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Sloan v. Colvin

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Ashland

January 23, 2018

CHERI ANN SLOAN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CAROLYN COLVIN, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          HENRY R. WILHOIT, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff has brought this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §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 this matter should be remanded for further proceedings.

         II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Plaintiff filed her current application for disability insurance benefits on July 11, 2013, alleging disability beginning on May 29, 2013, arthritis, fibromyalgia, lumbar spine pain, panic attacks and high cholesterol (Tr. 314).

         This application was denied initially and on reconsideration. Subsequently, an administrative hearing was conducted by Administrative Law Judge John M. Dowling (hereinafter "ALJ"), wherein Plaintiff, accompanied by counsel, testified.. At the hearing, Gina K. Baldwin, a vocational expert (hereinafter "VE"), also 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 impairments) must be severe before he can be found to be disabled based upon the requirements in 20 C.F.R. § 416.920(b).
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 not disabled.
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.

         The ALJ issued his decision finding that Plaintiff was not disabled. Plaintiff was 56 years old at the time she alleges disability. She completed two years of college and has worked as a teacher's aide (Tr. 315).

         At Step 1 of the sequential analysis, the ALJ found that Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since the alleged onset date of disability (Tr. 16). The ALJ then determined, at Step 2, that Plaintiff suffers from left shoulder tendinopathy and bursitis, which he determined to be "severe" within the meaning of the pertinent regulations (Tr. 16). At Step 3, the ALJ found that Plaintiffs impairments did not meet or medically equal any of the listed impairments (Tr. 20). The ALJ further found that Plaintiff could perform her past work as a teacher's aide (Tr. 22). Accordingly, the ALJ found Plaintiff not to be disabled.

         The Appeals Council denied Plaintiffs request for review and adopted the ALJ's decision as the ...


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