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Condor v. Berryhill

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Owensboro Division

May 3, 2018

LOUIS ANTHONY CONDOR, II PLAINTIFF
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security DEFENDANT

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          H. Brent Brennenstuhl United States Magistrate Judge.

         BACKGROUND

         Before the Court is the complaint (DN 1) of Plaintiff Louis Anthony Condor seeking judicial review of the final decision of the Commissioner pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Both the Plaintiff (DN 16) and Defendant (DN 22) have filed a Fact and Law Summary.

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) and Fed.R.Civ.P. 73, the parties have consented to the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge conducting all further proceedings in this case, including issuance of a memorandum opinion and entry of judgment, with direct review by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in the event an appeal is filed (DN 12). By Order entered December 8, 2017 (DN 14), the parties were notified that oral arguments would not be held unless a written request therefor was filed and granted. No such request was filed.

         FINDINGS OF FACT

         Plaintiff filed an application for Disability Insurance Benefits on April 14, 2014 (Tr. 166). Plaintiff alleged that he became disabled on August 31, 2012 as a result of Keratoconus, back problems, muscle spasms in legs, and PTSD (Tr. 200). Administrative Law Judge Marci Eaton conducted a hearing on May 25, 2016 in Paducah, Kentucky. Plaintiff was present and represented by his attorney, Jeffrey Smith." Also present and testifying were medical expert Tom Wagner and vocational expert James Adams.

         In a decision dated August 16, 2016, the ALJ evaluated this adult disability claim pursuant to the five-step sequential evaluation process promulgated by the Commissioner (Tr. 7-25). At the first step, the ALJ found Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since August 31, 2012, the alleged onset date (Tr. 13). At the second step, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff's degenerative disc disease, loss of central visual acuity, affective disorder, and anxiety (PT SD) are “severe” impairments within the meaning of the regulations (Tr. 13). Also at the second step, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff's substance addiction disorder and plantar fasciitis are “non-severe” impairments within the meaning of the regulations (Tr. 13). At the third step, the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals one of the listed impairments in Appendix 1 (Tr. 14).

         At the fourth step, the ALJ found Plaintiff has the residual functional capacity to perform a range of medium work, with the following limitations:

He can frequently climb ramps or stairs and occasionally climb ladders, ropes or scaffolds. The claimant can frequently stoop, crouch or crawl. His vision is sufficient for frequently reading normal print and frequent performance of very fine, precise tasks or prolonged visual tasks. The claimant can work with small objects and large objects on an unlimited basis. He can avoid ordinary workplace hazards, such as boxes or cords on the floor, doors ajar, approaching people or wastepaper baskets. The claimant should avoid the need for eye hand coordination for small, detailed tasks. He should avoid concentrated exposure to extreme cold or humidity, vibrating equipment, moving machinery and unprotected heights. The claimant can understand, retain and carry out simple instructions. He can consistently and usefully perform routine tasks on a sustained basis, with normal supervision and can cooperate effectively with public and coworkers in completing simple tasks and transactions. The claimant can adjust to the mental demands of most new task settings.

(Tr. 16). Relying on testimony from the vocational expert, the ALJ found that Plaintiff is unable to perform any of his past relevant work as a cook, construction worker, or forklift operator (Tr. 19).

         The ALJ proceeded to the fifth step where she considered Plaintiff's residual functional capacity, age, education, and past work experience as well as testimony from the vocational expert (Tr. 19-20). The ALJ found that Plaintiff is capable of performing a significant number of jobs that exist in the national economy (Tr. 20). Therefore, the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff has not been under a “disability, ” as defined in the Social Security Act, from August 31, 2012 through the date of the decision (Tr. 20).

         Plaintiff timely filed a request for the Appeals Council to review the ALJ's decision (Tr. 98). The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review of the ALJ's decision (Tr. 1-6).

         CONCLUSIONS ...


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