United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Knoxville
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. 16]. Now before the
Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment and
Memorandum in Support [Docs. 14 & 15], Defendant's
Motion for Summary Judgment and Memorandum in Support [Docs.
17 & 18], and Plaintiff's Reply Brief [Doc. 19].
Tanya Hensley (“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 Plaintiff's motion and
GRANT the Commissioner's motion.
November 8, 2010, Plaintiff filed an application for
supplemental security income benefits pursuant to Title XVI
of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1381 et
seq., claiming that she suffers from degenerative bone
disease that has rendered her disabled since May 1, 2006, the
amended onset date. [Tr. 41, 305, 310]. After her application
was denied initially and upon reconsideration, Plaintiff
requested a hearing before an ALJ. [Tr. 132]. A hearing was
held on October 26, 2012, resulting in an unfavorable
decision by the ALJ. [Tr. 57-83, 102-12]. The Appeals Council
remanded the case back to the ALJ [Tr. 118-20], and a second
hearing was conducted on January 21, 2015 [Tr. 37-56]. On
February 3, 2015, the ALJ found that Plaintiff was not
disabled. [Tr. 19-31]. The Appeals Council denied
Plaintiff's request for review [Tr. 1-3], making the
ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner.
exhausted her administrative remedies, Plaintiff filed a
Complaint with this Court on June 29, 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 in his February 3, 2015 decision:
1. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since November 8, 2010, the application date (20 CFR
416.971 et seq.).
2. The claimant has the following medically determinable
impairments: remote history of binary stricture and
stenting/removal; new onset of congestive hearing failure in
2005, high blood pressure, degenerative disc disease of the
thoracic and lumbar spine, bilateral facet hypertrophy, and
Anxiety Disorder (20 CFR 416.921 et seq.).
3. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of
impairments that has significantly limited (or is expected to
significantly limit) the ability to perform basic
work-related activities for 12 consecutive months; therefore,
the claimant does not have a severe impairment or combination
of impairments (20 CFR 416.921 et seq.).
4. The vocational expert described the claimant's past
relevant work as a furniture upholsterer (DOT 780.684-118,
SVP 5, skilled, medium to heavy work) and a sales associate
(DOT 279.357-05, SVP 3, semi-skilled, light to medium work).
Alternatively, the claimant is able to perform all of her
past relevant work based on the work-related limitations
assessed by Dr. Goewey in Exhibit 21F.
5. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined
in the Social Security Act, from November 8, 2010, the date
the application was filed (20 CFR 416.920(c)).
is the “inability to engage in any substantial gainful
activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or
mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or
which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous
period of not less than twelve months.” 42 U.S.C.
§ 423(d)(1)(A). A claimant will only be considered
his physical or mental impairment or impairments are of such
severity that he is not only unable to do his previous work
but cannot, considering his age, education, and work
experience, engage in any other kind of substantial gainful
work which exists in the national economy, regardless of
whether such work exists in the immediate area in which he
lives, or whether a specific job vacancy exists for him, or
whether he would be hired if he applied for work.
42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(2)(A).
is evaluated pursuant to a five-step analysis ...