claimant returned to United Neighborhood Health Services
on July 9, 2012. She reported that her last seizure had
occurred five months prior and that she had been out of her
seizure medication since May 2011. However, she then stated
that she had been out of her medication since January 2011
because she did not like her neurologist and did not follow
up with him after her last appointment in September 2010. It
was noted that the claimant had grand mal seizures and that
she had been non-compliant with both appointments and
medications. She was referred ...