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Young v. Berryhill

United States District Court, N.D. West Virginia, Elkins

December 13, 2017

NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.



         On this day, the above-styled matter came before this Court for consideration of the Report and Recommendation of United States Magistrate Judge Robert W. Trumble [Doc. 18]. Pursuant to this Court's local rules, this action was referred to Magistrate Judge Trumble for submission of a proposed report and recommendation (“R&R”). Magistrate Judge Trumble filed his R&R on August 25, 2017, wherein he recommends that the plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. 10] be denied, that the defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. 14] be granted, that the decision of the Commissioner be affirmed, and that this case be dismissed with prejudice [Doc. 18]. On September 5, 2017, the plaintiff timely filed objections to the R&R [Doc. 19]. For the reasons set forth below, this Court adopts Magistrate Judge Trumble's R&R.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On October 22, 2013, the plaintiff filed a Title II application for a Period of Disability and Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) [Doc. 7-2 at 20]. In the application, the claimant alleged disability beginning January 1, 2013. (Id.). The claim was initially denied on February 20, 2014, and upon reconsideration on March 24, 2014. (Id.). The plaintiff then filed a written request for hearing, and later appeared and testified at a hearing on October 22, 2015, before Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Karen B. Kostol. (Id. at 33). On November 9, 2015, the ALJ entered a decision finding that the plaintiff was not disabled under Sections 216(i) and 223(d) of the Social Security Act. (Id.).

         After careful consideration of the entire record, and in accordance with the five-step evaluation process described in 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520, the ALJ made the following findings:

1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through June 30, 2018.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since January 1, 2013, the alleged onset date. (20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1571 et seq.).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: osteoarthritis of the left knee and hip; mild degenerative joint disease of the left hip; tendinitis of the left rotator cuff; headaches; mild pulmonary restrictive disease; obesity; hypertensive cardiovascular disease; and obstructive sleep apnea. (20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(c)).
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. (20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(d), 404.1525, 404.1526).
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform medium work as defined in 20 C.F.R. § 404.1567(c) (i.e. is able to occasionally lift and/or carry 50 pounds; frequently lift and/or carry 25 pounds; and stand and/or walk, with normal breaks, for a total of about 6 hours in an 8-hour workday), except the claimant can never climb ladders, ropes or scaffolds; can only occasionally balance and crawl; can frequently climb ramps or stairs, stoop, crouch, and kneel; must avoid concentrated exposure to extreme cold, extreme heat, excessive noise, and irritants (such as fumes, odors, dust, and gases), must avoid all exposure to hazards (such as unprotected heights and dangerous moving machinery); can only occasionally reach overhead, laterally, and behind with the left upper extremity; is limited to simple, routine, and repetitive tasks in a low stress job, defined as having only occasional changes in the work setting, and no strict production quotas, and is limited to occasional interaction with the general public, co-workers, and supervisors.
6. The claimant has no past relevant work. (20 C.F.R. § 404.1565).
7. The claimant was born on September 28, 1959 and was 53 years old, which is defined as an individual closely approaching advanced age, on the alleged disability onset date. (20 C.F.R. § 404.1563).
8. The claimant has at least a high school education and is able to communicate in English. (20 C.F.R. § 404.1564).
9. Transferability of job skills is not an issue because the claimant does not have past relevant work. (20 C.F.R. § 404.1568).
10. Considering the claimant's age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity, there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that the claimant can perform. (20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1569 and 404.1569(a)).
11. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from January 1, 2013, through the date of the ALJ's decision. ...

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