United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Knoxville
case is before the undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636(b), Rule 73 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and
the consent of the parties [Doc. 13]. Now before the Court is
Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment and Memorandum in
Support [Docs. 14 and 15] and Defendant's Motion for
Summary Judgment and Memorandum in Support [Docs. 16 and 17].
Deborah Kimrey (“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
November 11, 2014, 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 October 30,
2011. [Tr. 171-73, 188]. After her application was denied
initially and upon reconsideration, Plaintiff requested a
hearing before an ALJ. [Tr. 121-22]. A hearing was held on
September 21, 2016. [Tr. 55-75]. On February 3, 2017, the ALJ
found that Plaintiff was not disabled. [Tr. 37-49]. The
Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review
[Tr. 1-4], making the ALJ's decision the final decision
of the Commissioner.
exhausted her administrative remedies, Plaintiff filed a
Complaint with this Court on July 7, 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.
made the following findings:
1. The claimant last met the insured status requirements of
the Social Security Act on December 31, 2016.
2. The claimant did not engage in substantial gainful
activity during the period from her alleged onset date of
October 30, 2011 through her date last insured of December
31, 2016 (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq.).
3. Through the date last insured, the claimant had the
following severe impairments: asthma, sleep apnea, obesity,
and depression (20 CFR 404.1520(c)).
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).
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that, through the date last insured, the
claimant had the residual functional capacity to perform
medium work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(c) except she must
avoid concentrated exposure to pulmonary irritants and
hazards. The claimant could occasionally climb ladders,
ropes, or scaffolds and frequently climb ramps or stairs.
Additionally, she could frequently stoop, kneel, crouch, and
crawl. Mentally, she could perform simple one-to-two step
6. Through the date last insured, the claimant was unable to
perform any past relevant work. (20 CFR 404.1565).
7. The claimant was born on August 3, 1956 and was 60 years
old, which is defined as an individual of advanced age, on
the date last insured. The claimant subsequently changed age
category to closely approaching retirement age (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. Through the dated last insured, considering the
claimant's age, education, work experience, and residual
functional capacity, there were jobs that exist in
significant numbers in the national economy that the claimant
could have performed (20 CFR 404.1569 and 404.1569(a)).
11. The claimant was not under a disability, as defined in
the Social Security Act, at any time from October 30, 2011,
the alleged onset date, through December 31, 2016, the ...