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Randall v. Berryhill

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

March 19, 2019

KIM RANDALL PLAINTIFF
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration DEFENDANT

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          HON. BARRY A. BRYANT UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Kim Randall (“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 application for a period of disability and Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) under Title II 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 application on July 21, 2015. (Tr. 23). In her application, Plaintiff alleges being disabled due to problems with her legs, varicose veins, neurofibromatosis, migraines, back problems, scoliosis, memory loss, left foot problems, brain tumor, and depression. (Tr. 216). Plaintiff alleges an onset date of July 20, 2015. (Tr. 23). This application was denied initially and again upon reconsideration. (Tr. 78-107).

         Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing on her denied application, and this hearing request was granted. (Tr. 36-77). Plaintiff had two administrative hearings: (1) June 6, 2017 and (2) October 3, 2017. Id. Plaintiff's first hearing was held on June 6, 2017 but was continued because Plaintiff had a medical emergency. (Tr. 36-40). Plaintiff's second hearing was held on October 3, 2017 in Texarkana, Texas. (Tr. 41-77). At this hearing, Plaintiff was present and was represented by counsel, Greg Giles. Id. Plaintiff and Vocational Expert (“VE”) Juanita Grant testified at this hearing. Id.

         After this hearing, the ALJ entered an unfavorable decision on her disability application. (Tr. 20-35). In this decision, the ALJ found Plaintiff met the insured status requirements of the Act through December 31, 2019. (Tr. 25, Finding 1). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had not engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity (“SGA”) since July 20, 2015, her alleged onset date. (Tr. 25, Finding 2). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had the following severe impairments: migraine headaches; degenerative disc disease; lumbar spine; neurofibromatosis; and ventral hernia. (Tr. 25-27, Finding 3). Despite being severe, the ALJ determined Plaintiff did not have 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. 27, Finding 4).

         As a part of this decision, the ALJ determined Plaintiff was forty-eight (48) years old, which is defined as a “younger person” under 20 C.F.R. § 404.1563(c) (2008). (Tr. 30, Finding 7). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had at least a high school education and was able to communicate in English. (Tr. 30, Finding 8).

         In this decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective complaints and determined her RFC. (Tr. 27-30, Finding 5). First, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff' subjective complaints and found they were not entirely credible. Id. Second, the ALJ determined Plaintiff had the following RFC:

After careful consideration of the entire record, I find that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) except she is now limited to low stress work activity, in that tasks should not have stringent production standards or stringent time restraints. Additional limitations include no extremes in temperature, and she would be limited to a moderate noise level, such as a typical outside or a busy office.

Id.

         The ALJ then evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work (“PRW”) and found Plaintiff was unable to perform her PRW. (Tr. 30, Finding 6). The ALJ considered Plaintiff's ability to perform other work existing in significant numbers in the national economy. (Tr. 34-35, Finding 10). The VE testified at the administrative hearing regarding this issue. Id. Based upon this testimony, the ALJ determined Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform the following three occupations: (1) office helper (light, unskilled) with 73, 000 such jobs nationally; (2) garment bagger (light, unskilled) with 102, 000 such jobs nationally; and (3) linen sorter (light, unskilled) with 120, 000 such jobs nationally. Id. Based upon this finding, the ALJ determined Plaintiff had not been under a disability, as defined by the Act, from July 20, 2015 though the date of his decision or through December 6, 2017. (Tr. 31, Finding 11).

         Plaintiff sought review with the Appeals Council. On July 6, 2018, the Appeals Council denied this request for review. (Tr. 1-3). On July 25, 2018, Plaintiff filed a Complaint in this matter. ECF No. 1. Both Parties have filed appeal briefs and have consented to the jurisdiction of this Court. ECF No. 5, 13-14. This case is now ready for determination.

         2. Ap ...


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