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Burden v. Berryhill

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Owensboro Division

October 11, 2017

NATHANIEL WAYNE BURDEN 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 Nathaniel Burden seeking judicial review of the final decision of the Commissioner pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Both the Plaintiff (DN 17) and Defendant (DN 20) 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 15). By Order entered April 6, 2016 (DN 16), 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 Income benefits on February 18, 2014 (Tr. 183). Plaintiff alleged that he became disabled on December 26, 2012, as a result of a shattered right hip, drop foot, and nerve damage (Tr. 183, 212). Administrative Law Judge Amber Downs conducted a video hearing on August 17, 2015 from Tampa, Florida. Plaintiff was present in Owensboro, Kentucky and represented by Sarah Martin. Also present and testifying was impartial vocational expert Stephanie Barnes.

         In a decision dated December 2, 2015, the ALJ evaluated this adult disability claim pursuant to the five-step sequential evaluation process promulgated by the Commissioner (Tr. 14-33). At the first step, the ALJ found Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since December 26, 2012, the alleged onset date (Tr. 19). At the second step, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff's status post right acetabular fracture with right sciatic neuropathy, right foot drop, and obesity are “severe” impairments within the meaning of the regulations (Tr. 19). 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. 19-20).

         At the fourth step, the ALJ found Plaintiff has the residual functional capacity to perform a limited range of light work (Tr. 20). More specifically, the ALJ found as follows:

He can occasionally push/pull with the right foot, such as for foot controls/pedals. He can frequently climb ramps. He can occasionally climb stairs. He can never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. He can frequently stoop. He can occasionally kneel, crouch, or crawl. He can tolerate occasional exposure to humidity and wetness, vibration, and extreme cold. He requires a sit/stand alternative meaning he needs the ability to alternate positions between sitting and standing every 30 minutes.

(Tr. 20). Relying on testimony from the vocational expert, the ALJ found that Plaintiff is unable to perform any of his past relevant work as a production worker, a salesperson, a store laborer, a farm laborer, and a mail sorter (Tr. 26).

         The ALJ proceeded to the fifth step where she considered Plaintiff's residual functional capacity, age, education, and past work experience as well as testimony from the vocational expert (Tr. 27). The ALJ found that Plaintiff is capable of performing a significant number of jobs that exist in the national economy (Tr. 27-28). Therefore, the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff has not been under a “disability, ” as defined in the Social Security Act from February 7, 2014 through the date of the decision (Tr. 28).

         Plaintiff timely filed a request for the Appeals Council to review the ALJ's decision (Tr. 12-13). The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review of the ALJ's decision (Tr. 1-4).

         CONCLUSIONS ...


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