Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Roaden v. Berryhill

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, London

January 10, 2018

NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.


          Gregory F. Van Tatenhove, United States District Judge

         Odena Roaden seeks judicial review of an administrative decision of the Commissioner of Social Security, which denied Roaden's claim for disability insurance benefits. Ms. Roaden does not cite under which statute she brings her action in federal court; nonetheless, she alleges various oversights on the part of the ALJ considering the matter. The Court, having reviewed the record and for the reasons set forth herein, will DENY Ms. Roaden's Motion for Summary Judgment [R. 13] and will GRANT the Commissioner's Motion for Summary Judgment [R. 15.]


         Plaintiff Odena Roaden filed an application for Title II disability insurance benefits (DBI) on October 18, 2013, alleging disability beginning October 1, 2013. [Transcript (hereinafter, "Tr.") 144.] Roaden's claims were initially denied in February 2014, and then denied again upon reconsideration in June 2014. [See Tr. 15.] After requesting a hearing, Roaden appeared and testified at a video hearing on September 18, 2015, in front of ALJ Ben Ballengee. [Id.] Vocational expert William Ellis also testified. [Id] The ALJ issued a final decision ultimately denying Roaden's claims for benefits. [Tr. 23.]

         Odena Roaden was born on March 9, 1959. [Tr. 144.] She obtained her high school diploma. [Tr. 35.] She is married and lives with her husband in Somerset, Kentucky. [Tr. 172.] She has not worked since October 16, 2013. [Tr. 36.] Her employment history consists of working as a housekeeper in a hospital setting for approximately sixteen years. [Tr. 35-36; 174.]

         Ms. Roaden alleges disability based on a chronic cough, a diagnosis of COPD, shortness of breath, anxiety, frequent lung infections, high cholesterol, and mild mitral valve prolapse. [Tr. 173.] Throughout the course of Roaden's application for benefits, she was treated by Dr. Betsy Reynolds for a cough, anxiety, depression, and other medical conditions. [Tr. 314-342.] ¶ 2011, two years prior to Roaden's onset date, Roaden complained of chest pain. [Tr. 250] On a referral from Dr. Reynolds, Roaden underwent a cardiac catheterization administered by Dr. Khaled A. Saleh, who concluded Roaden's chest pain was "not related to epicardial coronary artery disease." [Id] Dr. Saleh referred Roaden back to her primary care physician for a workup for noncardiac cause of chest pain. [Id.] Also in 2011, on a referral from Dr. Reynolds, Roaden underwent a colorectal cancer screening administered by Dr. Brenda J. Jobson, whose exam returned generally unremarkable results with the exception of high cholesterol and triglycerides. [Tr. 258.] In November 2011, Roaden underwent an esophagogastroduodenoscopy and colonoscopy. [Tr. 260.] The results of the procedures were normal, showing a normal terminal ileum, but indicated Roaden had minimal gastritis. [Id.] Again the Court notes these exams, although reflective of Roaden's general physical complaints, were conducted two years prior to her onset date.

         Between September 2012 and August 2013, Roaden underwent three chest x-rays. [Tr. 269, 303, 309.] All three returned clear results, and one showed minimal right middle lobe atelectasis. [Id] In 2013, prior to her onset date, Roaden presented with symptoms that led Dr. Abdi Vaezy to treat her as if she had chemical bronchitis or a cough equivalent asthma. [Tr. 268.] In November 2013, Dr. Vaezy provided an assessment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)/asthma, mild degree of acid reflux, and a question of obstructive sleep aptnea, for which Roaden used a prescribed CPAP machine. [Tr. 312.]

         Roaden alleges the ALJ was wrong to conclude Roaden could perform her past work as a housekeeper. [R. 13 at 1.] Roaden asserts that the vocational expert testified that there is no job Roaden could perform. [Id.] Roaden claims that she has a sit/stand option and that a person with such a limitation has no transferable skills. [Id.] Lastly, Roaden offers certain limitations that relate to her COPD and suggests those limitations preclude her from working as a housekeeper. [Id. at 2.]

         In evaluating a claim of disability, the ALJ conducts a five-step analysis. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520. First, if a claimant is performing a substantial gainful activity, she is not disabled. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(b). Second, if a claimant does not have any impairment or combination of impairments which is severe and meets certain durational requirements, she is not "disabled" as defined by the regulations. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(c). Third, if a claimant's impairments meet or equal one of the impairments listed in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1, she is "disabled." 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(d). Before moving to the fourth step, the ALJ must use all the relevant evidence in the record to determine the claimant's residual functional capacity ("RFC"), which assesses an individual's ability to perform certain physical and mental work activities on a sustained basis despite any impairment experienced by the individual. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(e); 20 C.F.R. § 404.1545. Fourth, the ALJ must determine whether the claimant has the RFC to perform the requirements of her past relevant work, and if a claimant's impairments do not prevent her from doing past relevant work, she is not "disabled." 20. C.F.R. § 404.1520(e). Fifth, if a claimant's impairments (considering her RFC, age, education, and past work) prevent her from doing other work that exists in the national economy, the she is "disabled." 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(f).

         Through step four of the analysis, "the claimant bears the burden of proving the existence and severity of limitations caused by her impairments and the fact that she is precluded from performing her past relevant work." Jones v. Comm 'r of Soc. Sec, 336 F.3d 469, 474 (6th Cir. 2003). At step five, the burden shifts to the Commissioner to identify a significant number of jobs that accommodate the claimant's profile, but the claimant retains the ultimate burden of proving his lack of residual functional capacity. Id.; Jordan v. Comm 'r of Soc. Sec, 548 F.3d 417, 423 (6th Cir. 2008).

         In this case, at step one, the ALJ determined that Ms. Roaden has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since October 17, 2013. [Tr. 17.] At step two, the ALJ found Roaden to have the following "severe" impairments: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and obesity. [Id] At step three, the ALJ found Roaden's combination of impairments do not meet or medically equal the severity of one of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, App'x 1. [Tr. 18.] Before moving to step four, the ALJ considered the record and determined that Roaden possessed the following residual functioning capacity:

[T]he claimant has the residual functioning capacity to perform work at the medium exertional level as defined at 20 CFR 404.1567(c) except that she can frequently climb ramps and stairs; occasionally climb ladders, ropes, and scaffolds; and frequently crouch and crawl. She can occasionally be exposed to unprotected heights; moving mechanical parts; humidity and wetness; dust, odors, fumes, and pulmonary irritants; extreme cold; and extreme heat.

[Tr. 19.] After explaining Roaden's RFC, the ALJ found at step four that, based on this RFC, her age, education, and work experience, there are a "significant number[]" of jobs in the national economy that Roaden can perform. [Tr. 22.] Accordingly, the ALJ found at step five that Ms. Roaden has not been under a disability since her alleged onset date pursuant to 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(g). [Tr. 23.]

         Following the unfavorable decision, Ms. Roaden timely appealed to the Appeals Council. However, the Appeals Council found no reason for review. [Tr. 1.] ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.