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Lisa Padgett v. Commissioner of Social Security

March 28, 2012

LISA PADGETT,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Craig M. Kellison United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER

Plaintiff, who is proceeding with retained counsel, brings this action for judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Pursuant to the written consent of all parties, this case is before the undersigned as the presiding judge for all purposes, including entry of final judgment. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). Pending before the court are plaintiff's motion for summary judgment (Doc. 20) and defendant's cross-motion for summary judgment (Doc. 21). For the reasons discussed below, the court will deny plaintiff's motion for summary judgment or remand and grant the Commissioner's cross-motion for summary judgment.

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY*fn1

Plaintiff applied for social security benefits in June 2006, alleging an onset of disability on July 15, 2005, due to disabilities including severe depression, severe neck and back pain, and herniated disc in neck. (Certified administrative record ("CAR") 25-26, 85-87, 95-100, 106-13, 441-42, 444-51). Plaintiff's claim was denied initially and upon reconsideration. Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing, which was held on April 10, 2008, before Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") Theodore T. N. Slocum. In a June 10, 2008, decision, the ALJ concluded that plaintiff is not disabled*fn2 based on the following findings:

1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act though December 31, 2009.

2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since July 15, 2005, the alleged onset date (20 CFR 404.1520(b), 404.1571 et seq., 416.920(b) and 416.971 et seq.).

3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: chronic neck pain, moderate C5-6 degenerative changes with spurs impinging on the intervertebral foramina bilaterally, L5-S1 grade 1 spondylolisthesis with moderate degenerative disc changes, and panic disorder, bipolar disorders and pain disorder with psychological and physical factors. (20 CFR 404.1520(c) and 416.920(c)).

4. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR 404.1520(d), 404.1525, 404.1526, 416.920(d), 416.925 and 416.926).

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 20 CFR 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b) except lifting 30 pounds occasionally and 15 pounds frequently, avoiding climbing ladders/ropes/scaffolds and crawling, low stress tolerance, not work in a heavily male work environment, and low stress non-public work.

6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work (20 CFR 404.1565 and 416.965).

7. The claimant was born on September 10, 1971 and was 33 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the alleged disability onset date (20 CFR 404.1563 and 416.963).

8. The claimant has at least a high school education and is able to communicate in English (20 CFR 404.1564 and 416.964).

9. Transferability of job skills is not material to the determination of 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 transferable job skills (See SSR 82-41 and 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 2).

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 CFR 404.1560(c), 404.1566, 416.960(c), and 416.966).

11. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from July 15, 2005 through the date of this decision (20 CFR 404.1520(g) and 416.920(g)).

(CAR 16-25). After the Appeals Council declined review on July 9, 2010, ...


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