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Adams v. Saul

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Bowling Green Division

October 30, 2019

KELLY R. ADAMS PLAINTIFF
v.
ANDREW SAUL, Commissioner of Social Security DEFENDANT

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          LANNY KING, MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's complaint seeking judicial review, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), of the final decision of the Commissioner denying her claim for Social Security disability benefits. The fact and law summaries of Plaintiff and Defendant are at Dockets # 13 and 19. The parties have consented to the jurisdiction of the undersigned Magistrate Judge to determine this case, with any appeal lying before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. (Docket # 11.)

         The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) found, among other things, that Plaintiff's degenerative disc disease does not satisfy the clinical criteria of Listing 1.04 of Appendix 1 of the regulations and that Plaintiff retains the ability to perform a significant number of jobs in the national economy. (Administrative Record (AR) at 18, 26.) Plaintiff argues that these findings were not supported by substantial evidence in the administrative record. (Docket # 13.)

         Because Plaintiff's arguments are not persuasive and the ALJ's decision was supported by substantial evidence, the Court will AFFIRM the Commissioner's final decision and DISMISS Plaintiff's complaint.

         Plaintiff has not alleged sufficient facts to prove her degenerative disc disease satisfies Listing 1.04.

         Listing 1.04 provides that the following medical impairments are per-se disabling:

         1.04 Disorders of the spine (e.g., herniated nucleus pulposus, spinal arachnoiditis, spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, facet arthritis, vertebral fracture), resulting in compromise of a nerve root (including the cauda equina) or the spinal cord. With:

A. Evidence of nerve root compression characterized by neuro-anatomic distribution of pain, limitation of motion of the spine, motor loss (atrophy with associated muscle weakness or muscle weakness) accompanied by sensory or reflex loss and, if there is involvement of the lower back, positive straight-leg raising test (sitting and supine); or
B. Spinal arachnoiditis, confirmed by an operative note or pathology report of tissue biopsy, or by appropriate medically acceptable imaging, manifested by severe burning or painful dysesthesia, resulting in the need for changes in position or posture more than once every 2 hours; or
C. Lumbar spinal stenosis resulting in pseudoclaudication, established by findings on appropriate medically acceptable imaging, manifested by chronic nonradicular pain and weakness, and resulting in inability to ambulate effectively, as defined in 1.00B2b.

         Listing 1.04, regulations, Appendix 1.

         The ALJ found that there is a lack of evidence that Plaintiffs degenerative disc disease satisfies Listing 1.04:

[T]he medical evidence does not establish the requisite evidence of nerve root compression, spinal arachnoiditis or lumbar spinal stenosis as required under Listing 1.04, Disorders of the Spine. Moreover, there is no evidence that the claimant's back disorder has resulted in an inability to ambulate effectively, as defined in 1.00(B)(2)(b).

(AR at 18.) In other words, the ALJ found that Plaintiff does not satisfy Listing 1.04A due to a lack of evidence of nerve root compression; she does not satisfy Listing 1.04B due to lack of evidence of spinal arachnoiditis; and she does not satisfy Listing 1.04C due to lack of ...


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