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Holbrooks v. Berryhill

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

June 3, 2019

MELISA MICHELLE HOLBROOKS
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL Acting Commissioner of Social Security

          Honorable Waverly D. Crenshaw, Jr., Chief District Judge

          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 Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) as provided under Title XVI of the Social Security Act (“the Act”). The case is currently pending on Plaintiff's motion for judgment on the administrative record (Docket Entry (“DE”) 17), to which Defendant has responded. DE 18. Plaintiff has also filed a reply brief. DE 19.

         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 (DE 17) be DENIED.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff filed an application for SSI on January 6, 2015, in which she alleged that she was unable to work because of chronic sciatica, pinched nerves, degenerative disc disease, mental health illnesses, and numbness in the knee. See Transcript of the Administrative Record (DE 15) at 67, 83.[1] She alleged a disability onset date of May 1, 2014. AR 55.

         Plaintiff's applications were denied initially and upon reconsideration. AR 67, 80. Pursuant to her request for a hearing before an administrative law judge (“ALJ”), Plaintiff appeared with counsel and testified at a hearing before ALJ William Callahan on May 10, 2017. AR 26. On August 23, 2017, the ALJ denied the claim. AR 8-10. The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review of the ALJ's decision (AR 1-4), thereby making the ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner. This civil action was subsequently filed and the Court has jurisdiction. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

         II. THE ALJ FINDINGS

         The ALJ made the following enumerated findings as part of his denial of Plaintiff's claim:

1. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since January 6, 2015, the application date (20 CFR 416.971 et seq.).
2. The claimant has the following medically determinable impairments: paraspinal muscle spasms; mild lumbar degenerative disc disease (DDD); early left knee degenerative joint disease (DJD); depression/affective disorder with mixed anxiety; hypertension; GERD; and obesity (416.922 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 122 consecutive months; therefore, the claimant does not have a severe impairment or combination of impairments (416.922 et seq.).
4. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, since January 6, 2015, the date the application was filed (20 CFR 416.920(c)).

AR 13-21.

         III. REVIEW OF THE RECORD

         The parties and the ALJ have thoroughly summarized and discussed the medical and testimonial evidence of the administrative record. Accordingly, the Court will discuss those matters only to ...


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