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Huckaby v. Berryhill

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Texarkana Division

September 27, 2018

CAREN HUCKABY PLAINTIFF
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration DEFENDANT

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          HON. BARRY A. BRYANT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Caren Huckaby (“Plaintiff”) brings this action pursuant to § 205(g) of Title II of the Social Security Act (“The Act”), 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) (2010), seeking judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) denying her applications for Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”), Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”), and a period of disability under Titles II and XVI of the Act.

         The Parties have consented to the jurisdiction of a magistrate judge to conduct any and all proceedings in this case, including conducting the trial, ordering the entry of a final judgment, and conducting all post-judgment proceedings. ECF No. 5.[1] Pursuant to this authority, the Court issues this memorandum opinion and orders the entry of a final judgment in this matter.

         1. Background:

         Plaintiff protectively filed her disability applications on October 27, 2011. (Tr. 104). In her applications, Plaintiff alleges she was disabled due to arthritis in her back and arms, left shoulder pain, and bipolar disorder. (Tr. 265). Plaintiff alleges an onset date of June 1, 2007. (Tr. 20). These applications were denied initially and again upon reconsideration. (Tr. 125-143).

         Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing on her denied applications, and this hearing request was granted. (Tr. 70-94, 144-145). Thereafter, the ALJ entered an unfavorable decision on February 19, 2013. (Tr. 101-119). Upon review, the Appeals Council remanded that case back to the ALJ. (Tr. 120-124). The ALJ then held a second administrative hearing on May 7, 2015. (Tr. 42-69). That hearing was held in Shreveport, Louisiana. Id. At that hearing, Plaintiff was present and was represented by counsel, Greg Giles. Id. Plaintiff and Vocational Expert (“VE”) Mary May testified at this hearing. Id. On the date of the hearing, Plaintiff testified she was sixty (60) years old, which is defined as a “person of advanced age” under 20 C.F.R. § 404.1563(e) (DIB) and under 20 C.F.R. § 416.963(e) (SSI) and testified she had only completed the tenth grade in school. (Tr. 48).

         On February 22, 2016, the ALJ entered an unfavorable decision on Plaintiff's disability applications. (Tr. 19-33). In this decision, the ALJ found Plaintiff met the insured status requirements of the Act through December 31, 2009. (Tr. 23, Finding 1). The ALJ found Plaintiff had not engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity (“SGA”) since her alleged onset date. (Tr. 23, Finding 2). The ALJ determined that since her alleged onset date of June 1, 2007 and prior to her Date Last Insured (“DLI”) of December 31, 2009, Plaintiff had no severe impairments. (Tr. 23, Finding 3). The ALJ determined that subsequent to her DLI and prior to her Established Onset Date[2](“EOD”) of September 12, 2012, she had the following severe mental impairments: history of bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (“ADHD”). (Tr. 23, Finding 4). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had the following non-severe physical impairments, which were severe in combination: history of possible right shoulder rotator cuff injury/adhesive capsulitis shoulder, obesity, and a history of gastroesophageal reflux disease (“GERD”). Id.

         Beginning on the established onset date of disability, September 12, 2012, the ALJ determined Plaintiff has had the following severe impairments: mild emphysema and osteoarthritis of knees. (Tr. 24, Finding 5). The ALJ determined Plaintiff continued with the following severe mental impairments: history of bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, and ADHD. Id. The ALJ determined Plaintiff continued with non-severe physical impairments, which were severe in combination: history of possible right shoulder rotator cuff injury/adhesive capsulitis shoulder, obesity, and a history of GERD. Id. The ALJ determined that since her alleged onset date of disability, June 1, 2007, Plaintiff had not had an impairment or combination of impairments that met or medically equaled one of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. (Tr. 24-25. Finding 6).

         In this decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective complaints and determined her RFC prior to September 12, 2012 (her EOD) and after September 12, 2012. (Tr. 25-30, Findings 7-8). Prior to September 12, 2012, the ALJ determined Plaintiff retained the following RFC:

After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that prior to September 12, 2012, the date the claimant became disabled, the claimant had the residual functional capacity to perform medium work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(c) and 416.967(c) except she was limited to perform simple, routine tasks. She could lift up to 50 pound occasionally and 25 pounds frequently; sit 6 hours, stand 6 hours, walk 6 hours, and push/pull as much as she could lift/carry.

Id. After September 12, 2012, the ALJ determined Plaintiff retained the following RFC:

After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that beginning on September 12, 2012, the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b) except she can occasionally climb ramps and stairs (but never ladders and scaffolds) balance, stoop, kneel, crouch and crawl. She can lift/carry 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently; sit 6 hours, stand 6 hours, walk 6 hours and push/pull as much as she can lift/carry. She is limited to performing simple, routine tasks.

Id.

         The ALJ determined that prior to September 12, 2012, Plaintiff was capable of performing her PRW as a housekeeper. (Tr. 30-32, Finding 9). The ALJ also determined beginning on September 12, 2012, Plaintiff's RFC prevented her from performing her PRW. (Tr. 32, Finding 10). Based upon these findings, the ALJ determined that since September 12, 2012, there were no ...


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