United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
R. WILHOIT JR, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
has brought this action pursuant to 42 U, SC §405(g) to
challenge a final decision of the Defendant denying
Plaintiffs application for disability insurance benefits. The
Court having reviewed the record in this case and the
dispositive motions filed by the parties, and being otherwise
sufficiently advised, for the reasons set forth herein, finds
that the decision of the Administrative Law Judge is
supported by substantial evidence and should be affirmed.
FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
filed his current application for disability insurance
benefits in November 2010, alleging disability due to
"heart attack, back problems, high blood pressure [and]
high cholesterol." (Tr. 459). This application was
denied initially, on reconsideration and by administrative
decision. The Appeals Council granted Plaintiffs request for
review and entered an order remanding this matter.
Specifically, in its remand order, the Appeals Council found
error because the ALJ did not discuss or weigh the opinions
of Dr. Pettus, Dr. Hernandez, Dr. Swan, and Edward Stodola,
Ph.D. (Tr. 240). The Appeals Council also found error because
the ALJ found Plaintiff limited in certain areas (vibrations,
bending, twisting, and standing and walking), but did not
specify how limited (Tr. 239). As a result, it ordered the
ALJ to reassess Plaintiffs residual functional capacity,
weighing the medical opinions, and to obtain supplemental
vocational expert evidence (Tr. 240).
matter was assigned to Administrative Law Judge Don C. Paris
("ALJ"), who convened a hearing, at which both
Plaintiff and Martha Gross, a vocational expert
("VE") testified. At the hearing, pursuant to 20
C.F.R. § 416.920, the ALJ performed the following
five-step sequential analysis in order to determine whether
the Plaintiff was disabled:
Step 1: If the claimant is performing substantial gainful
work, he is not disabled.
Step 2: If the claimant is not performing substantial gainful
work, his impairment(s) must be severe before he can be found
to be disabled based upon the requirements in 20 C.F.R.
Step 3: If the claimant is not performing substantial gainful
work and has a severe impairment (or impairments) that has
lasted or is expected to last for a continuous period of at
least twelve months, and his impairments (or impairments)
meets or medically equals a listed impairment contained in
Appendix 1, Subpart P, Regulation No. 4, the claimant is
disabled without further inquiry.
Step 4: If the claimant's impairment (or impairments)
does not prevent him from doing his past relevant work, he is
Step 5: Even if the claimant's impairment or impairments
prevent him from performing his past relevant work, if other
work exists in significant numbers in the national economy
that accommodates his residual functional capacity and
vocational factors, he is not disabled.
issued a decision finding that Plaintiff was not disabled.
Plaintiff has a 12thgrade education (Tr, 460). His
past relevant work experience consists of work as a floral
designer (Tr. 460).
1 of the sequential analysis, the ALJ found that Plaintiff
had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since the
alleged onset date of disability (Tr. 57).
then determined, at Step 2, that Plaintiff suffers from
status post Myocardial infarction and degenerative disc
disease, which he found to be "severe" within the
meaning of the Regulations (Tr. 57).
3, the ALJ found that Plaintiffs impairments did not meet or
medically equal any ...