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Childress v. Berryhill

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

February 24, 2017

CHARLES C. CHILDRESS PLAINTIFF
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security DEFENDANT

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          H. Brent Brennenstuhl United States Magistrate Judge

         BACKGROUND

         Before the Court is the complaint (DN 1) of Charles C Childress (“Plaintiff") seeking judicial review of the final decision of the Commissioner pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Both the Plaintiff (DN 13) and Defendant (DN 16) have filed a Fact and Law Summary.

         Pursuant to General Order No. 2014-17, this matter has been referred to the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge to review the Fact and Law Summaries and submit Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Recommendations. By Order entered October 3, 2016 (DN 12), 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 applications for Disability Insurance Benefits and Supplemental Security Income Benefits on May 24, 2013 (Tr. 218, 220). Plaintiff alleged that he became disabled on January 1, 2013, as a result of scoliosis, pinched nerves in the neck, numbness in his hand, migraines, bulging discs, and high blood pressure (Tr. 236). Administrative Law Judge Stanley K. Chen (“ALJ") conducted a video hearing on December 4, 2014, from Baltimore, Maryland (Tr. 54, 72-74). Plaintiff and his attorney Mary G. Burchett-Bower participated in the video hearing from Bowling Green, Kentucky (Id.). David Ascher Burnhill, a vocational expert, testified during the video hearing (Id.).

         In a decision dated February 6, 2015, the ALJ evaluated this adult disability claim pursuant to the five-step sequential evaluation process promulgated by the Commissioner (Tr. 54-66). The ALJ found that Plaintiff met the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through March 31, 2014 (Tr. 56). At the first step, the ALJ found Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since January 1, 2013 the alleged onset date (Tr. 56). At the second step, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff has the following severe impairments: mild scoliosis, cervical and lumbar degenerative disc disease, tendinopathy of the right shoulder, obesity, post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”), and depressive disorder, not otherwise specified (Tr. 56). The ALJ determined that Plaintiff's single seizure did not meet the duration requirement to be a severe impairment, and her migraines are a “non-severe" impairment (Tr. 57). 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. 57).

         At the fourth step, the ALJ found Plaintiff has the residual functional capacity to perform less than a full range of light work (Dr. 59). More specifically, the ALJ found as follows:

[T]he claimant can lift up to 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently, stand and walk up to 6 hours and sit up to 6 hours in an 8 hour workday with normal breaks. The claimant requires a sit/stand option, changing positions 5 minutes every half an hour. However, the claimant would be able to change positions at his workstation without being off task. He is limited to occasional climbing of ladders, ropes or scaffolds, frequently climbing of ramps and stairs, and can frequently balance, frequently stoop, frequently kneel, frequently crouch or frequently crawl. The claimant should avoid repetitive rotations, flexion or hyperextension of the neck. The claimant is limited to frequent overhead reaching with the right upper extremity. He is limited to frequent gross and fine manipulation in dealing with the right upper extremity. Finally, the claimant can perform simple, routine, repetitive tasks and is limited to occasional interaction with the public.

(Tr. 59). Relying on testimony from the vocational expert, the ALJ found that Plaintiff is unable to perform any of his past relevant work (Tr. 64).

         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. 65-66). The ALJ found that Plaintiff is capable of performing a significant number of jobs that exist in the national economy (Id.). Therefore, the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff has not been under a “disability, " as defined in the Social Security Act, from January 1, 2013 through the date of the decision, February 6, 2015 (Tr. 66).

         Plaintiff timely filed a request for the Appeals Council to review the ALJ's decision (Tr. 44-45). Additionally, Plaintiff submitted additional medical evidence in support of his request for review (Tr. 6-39, 47-50). The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review of the ALJ's decision (Tr. 1-5).

         CONCLUSIONS ...


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