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Cooper v. Berryhill

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

May 24, 2017

KAREN SUE COOPER 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 Karen Sue Cooper seeking judicial review of the final decision of the Commissioner pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Both the Plaintiff (DN 12) and Defendant (DN 15) 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 10). By Order entered December 27, 2016 (DN 11), 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 Supplemental Security and Disability Insurance Benefits on December 3, 2013 (Tr. 253-66). Plaintiff alleged that she became disabled on April 15, 2009 (Tr. 253). Plaintiff described the conditions leading to her claim as follows:

1. Tendonitis both hands
2. Nerves
3. Right arm and shoulder
4. Neck

(Tr. 282). Administrative Law Judge Greg Holsclaw conducted a hearing on August 25, 2015 in Lexington, Kentucky. Plaintiff was present and represented by M. Gail Wilson. Also present and testifying was William Braunig, a vocational expert (Tr. 29).

         In a decision dated October 29, 2015, the ALJ evaluated this adult disability claim pursuant to the five-step sequential evaluation process promulgated by the Commissioner (Tr. 9-28). At the first step, the ALJ found Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since April 15, 2009, the alleged onset date (Tr. 15). At the second step, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff has the following “severe” impairments within the meaning of the regulations:

[A]sthma; right lateral de Quervain's tendonitis; bilateral de Quervain's tendonitis; status post carpal tunnel release surgeries bilaterally; thoracic outlet syndrome/brachial plexus lesion with history of cervical steroid injection; status post removal of ganglion cyst from left wrist; plantar fasciitis; obesity; rule out diagnosis of right rotator cuff tear; depression; anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder

(Tr. 15). 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 ...


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