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Crayton v. Commissioner of Social Security

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville

July 10, 2018



          Dave Whalin, Magistrate Judge United States District Court

         Plaintiff Garry L. Crayton has filed a complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §405(g) to obtain judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security that denied his applications for disability insurance benefits (DIB) and supplemental security income (SSI). Crayton applied for SSI and DIB on Sept. 9, 2013 and Jan. 15, 2014, respectively, alleging that he was disabled as of July 15, 2012, due to left leg and hip problems, breathing issues, migraine headaches, vision limitations, limited literacy, arm muscle spasms, dizziness, and arthritis (Tr. 326, 332, 351). The Commissioner denied Crayton's claims on initial consideration (Tr.205, 213) and on reconsideration (Tr. 220, 227). Crayton requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) (Tr.).

         ALJ Candace A. McDaniel conducted two hearings in Louisville, Kentucky, one on November 17, 2015 and a second on June 21, 2106 (Tr. DN 82-116; DN 117-150). Crayton attended both hearings with his attorneys, Ms. Davis initially and then Mr. Cook (Id.). Both Crayton and the vocational experts (VE) Sharon Lane and Jeanie Deal testified at the two hearings, respectively (Tr. 107-115, 139-150). Following the conclusion of the hearings, ALJ McDaniel entered a hearing decision on August 1, 2016 that found Crayton is not disabled for the purposes of the Social Security Act (Tr. 60-75).

         In her adverse decision, ALJ McDaniel made the following findings:

1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through Sept 30, 2013.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since July 15, 2012, the alleged onset date (20 C.F.R. 404.1571, et seq. and 416.971, et seq.).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: status/post bilateral total hip replacements, lumbar degenerative disc disease, and history of learning disorder/borderline intellectual functioning (20 C.F.R. 404.1520(c) and 416.920(c)).
4. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of one of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 C.F.R. 404.1520(d), 404.1525, 404.1526, 416.920(d), 416.925 and 416.926).
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b) except requires the ability to alternate at 30-to-60 minute intervals where the change takes no more than 1-to- 3 minutes without leaving the workspace; no climbing ladders, ropes, and scaffolds; no climbing stairs; could occasionally climb a ramp, stoop, crouch, crawl, and kneel; there would be no hazards which include unprotected heights or operation of the exposed moving machinery that cuts or grinds and fails to stop when human contact's loss; no concentrated exposure to vibration; occasional pushing/pulling with the left and right leg; can understand remember, and carry out simple routine tasks; can tolerate interaction with coworkers and supervisors, as needed for task completion; can interact appropriately with the public, but no more than occasionally; can maintain attention and concentration for two-hour segments throughout an eight-hour workday; and can tolerate routine changes in a work setting.
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work (20 C.F.R. 404.1565 and 416.965).
7. The claimant was born on June 5, 1963, and was 49-years-old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the alleged disability onset date. The claimant subsequently changed age category to closely approaching advanced age (20 C.F.R. 404.1563 and 416.963).
8. The claimant has a marginal education and is able to communicate in English (20 C.F.R. 404.1564 and 416.964).
9. Transferability of job skills is not an issue in this case because the claimant's past relevant work is unskilled (See SSR 82-41 and 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, App. 2).
10. Considering the claimant's age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity, there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that the claimant can perform (20 C.F.R. 404.1569, 404.1569(a), 416.969 and 416.969(a)).
11. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from July 15, 2012, through the date of this decision (20 C.F.R. 404.1520(g) and 416.920(g)).

(Tr. 60-75). Crayton sought review of the hearing decision by the Appeals Council (Tr.50-56). The Appeals Council denied his request for review, finding no reason under the Rules to review ALJ McDaniel's decision (Tr. 37-43). The present lawsuit followed.

         The Five-Step Sequential ...

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