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Isaacs v. Berryhill

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

March 27, 2017

JOHN MICHAEL ISAACS 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 Plaintiff John Michael Isaacs 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 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 11). By Order entered September 23, 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 an application for Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income benefits on October 9, 2013 (Tr. 198-211). Plaintiff alleged that he became disabled on June 15, 2013 as a result of:

1. Back and neck problems
2. Asthma
3. Back and neck disorders, Status post cervical surgery
4. Emphysema
5. Sleep apnea
6. Right hip pain, difficulty ambulating
7. Poor memory, concentration, focus; confusion
8. Depression, anxiety
9. Heart murmur 10. Acid reflux

(Tr. 247). Administrative Law Judge David S. Pang conducted a video hearing on March 19, 2015 from Baltimore, Maryland. Plaintiff was present in Bowling Green, Kentucky and represented by Charles Burchett. Also present and testifying was Alissa Smith, vocational expert. Present but not testifying was Debra Card, hearing monitor.

         In a decision dated April 16, 2015, the ALJ evaluated this adult disability claim pursuant to the five-step sequential evaluation process promulgated by the Commissioner (Tr. 99-117). At the first step, the ALJ found Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since June 15, 2013, the alleged onset date (Tr. 104). At the second step, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff's spine disorder is a “severe” impairment within the meaning of the regulations (Tr. 104). Also at the second step, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff's organic mental disorder is a “non-severe” impairment within the meaning of the regulations (Tr. 105). 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. 106).

         At the fourth step, the ALJ found Plaintiff has the residual functional capacity to perform a restricted range of light work (Tr. ...


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