United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, London
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
M. Hood Senior U.S. District Judge.
matter is before the Court on the parties' cross-Motions
for Summary Judgment (DE 12, 13) on Plaintiff's appeal of
the Commissioner's denial of her application for
disability insurance benefits. The matter having been fully
briefed by the parties is now ripe for this Court's
determining whether an individual is disabled, an
Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") uses a five step
1. An individual who is working and engaging in substantial
gainful activity is not disabled, regardless of the
claimant's medical condition.
2. An individual who is working but does not have a
"severe" impairment which significantly limits his
physical or mental ability to do basic work activities is not
3. If an individual is not working and has a severe
impairment which "meets the duration requirement and is
listed in appendix 1 or equal to a listed impairment (s)
", then he is disabled regardless of other factors.
4. If a decision cannot be reached based on current work
activity and medical facts alone, and the claimant has a
severe impairment, then the Secretary reviews the
claimant's residual functional capacity and the physical
and mental demands of the claimant's previous work. If
the claimant is able to continue to do this previous work,
then he is not disabled.
5. If the claimant cannot do any work he did in the past
because of a severe impairment, then the Secretary considers
his residual functional capacity, age, education, and past
work experience to see if he can do other work. If he cannot,
the claimant is disabled.
Preslar v. Sec'y of Health & Hum. Servs., 14
F.3d 1107, 1110 (6th Cir. 1994) (citing 20 C.F.R. §
Renee Jackson ("Jackson" or "Plaintiff")
filed an application for Disability Insurance Benefits and
Supplemental Security Income on September 27, 2012, alleging
disability commencing on September 1, 2012. (Tr. 24) . After
being denied initially and upon reconsideration, Plaintiff
filed a Request for Hearing on October 4, 2013. (Tr. 24) .
Her case was heard by Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Tommye
C. Mangus, who issued an unfavorable decision on April 8,
2015. [Tr. 21-42]. Plaintiff had previously applied and been
denied after a hearing in front of an ALJ in 2009 and ALJ
Mangus adopted those findings as required by Drummond v.
Comrn'r of Social Sec, 126 F.3d 837 (6th Cir. 1997)
(Tr. 24) .
denial decision, the ALJ found Plaintiff had severe
degenerative disc disease and degenerative joint disease of
the lumbar and cervical spine, obesity, and depression, but
that these impairments did not meet or equal a presumptively
disabling impairment listed at 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P,
App. 1 [Tr. 27] . Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial
gainful activity since the application date of September 27,
2012. The ALJ found that Plaintiff had the residual
functional capacity (RFC) to perform light exertion work as
defined in 20 CFR 416.967(b) that required no climbing
ladders, ropes, or scaffolds; no crawling; occasional
stooping, bending, or crouching; no exposure to dangerous
moving machinery and unprotected heights; an option to
alternate between sitting and standing every 30 minutes; and
no production-rate quota work (Tr. 28) . The Appeals Council
denied Plaintiff's request for review (Tr. 1-4), making
the ALJ's decision final. See 20 C.F.R. §
416.1481. This appeal followed.
contends the AL J's finding of her RFC is not supported
by the treating or examining evidence of record, that the lay
testimony proves she is totally disabled, that the ALJ
committed reversible error in failing to apply the Sixth
Circuit pain standard, and that the vocational expert's
testimony proves Plaintiff is totally disabled. Plaintiff
argues when determining ...