United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Northeastern Division
KIMBERLY A. RUSSO, Plaintiff,
ANDREW M. SAUL, Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
HONORABLE WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR., CHIEF DISTRICT JUDGE
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
ALISTAIR E. NEWBERN MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Kimberly A. Russo filed this action under 42 U.S.C. §
405(g) seeking judicial review of the final decision of the
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA)
denying her application for disability insurance benefits
(DIB) under Title II of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C.
§§ 401-434. (Doc. No. 1.) Now before the Court is
Russo's motion for judgment on the administrative record
(Doc. No. 14), to which the Commissioner has responded in
opposition (Doc. No. 16). Russo has filed a reply. (Doc. No.
17.) Having considered these filings and the administrative
record as a whole, and for the reasons that follow, the
Magistrate Judge will recommend that Russo's motion be
granted, that the ALJ's decision be reversed, and that
this case be remanded for further administrative proceedings
and rehearing consistent with this Report and Recommendation.
Russo's Application for DIB
applied for DIB in April 2014 (AR 177-83), alleging that
she has been disabled and unable to work since April 15,
2010, as a result of, inter alia, back problems,
bone spurs, knee pain, fibromyalgia, chronic obstructive
pulmonary disease, allergies, dizziness, insomnia, sinus
problems, night sweats, indigestion, plantar fasciitis,
restless leg syndrome, strabismus, urinary incontinence,
irritable bowel syndrome, incontinence, diverticulitis,
confusion, depression and anxiety (AR 116, 118). The
Commissioner denied Russo's application initially and on
reconsideration. (AR 113-16, 120-21.) At Russo's request,
an administrative law judge (ALJ) held a hearing on November
14, 2016. (AR 50-80, 124.) Russo appeared with a non-attorney
representative and testified. (AR 56-75.) The ALJ also heard
testimony from Jane Colvin-Roberson, a vocational expert. (AR
February 15, 2017, the ALJ issued a written decision finding
that Russo was not disabled within the meaning of the Social
Security Act and applicable regulations and denying her claim
for DIB. (AR 35-45.) Based on the record, the ALJ made the
following enumerated 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
April 15, 2010 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: disorders of the
gastrointestinal system, spine disorders, and affective
disorders (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). She could lift
fifty pounds occasionally and twenty-five pounds frequently.
She could stand, sit, or walk for six of eight hours. The
claimant is able to perform simple, low-level detailed and
multi-step tasks with no more than occasional contact with
coworkers, supervisors, and the public.
* * *
6. Through the date last insured, the claimant was capable of
performing past relevant work as an egg packer and inspector.
This work did not require the performance of work-related
activities precluded by the ...