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Cook v. Berryhill

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

February 22, 2018

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 John Michael Aloi [Doc. 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">16]. Pursuant to this Court&#3');">39;s local rules, this action was referred to Magistrate Judge Aloi for submission of a proposed report and recommendation ("R&R"). Magistrate Judge Aloi filed his R&R on December 2');">2');">2');">27, 2');">2');">2');">201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">17, wherein he recommends that the plaintiffs Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings be granted, that the defendant&#3');">39;s Motion for Summary Judgment be denied, that the decision of the Commissioner be vacated, and that this case be remanded for further proceedings. On January 2');">2');">2');">25, 2');">2');">2');">201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">18, the defendant filed a Motion for Extension of Time [Doc. 2');">2');">2');">20], requesting that the Court allow it to file its attached objections one day out of time due to the Government furlough. The plaintiff filed a Reply on February 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1, 2');">2');">2');">201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">18 [Doc. 2');">2');">2');">22');">2');">2');">2]. For the reasons set forth below, this Court adopts Magistrate Judge Aloi&#3');">39;s R&R.


         This Court has jurisdiction over this matter pursuant to 4');">42');">2');">2');">2 U.S.C. § 4');">405(g) and 4');">42');">2');">2');">2 U.S.C. § 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">13');">383');">3(c)(3');">3). As part of its review, it incorporates by reference Magistrate Judge Aloi&#3');">39;s thorough recitation of the facts surrounding claimant Anna Marie Cook&#3');">39;s ("Cook") disability insurance benefits ("DIB") and supplemental security income ("SSI") claims.

         On December 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">10, 2');">2');">2');">201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12');">2');">2');">2, Cook filed an application under Title II for a Period of Disability and DIB, and under Title XVI for SSI, alleging disability beginning May 2');">2');">2');">27, 2');">2');">2');">201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1 [Doc. 7-3');">3, p. 3');">3]. The claim was initially dented on March 7, 2');">2');">2');">201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">13');">3 [Doc. 7-3');">3, p. 3');">35] and again upon reconsideration on April 3');">30, 2');">2');">2');">201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">13');">3 [Doc. 7-3');">3, p. 4');">49; Doc. 7-4');">4, 2');">2');">2');">22');">2');">2');">2');">p. 2');">2');">2');">22');">2');">2');">2]. The plaintiff then filed a written request for hearing by an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") [Doc. 7-4');">4, 2');">2');">2');">25');">p. 2');">2');">2');">25], and later appeared and testified at a hearing on August 2');">2');">2');">25, 2');">2');">2');">201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">14');">4, in front of ALJ Terrence Hugar [Doc. 7-2');">2');">2');">2, p. 4');">48].

         On October 2');">2');">2');">23');">3, 2');">2');">2');">201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">14');">4, the ALJ entered a decision [Doc. 7-2');">2');">2');">2, p. 2');">2');">2');">21');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1] finding that the plaintiff was not entitled to DIB or eligible for SSI under Titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act. In accordance with the five-step evaluation process described in 2');">2');">2');">20 C.F.R. § 4');">404');">4.1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">152');">2');">2');">20, the ALJ made the following findings:

1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through December 3');">31');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1, 2');">2');">2');">201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">16.
2');">2');">2');">2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since May 2');">2');">2');">27, 2');">2');">2');">201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1, the alleged onset date (2');">2');">2');">20 CFR 4');">404');">4.1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1571');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1 ef seq., and 4');">41');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">16.971');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1 et seq.).
3');">3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: degenerative disc disease of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine, obesity, and other arthropathies (2');">2');">2');">20 CFR 4');">404');">4.1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">152');">2');">2');">20(c) and 4');">41');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">16.92');">2');">2');">20(c)).
4');">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.
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 2');">2');">2');">20 CFR 4');">404');">4.1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1567(b) and 4');">41');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">16.967(b) except that she should never crawl or climb ladders, ropes or scaffolds. She should only occasionally climb ramps and stairs, balance, stoop, kneel and crouch. The claimant should avoid all exposure to hazards such as unprotected heights and moving mechanical parts. She should avoid concentrated exposure to vibration. The claimant should not perform any overhead reaching.
6. The claimant is capable of performing past relevant work as a blood donor receiver and data entry clerk. This work does not require the performance of work-related activities precluded by the claimant&#3');">39;s residual functional capacity (2');">2');">2');">20 CFR 4');">404');">4.1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1565 and 4');">41');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">16.965). 7. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from May 2');">2');">2');">27, 2');">2');">2');">201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1, through the date of this decision (2');">2');">2');">20 CFR 4');">404');">4.1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">152');">2');">2');">20(f) and 4');">41');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">16.92');">2');">2');">20(f)).

[Doc. 7-2');">2');">2');">2, pp. 2');">2');">2');">21');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1-4');">42');">2');">2');">2].

         On August 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">16, 2');">2');">2');">201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">16, the Appeals Council denied Cook&#3');">39;s request for review, which made the ALJ&#3');">39;s decision the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security [Doc. 7-2');">2');">2');">2, p. 2');">2');">2');">2]. On October 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">13');">3, 2');">2');">2');">201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">16, Cook filed the instant action pursuant to 4');">42');">2');">2');">2 U.S.C. § 4');">405(g) for judicial review of the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security for denying Cook&#3');">39;s claim for DIB and SSI under Titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act [Doc. 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1]. Therein, Cook argued that the Commissioner committed reversible error in the three following respects: (1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1) by finding Cook&#3');">39;s mental impairment to be a non-severe impairment; (2');">2');">2');">2) by failing to comply with 2');">2');">2');">20 C.F.R. § 4');">404');">4.1');">1');">1');">1');">1' ...

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