United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, London
LORRAINE LYNNE LAWSON, PLAINTIFF, NANCY A. BERRYHILL, ACTING COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
R. Wilhoit, Jr. United States District Judge.
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, finds that the
decision of the Administrative Law Judge is supported by
substantial evidence and should be affirmed.
FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
filed her current application for disability insurance
benefits in 2013, alleging disability due to right foot and
ankle pain (Tr. 179). This application was denied initially
and on reconsideration. Thereafter, upon request by
Plaintiff, an administrative hearing was conducted by
Administrative Law Judge Dennis Hansen (hereinafter
"ALJ"), wherein Plaintiff, accompanied by counsel,
testified. At the hearing, William Ellis, a vocational expert
(hereinafter "VE"), also testified.
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.
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
(Tr. 16-24). Plaintiff was 49 years old at the time she
alleges she became disabled. She has a high school education
(Tr. 179-180). Her past relevant work experience consists of
various clerical and retail customer service jobs. (Tr. 180).
1 of the sequential analysis, the ALJ found that Plaintiff
had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since the
alleged onset date of disability of August 2013 (Tr.18).
then determined, at Step 2, that Plaintiff suffers from
arthritis of back and knees, bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome
and post-surgery of her right ankle, which he found to be
"severe" within the meaning of the Regulations (Tr.
3, the ALJ found that Plaintiffs impairments did not meet or
medically equal any of the listed impairments (Tr. 20). In
doing so, the ALJ specifically considered Listing 1.02 but
concluded that because she was not impeded in her ability to
ambulate or perform fine and gross movements effectively, she
was not presumptively disabled. (Tr. 20).
further found that Plaintiff could not return to her past
relevant work (Tr. 23) but determined that she has the
residual functional capacity ("RFC") to perform
light work (requiring lifting and carrying 20 pounds
occasionally and 10 pounds frequently, see 20 C.F.R.
§ 404.1567(b) that involved standing and walking a total
of four hours per eight-hour workday; frequently stooping,
kneeling, crouching, crawling, reaching, handling, fingering,
feeling, and climbing ramps and stairs; occasionally climbing
ladders, ropes, and scaffolds; occasionally being exposed to
extreme cold, humidity, wetness, and vibration; never being
exposed to unprotected heights or moving machinery; and never
operating a motor vehicle (Tr. 20).
finally concluded that these jobs exist in significant
numbers in the national and regional economies, as identified
by the VE (Tr. 23-24).
the ALJ found Plaintiff not to be disabled at Step 5 of the
sequential evaluation process.
Appeals Council denied Plaintiffs request for review and
adopted the ALJ's decision as the final decision of the
Commissioner . Plaintiff thereafter filed this civil action
seeking a reversal of the Commissioner's decision. Both