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Smith v. Berryhill

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Northern Division, London.

July 23, 2018

BRENDA K. SMITH on behalf of JOEY SMITH, PLAINTIFF,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Henry R. Wllholt, Jr. Judge.

         Plaintiff 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.

         I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Joey Smith filed the an application for disability insurance benefits on November 3, 2014, alleging disability beginning on July 1, 2012, due to due to neck and lower back pain; arm and shoulder problems; bilateral knee pain; chronic headaches; scrotal varices; depression and anxiety; and neuropathy in the feet. (Tr. 66). This application was denied initially and on reconsideration. Thereafter, upon request by Plaintiff, an administrative hearing was conducted by Administrative Law Judge Jonathon Leiner (hereinafter "ALJ"), wherein Plaintiff, accompanied by counsel, testified. At the hearing, Jo Ann Bullard, a vocational expert (hereinafter "VE"), also testified.

         At the 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. § 416.920(b).
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 not disabled.
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.

         The ALJ issued a decision finding that Mr. Smith was not disabled. The ALJ found that he met the insured status requirements through December 31, 2017. He has a high school education. His past relevant work experience consists of work as a coal miner, roof bolter and mine supervisor.

         At Step 1 of the sequential analysis, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since the alleged onset date of disability.

         The ALJ then determined, at Step 2, that Plaintiff suffers from knee and right shoulder disorders, which he found to be "severe" within the meaning of the Regulations.

         At Step 3, the ALJ found that Mr. Smith's impairments did not meet or medically ...


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