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Ash v. Berryhill

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

August 29, 2017

KAREN EVALINA ASH 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 Karen Evalina Ash seeking judicial review of the final decision of the Commissioner pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Both the Plaintiff (DN 15) 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 March 29, 2017 (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 Benefits on December 29, 2014 (Tr. 161). Plaintiff alleged that she became disabled on February 2, 2014, as a result of depression and degenerative disc disease (Tr. 210). Administrative Law Judge Richard E. Guida conducted a video hearing on October 20, 2015 (Tr. 27). Plaintiff was present in Bowling Green, Kentucky and represented by Richard Burchett. The ALJ was in Ohio. Also present and testifying was vocational expert Abbe May.

         In a decision dated December 14, 2015, the ALJ evaluated this adult disability claim pursuant to the five-step sequential evaluation process promulgated by the Commissioner (Tr. 11-26). At the first step, the ALJ found Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since February 2, 2014, the alleged onset date (Tr. 16). At the second step, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff's carpal tunnel syndrome, degenerative disc disease, degenerative joint disease, neuropathy, and obesity are “severe” impairments within the meaning of the regulations (Tr. 16). Also at the second step, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff's depression is a “non-severe” impairment within the meaning of the regulations (Tr. 16). 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. 17).

         At the fourth step, the ALJ found Plaintiff has the residual functional capacity to perform work as follows:

After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) except occasional use of ramps or stairs, stooping, kneeling, crouching, crawling, no climbing of ladders, ropes, or scaffolds, avoid concentrated exposure to vibration, dangerous machinery, and unprotected heights, and limited to frequent bilateral handling and fingering

(Tr. 17). Relying on testimony from the vocational expert, the ALJ found that Plaintiff is unable to perform any of her past relevant work as a retail worker (Tr. 19).

         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. 21). Therefore, the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff has not been under a “disability, ” as defined in the Social Security Act, from February 2, 2014 through the date of the decision (Tr. 21).

         Plaintiff timely filed a request for the Appeals Council to review the ALJ's decision (Tr. 9-10). The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review of the ALJ's decision (Tr. 1-4).

         CONCLUSIONS ...


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