United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Knoxville
SHEILA R. BURTON, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
Clifford Shirley, Jr. United States Magistrate Judge
case is before the undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636(b), Rule 72(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,
and the consent of the parties [Doc. 22]. Now before the
Court is the Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment and
Memorandum in Support [Docs. 17 & 18] and the
Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment and Memorandum in
Support [Docs. 23 & 24]. Sheila R. Burton (“the
Plaintiff”) seeks judicial review of the decision of
the Administrative Law Judge (“the ALJ”), the
final decision of Defendant Nancy A. Berryhill, Acting
Commissioner of Social Security (“the
Commissioner”). For the reasons that follow, the Court
will DENY the Plaintiff's motion, and
GRANT the Commissioner's motion.
August 20, 2013, the Plaintiff filed an application for
disability insurance benefits pursuant to Title II of the
Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 401 et seq.,
claiming a period of disability that began on June 27, 2012.
[Tr. 1515, 177]. After her application was denied initially
and upon reconsideration, the Plaintiff requested a hearing
before an ALJ. [Tr. 109]. A hearing was held on August 26,
2014. [Tr. 40-62]. On August 21, 2015, the ALJ found that the
Plaintiff was not disabled. [Tr. 24-35]. The Appeals Council
denied the Plaintiff's request for review [Tr. 1-6],
making the ALJ's decision the final decision of the
exhausted her administrative remedies, the Plaintiff filed a
Complaint with this Court on May 16, 2016, seeking judicial
review of the Commissioner's final decision under Section
405(g) of the Social Security Act. [Doc. 1]. The parties have
filed competing dispositive motions, and this matter is now
ripe for adjudication.
made the following findings:
1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the
Social Security Act through December 31, 2017.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since June 27, 2012, the alleged onset date (20 CFR
404.1571 et. seq.).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments:
degenerative disc disease, residuals from fractured pelvis,
gout in hands and feet, diabetes, and obesity (20 CFR
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 light work as defined in 20
CFR 404.1567(b) except lifting/carrying (included upward
pulling) 20 pounds occasionally, 10 pounds frequently.
Standing and/or walking (with normal breaks) at least two
hours in an eight-hour day, each. Unrestricted sitting.
Occasional postural activities, but no climbing
ladders/ropes/scaffolds. No manipulative, visual,
communicative, or environmental limitations.
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work.
(20 CFR 404.1565).
7. The claimant was born on February 21, 1967 and was 45
years old, which is defined as a younger individual age
18-49, on the alleged disability onset date (20 CFR
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 national economy
that the claimant can perform (20 CFR 404.1569 and
11. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined
in the Social Security Act, from June 27, 2012, through the
date of ...