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Rhodes v. Berryhill

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

November 5, 2019

ROBERT B. RHODES, JR. Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, ACTING COMM'R OF SOCIAL SECURITY Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER

          REBECCA GRADY JENNINGS, DISTRICT JUDGE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         Plaintiff, Robert B. Rhodes (“Rhodes”) filed this action seeking review of the denial of disability insurance benefits by Defendant, Commissioner of Social Security (“Commissioner”). [DE 1]. The Court referred Rhodes' action to Magistrate Judge Colin H. Lindsay. [DE 14]. The Magistrate Judge issued a Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) recommending that the Commissioner's decision be affirmed. [DE 20]. Rhodes objected. [DE 26 (“Rhodes' Objections”)]. The Commissioner relied on its prior submission in response to Rhodes' fact and law summary for its response to Rhodes' Objections. [DE 27]. This matter is ripe. For the reasons below, the Court ADOPTS Magistrate Judge Lindsay's R&R [DE 20] and OVERRULES Rhodes' Objections [DE 26].

         I. BACKGROUND[1]

         Rhodes applied for disability insurance benefits. [DE 12-5 at 231-34]. After a hearing, the Administrative Law Judge Steven Collins' (“ALJ”) denied Rhodes' claim. [DE 12-2 at 82]. In his decision the ALJ made these findings:

1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through December 31, 2018. (Id. at 67.)
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since February 1, 2015, the alleged onset date. (Id.)
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: PTSD; double vision; asthma; sleep apnea; degenerative disc disease; arthritis; obesity; depression; anxiety. (Id. at 68.)
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. (Id. at 70.)
5. The claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform less than the full range of light work as defined in 20 C.F.R. 404.1567(b). The claimant can occasionally lift and carry up to 20 pounds and frequently lift and carry up to 10 pounds; can sit about 6 hours in an 8hour workday; stand and/or walk about 6 hours in an 8-hour workday, with normal breaks. The claimant can occasionally climb ramps and stairs but should never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds; can frequently balance; occasionally stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl; and can have occasional exposure to pulmonary irritants such as fumes, dusts, odors, gases, or poor ventilation and no exposure to hazards such as dangerous moving machinery or unprotected heights. The claimant is limited to occasional overhead reaching. The work is limited to simple routine and some detailed but not complex tasks involving few if any workplaces changes with no public contact and only occasional contact with supervisors and coworkers. (Id. at 72.)
6. The claimant cannot perform any past relevant work. (Id. at 80.)
7. The claimant was born on January 25, 1969 and was 46 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the alleged disability onset date. (Id.)
8. The claimant has at least a high school education and can communicate in English. (Id.)
9. Transferability of job skills is not material to determining disability because using the Medical-Vocational Rules as a framework supports a finding that the claimant is “not disabled, ” whether or not the claimant has transferrable job skills. (Id.)
10. Considering the claimant's age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity, jobs exist in significant No. in the national economy that the claimant can perform. (Id.)
11. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from February 1, 2015, through the date of this decision. (Id. at 82.)

         Rhodes requested an appeal to the Appeals Council. The Appeals Council denied Rhodes' request, and the ALJ's decision became final. Rhodes filed a complaint to this Court [DE 1] and submitted a fact and law summary. [DE 17, 17-1]. The Court referred the fact and law summary to the Magistrate Judge to issue an R&R. [DE 14]. The Magistrate Judge issued an R&R affirming the final decision of the ...


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