United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division
MARY W. HODSON PLAINTIFF
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security DEFENDANT
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
N. STIVERS, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's
Objection to the Magistrate Judge's Report and
Recommendation (DN 21). For the reasons stated below,
Plaintiff's Objections are OVERRULED, the Magistrate
Judge's Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and
Recommendation (“R. & R.”) (DN 20) is
ADOPTED, and Plaintiff's Complaint (DN 1) is DISMISSED
August 2013, Plaintiff Mary W. Hodson
(“Plaintiff”) protectively filed a Title II
application for a period of disability and disability
insurance benefits alleging she had become disabled on July
23, 2013. (Administrative R. 198-204, DN 13-1 to DN 13-7
[hereinafter R.]). On December 11, 2013, the Social Security
Administration (“SSA”) notified Plaintiff that
her benefits claims had been denied. (R. at 99-114).
Plaintiff requested reconsideration on December 26, 2013. (R.
at 142). On March 21, 2014, the SSA notified Plaintiff that
an independent review by a physician and disability examiner
in the state agency had found the previous denial of benefits
to be proper. (R. at 115-132). Plaintiff requested a hearing
before an Administrative Law Judge on February 16, 2016. (R.
at 24-26). On December 10, 2015, Plaintiff participated in a
hearing before Administrative Law Judge Patrick Kimberlin
(“ALJ”). (R. at 52-98). The ALJ denied the claim,
reasoning that Plaintiff had not been under a disability from
July 23, 2013, through January 26, 2016, the date of the
decision. (R. at 27-51).
reaching his decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's
application under the five-step sequential evaluation process
promulgated by the Commissioner. (R. at 27-51). First, the
ALJ found that Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial
gainful activity since July 23, 2013, the alleged onset date.
(R. at 32). Second, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff's
“history of breast cancer status/post bilateral
mastectomies and chemotherapy, with residuals; mild cognitive
disorder; major depressive disorder; posttraumatic stress
disorder; history of mild cerebral palsy since birth; panic
disorder; and hypothyroidism” were “severe”
impairments within the meaning of the regulations. (R. at
32-33). Third, the ALJ held that Plaintiff did not have an
impairment or combination of impairments that met or
medically equaled one of the listed impairments in Appendix
(R. at 33-35). Fourth, the ALJ found Plaintiff has the
residual functional capacity to perform sedentary work,
subject to limitations. (R. at 35-42). Relying on testimony
from a vocational expert, the ALJ found Plaintiff unable to
perform any of her past relevant work. (R. at 42). Fifth, the
ALJ considered Plaintiff's residual functional capacity,
age, education, and past work experience as well as testimony
from the vocational expert. (R. at 42-43). The ALJ concluded
that Plaintiff was capable of performing a significant number
of jobs that exist in the national economy, and has not been
under a “disability, ” as defined in the Social
Security Act, since the filing date of her application.
(R. at 42-43). Plaintiff filed a request for review, which
the Appeals Council denied. (R. at 2).
Plaintiff's Federal Claim
filed suit in this Court seeking judicial review of the
Commissioner's final decision. (Compl., DN 1). Following
the filing of the administrative record and fact and law
summaries from each party, Magistrate Judge Lindsay
recommended that the final decision of the Commissioner be
affirmed. (R. & R. 17).
objected to Magistrate Judge Lindsay's recommendation,
and the Commissioner responded. (Pl.'s Obj., DN 21;
Def.'s Resp. Pl.'s Obj., DN22). This matter is ripe
Court has jurisdiction to examine the record that was before
the Commissioner on the date of the Commissioner's final
decision and to enter judgment affirming, modifying, or
reversing that decision. See 42 U.S.C. §
STANDARD OF REVIEW
courts review the parts of a magistrate judge's R. &
R. to which objections are raised de novo, and, in
doing so, may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part,
the R. & R. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Fed.R.Civ.P.
72(b). This differs from the standard applied to the
Commissioner's decision. That decision, rendered by an
ALJ, is reviewed to determine “whether it is supported
by substantial evidence and was made pursuant to proper legal
standards.” Rogers v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec.,
486 F.3d 234, 241 (6th Cir. 2007) (citations omitted).
Substantial evidence is “such relevant evidence as a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.” Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S.
389, 401 (1971) (internal quotation marks omitted) (quoting
Consol. Edison Co. v. NLRB, 305 U.S. 197, 229
(1938)). Where substantial evidence supports the ALJ's
decision, a court is obliged to affirm. Siterlet v.
Sec'y of Health & Human Servs., 823 F.2d 918,
920 (6th Cir. 1987) (citation omitted). The district court
may consider any evidence in the record, regardless of
whether cited in the ALJ's decision. Mullen v.
Bowen, 800 F.2d 535, 545-46 (6th Cir. 1986). “Even
if supported by substantial ...