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Oliveira v. Berryhill

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

April 26, 2018

DESSIE S. OLIVEIRA, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Deputy Commissioner for Operations, performing the duties and functions not reserved to the Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

         This 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. 18]. Now before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment and Memorandum in Support [Docs. 15 & 16] and Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment and Memorandum in Support [Docs. 19 & 20]. Dessie S. Oliveira (“Plaintiff”) seeks judicial review of the decision of the Administrative Law Judge (“the ALJ”), the final decision of Defendant Nancy A. Berryhill (“the Commissioner”). For the reasons that follow, the Court will DENY Plaintiff's motion and GRANT the Commissioner's motion.

         I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On August 7, 2014, 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 a period of disability that began on March 22, 2015, the amended onset date. [Tr. 22, 48, 168-74]. After her application was denied initially and upon reconsideration, Plaintiff requested a hearing before an ALJ. [Tr. 108]. A hearing was held on July 25, 2016. [Tr. 36-59]. On September 29, 2016, the ALJ found that Plaintiff was not disabled. [Tr. 22-30]. The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review [Tr. 1-4], making the ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner.

         Having exhausted her administrative remedies, Plaintiff filed a Complaint with this Court on May 5, 2017, 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.

         II. ALJ FINDINGS

         The ALJ made the following findings:

1. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since March 22, 2015, the alleged onset date (20 CFR 416.971 et seq.).
2. The claimant has the following severe impairments: disorder of the back, osteoarthritis in the left shoulder, depressive disorder, unspecified anxiety disorder (20 CFR 416.920(c)).
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 medium work as defined in 20 CFR 416.967(c) except that the claimant can do no more than frequent climbing of ramps and stairs; no more than occasional climbing ladders, ropes, or scaffolds; no more than frequent balancing, stooping, kneeling, crouching, or crawling; no more than frequent overhead reaching with the left upper extremity; must avoid concentrated exposure to extreme heat and avoid all hazards; limited to 1, 2, 3-step instructions with no more than occasional contact with supervisors, coworkers, and the public with changes introduced gradually and infrequently.
5. The claimant is capable of performing past relevant work. This work does not require performance of work-related activities precluded by the claimant's residual functional capacity. (20 CFR 416.965).
6. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, since March 22, 2015, the amended onset date, through the date of this decision (20 CFR 416.920(g)).

[Tr. 24-30].

         III. ...


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