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Dykes v. Colvin

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Bowling Green Division

February 13, 2014

TIMOTHY DYKES Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

H. BRENT BRENNENSTUHL, Magistrate Judge.

BACKGROUND

Before the Court is the complaint (DN 2) of Timothy Dykes ("Plaintiff") seeking judicial review of the final decision of the Commissioner pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Both the Plaintiff (DN 17) and Defendant (DN 18) have filed a Fact and Law Summary.

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) and Fed.R.Civ.P. 73, the parties have consented to the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge conducting all further proceedings in this case, including issuance of a memorandum opinion and entry of judgment, with direct review by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in the event an appeal is filed (DN 13). By Order entered September 3, 2013 (DN 14), the parties were notified that oral arguments would not be held unless a written request therefor was filed and granted. No such request was filed.

FINDINGS OF FACT

Plaintiff filed an application for Disability Insurance Benefits on March 8, 2010 (Tr. 121). Plaintiff alleged that he became disabled on March 5, 2010 as a result of rheumatoid arthritis, degenerative disc disease, and depression (Tr. 135, 139). On December 15, 2011, Administrative Law Judge Karen R. Jackson ("ALJ") conducted a video hearing from Lexington, Kentucky (Tr. 12). Plaintiff appeared in Campbellsville, Kentucky, and was represented by attorney Roger Riggs (Tr. 12). Also present and testifying was Laura Whitten, a vocational expert (Tr. 12).

In a decision dated February 24, 2012, the ALJ found that Plaintiff meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through December 31, 2014 (Tr. 14). The ALJ evaluated this adult disability claim pursuant to the five-step sequential evaluation process promulgated by the Commissioner (Tr. 12-21). At the first step, the ALJ found Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since March 5, 2010, the alleged onset date (Tr. 14). At the second step, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff's rheumatoid arthritis; neck/intrascapular pain, status post cervical fusion; status post open reduction and internal fixation of right clavicle fracture with hardware fracture; obesity; depressive disorder, not otherwise specified; history of alcohol dependence; and hearing loss are "severe" impairments within the meaning of the regulations (Tr. 14). At the third step, the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals one of the listed impairments in Appendix 1 (Tr. 15).

At the fourth step, the ALJ found Plaintiff has the residual functional capacity to perform less than a full range of light work because he can lift and carry 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently; he can stand and walk 6 hours of an 8 hour day; he can sit 6 hours of an 8 hour day; he can only occasionally climb ramps and stairs, and never ladders, ropes, or scaffolds; he can occasionally balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl; he can no more than frequently reach overhead with the upper extremities; he should avoid concentrated exposure to temperature extremes, wetness, humidity, and hazards; he should keep his head and neck in a neutral position with no frequent turning of the head; he is limited to work in an object focused environment in which contact with the co-workers, supervisors, and the general public is casual and occasional; he is limited to simple, repetitive work tasks; he can maintain attention and concentration for 2 hour segments in an 8 hour work day; he is able to adapt to gradual changes in a routine work environment; he should not have requirements for fast paced production quotas or goals; and he needs a moderately quiet work environment (Tr. 17). Additionally, the ALJ found that Plaintiff is unable to perform any past relevant work (Tr. 20).

The ALJ proceeded to the fifth step where he considered Plaintiff's residual functional capacity, age, education, and past work experience as well as testimony from the vocational expert (Tr. 20-21). The ALJ found that Plaintiff is capable of performing a significant number of jobs that exist in the national economy (Tr. 20-21). Therefore, the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff has not been under a "disability, " as defined in the Social Security Act, from March 5, 2010, through the date of the decision (Tr. 21).

Plaintiff timely filed a request for the Appeals Council to review the ALJ's decision (Tr. 8). The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review of the ALJ's decision (Tr. 1-4, 5).

CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

The Social Security Act authorizes payment of Disability Insurance Benefits and Supplemental Security Income to persons with disabilities. 42 U.S.C. §§ 401 et seq. (Title II Disability Insurance Benefits), 1381 et seq. (Title XVI Supplemental Security Income). The term "disability" is defined as an:

"[i]nability 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 (12) months."

42 U.S.C. §§ 423(d)(1)(A) (Title II), 1382c(a)(3)(A) (Title XVI); 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1505(a), 416.905(a); Barnhart v. Walton , 535 U.S. 212, 214 (2002); Abbott v. ...


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