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Hall v. Berryhill

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

June 13, 2018

NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security DEFENDANT


          H. Brent Brennenstuhl United States Magistrate Judge.


         Before the Court is the complaint (DN 1) of Chastity hall, seeking judicial review of the final decision of the Commissioner pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Ms. Hall is standing in the place of her deceased husband, Randy G. Hall. When the undersigned references "Plaintiff" in this opinion, he is referring to Randy Hall, who was in this case the claimant. Both the Plaintiff (DN 17) 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 11). By Order entered October 17, 2017 (DN 12), 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.


         Plaintiff filed applications for Disability Insurance Benefits, Period of Disability Benefits, and Supplemental Security Income on May 27, 2014 (Tr. 11, 233, 239). Plaintiff alleged that he became disabled on November 25, 2011 (Tr. 11). However, Plaintiff amended his disability onset date during an administrative hearing to January 1, 2014 (Tr. 11, 57). Plaintiff alleged disability as a result of PTSD, depression, breathing difficulties, anxiety, arthritis, and liver problems. (Tr. 256). Administrative Law Judge Lisa Hall conducted a hearing on August 23, 2016 in Paducah, Kentucky. Plaintiff was present and represented by his attorney, Sarah Martin. Also present and testifying was vocational expert Thomas Holcomb.

         In a decision dated November 15, 2016, the ALJ evaluated this adult disability claim pursuant to the five-step sequential evaluation process promulgated by the Commissioner (Tr. 7). At the first step, the ALJ found Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since January 1, 2014, the alleged onset date (Tr. 13). At the second step, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff's chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and anxiety are “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. 15).

         At the fourth step, the ALJ found Plaintiff has the residual functional capacity to perform a reduced range of sedentary work described as follows:

Specifically, the claimant can lift and carry or push/pull 10 pounds occasionally. He can sit for at least 6 hours each in an 8-hour workday. He can stand and walk about 2 hours in an 8-hour workday. He should never climb, but can occasionally engage in other postural activities. He should avoid concentrated exposure to temperature extremes and avoid even moderate exposure to pulmonary irritants.
The claimant can perform simple, routine, repetitive work tasks, meaning tasks that apply commonsense understanding to carry out instructions furnished in written, oral, or diagrammatic form, with the ability to deal with problems involving several concrete variables in or from standardized situations. The claimant can frequently interact with coworkers and supervisors and occasionally interact with the general public.

(Tr. 16).

         Relying on testimony from the vocational expert, the ALJ found that Plaintiff is unable to perform any of his past relevant work (Tr. 21).

         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. 21). The ALJ concluded that, prior to December 13, 2015, the date Plaintiff's age category changed, Plaintiff was capable of performing a significant number of jobs that exist in the national economy (Tr. 21-22). However, after December 13, 2015, Medical Vocational Rule 201.10 required a finding that Plaintiff is disabled and remained disabled through the date of the decision (Tr. 22).

         Plaintiff timely filed a request for the Appeals Council to review the ALJ's decision (Tr. 230). The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review of the ALJ's decision (Tr. 1).

         CONCLUSIONS ...

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