United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Bowling Green Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
N. STIVERS, CHIEF JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Objections (DN
31) to Magistrate Judge King's Report &
Recommendation (DN 29), and Plaintiff's Motion to Amend
the Complaint (DN 30). The matter is ripe for adjudication.
For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's objections
are OVERRULED, the Court ADOPTS the Magistrate Judge's
Report & Recommendation, and Plaintiff's Motion to
Amend is DENIED.
filed for Supplemental Income and Disability Insurance
Benefits on January 14, 2014, claiming a disability onset
date of October 15, 2012. (Administrative R. 32, 290-307, DN
14 [hereinafter R.]). The Social Security Administration
denied her claim initially and on reconsideration, and
Plaintiff requested a hearing before an administrative law
judge (“ALJ”). (R. 175, 182, 190, 197).
Christine A. Cooke conducted an administrative hearing on
November 12, 2015. (R. 26). The ALJ concluded at the initial
hearing that she needed more information from a medical
expert and a supplemental hearing. (R. 76-77). The ALJ
conducted the supplemental hearing on March 23, 2016. (R.
rendered her decision on April 21, 2016. (R. 27-44). The ALJ
applied the five-step sequential evaluation process
promulgated by the Commissioner. (R. 32); 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1520(a), 416.920(a). At the first step, the
ALJ determined Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial
gainful activity since the alleged onset date. (R. 32). At
step two, the ALJ found Plaintiff to have the several
“severe” impairments: lupus, fibromyalgia,
diabetes, obesity, and degenerative disc disease of the
lumbar spine. (R. 32). At step three, the ALJ concluded
Plaintiff did not have an impairment or combination of
impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of
one of the impairments listed at 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart
P, Appendix 1. (R. 33).
proceeding to the fourth step, the ALJ determined Plaintiff
had the residual functional capacity to perform a range of
light work. (R. 33-34). At step four, the ALJ concluded
Plaintiff did not have the residual functional capacity to
perform any of her past relevant work. (R. 37). At step five,
relying on testimony from a vocational expert, the ALJ
determined that there are a significant No. of jobs that
exist in the national economy that a person of
Plaintiff's age, education, work experience, and residual
functional capacity could perform. (R. 37). As a result, the
ALJ concluded that Plaintiff was not disabled as defined by
the Social Security Act from the alleged onset date through
the date of the decision. (R. 38). Plaintiff timely appealed
the unfavorable decision to the Appeals Council, who denied
her appeal. (R. 1-5). As a result, the ALJ's decision
serves as the final opinion of the Commissioner.
appealed the Commissioner's decision to this Court.
(Compl., DN 1). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B),
the undersigned referred this case to the Magistrate Judge
for preparation of a report and recommendation of
disposition. (Order, DN 15). The Magistrate Judge filed his
findings and recommended that the Court affirm the
Commissioner's decision and dismiss Plaintiff's
Complaint. (R. & R. 8, DN 29).
Court has jurisdiction to examine the record that was before
the Commissioner on the date of the Commissioner's final
decision and to enter a judgment affirming, modifying, or
reversing that decision. See 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
party objects to any portion of a Magistrate Judge's R.
& R., the District Judge reviews those portions de novo.
28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). The Court reviews the ALJ's
determination of disability “to determin[e] whether it
is supported by substantial evidence and was made pursuant to
proper legal standards.” Rogers v. Comm'r of
Soc. Sec., 486 F.3d 234, 241 (6th Cir. 2007) (citations