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Warfield v. Berryhill

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Frankfort

July 8, 2019

MICHELLE WARFIELD, PLAINTIFF,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          HENRY R. WILHOIT JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT 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

         Plaintiff filed her current application for disability insurance benefits in October 2014, alleging disability beginning in August 2011, due to neuropathy, degenerative disc disease, advanced degenerative arthritis spine, depression, anxiety, acid reflux, obesity, insomnia, spinal fusion and decompression L2-L3, falls, and off balance with gait ambulates with quad cane.

         This application was denied initially and on reconsideration. Thereafter, upon request by Plaintiff, an administrative hearing was conducted by Administrative Law Judge Roger Reynolds (hereinafter "ALJ"), wherein Plaintiff, accompanied by counsel, testified. At the hearing, Laura Lykins, 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 Plaintiff was not disabled. Plaintiff was 47 years old at the time of the hearing decision. She has a high school education. Her past relevant work experience consists of work as a factory assembly worker.

         At Step 1, the ALJ found that Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since the alleged onset date. T 15. At Step 2, the ALJ found Plaintiff suffered from the following severe impairments: chronic low back and left leg pain status/post spinal fusion and decompression at the L2 to L3 level; degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine, status/ post excision of neural cyst; Hashimoto's thyroiditis; status/post left knee surgery; osteoarthritis in multiple joints; anxiety disorder; depression disorder; obesity; and fibromyalgia. T 15. At Step 3, the ALJ found that Plaintiff does not have an impairment or combination or impairments that meets or equals one listed at 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, App'x 1. T 16-17.

         The ALJ further found that Plaintiff could not return to her past relevant work but determined that she has the residual functional capacity ("RFC") to perform ...


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