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Walker v. Berryhill

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

December 19, 2017

SAMANTHA JO WALKER
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL Acting Commissioner of Social Security[1]

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          BARBARA D. HOLMES, United States Magistrate Judge

         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 Plaintiff's 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. 12), to which Defendant has responded. Docket Entry No. 14. Plaintiff has also filed a subsequent reply to Defendant's response. Docket Entry No. 15.

         Upon review of the administrative record as a whole and consideration of the parties' filings, the undersigned Magistrate Judge respectfully recommends that Plaintiff's motion for judgment on the administrative record (Docket Entry No. 12) be DENIED.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff filed an application for a period of disability and DIB on October 25, 2013. See Transcript of the Administrative Record (Docket Entry No. 10) at 75.[2] She alleged a disability onset date of June 15, 2012. AR 75.[3] Plaintiff asserted that she was unable to work due to arthritis, two slipped discs in her back, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, psoriasis, and type 2 diabetes. AR 93.[4]

         Plaintiff's applications were denied initially and upon reconsideration AR 75, 88. Pursuant to her request for a hearing before an administrative law judge (“ALJ”), Plaintiff appeared with counsel and testified at a hearing before ALJ Angele Pietrangelo on October 30, 2013. AR 31. On November 27, 2015, the ALJ denied the claim. AR 10-12. On April 4, 2016, 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).

         II. THE ALJ FINDINGS

         The ALJ issued an unfavorable decision on November 27, 2015. AR 10-12. Based upon the record, the ALJ made the following enumerated findings:

1. The claimant last met the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act on June 30, 2014.
2. The claimant did not engage in substantial gainful activity during the period from her alleged onset date of October 21, 2013, through her date last insured of June 30, 2014 (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq.).
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3. Through the date last insured, the claimant had the following severe impairments: degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine, morbid obesity, diabetes mellitus and depressive disorder (20 CFR 404.1520(c)).
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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 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR 404.1520(d), 404.1525 and 404.1526).
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5. After careful consideration of the entire record, I find that, through the date last insured, the claimant had the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) except that she is only able to lift and[/]or carry up to twenty pounds occasionally and ten pounds frequently. She can sit, stand, and walk for six out of eight working hours. She should never climb ladders, ropes, and scaffolds but can occasionally climb ramps or stairs and can occasionally balance, stoop, kneel, crouch or crawl. She is limited to only occasionally pushing and pulling with the left lower extremity. She is limited to simple and low-level detailed tasks and is able to make simple workplace decisions. She is able to tolerate gradual and infrequent workplace changes.
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6. Through the date last insured, the claimant was unable to perform any past relevant work (20 CFR 404.1565).
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7. The claimant was born on October 5, 1970 and was 43 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the ...

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