United States District Court, S.D. Alabama, Southern Division
AMIE L. MORRISETTE, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Deputy Commissioner for Operations, performing the duties and functions not reserved to the Commissioner of Social Security,  Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
BRADLEY MURRAY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
brings this action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1383(c)(3),
seeking judicial review of a final decision of the
Commissioner of Social Security denying her claim for
supplemental security income benefits. The parties have
consented to the exercise of jurisdiction by the Magistrate
Judge, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), for all
proceedings in this Court. (Docs. 21 & 23 (“In
accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C. 636(c) and
Fed.R.Civ.P. 73, the parties in this case consent to have a
United States Magistrate Judge conduct any and all
proceedings in this case, . . . order the entry of a final
judgment, and conduct all post-judgment
proceedings.”)). Upon consideration of the
administrative record, Plaintiff's brief, the
Commissioner's brief, and the parties' arguments at
the May 9, 2018 hearing before the undersigned, it is
determined that the Commissioner's decision denying
benefits should be affirmed.
filed an application for supplemental security income
benefits on February 7, 2014, alleging disability beginning
on January 1, 1994. (See Tr. 229-41.)
Morrisette's claim was initially denied on May 23 or 27,
2014 (compare Tr. 81 with Tr. 97-100) and,
following Plaintiff's May 28, 2014 written request for a
hearing before an Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) (see Tr. 101-03), an initial
hearing was conducted before an ALJ on November 19, 2015
(see Tr. 59), followed by a second hearing on March
10, 2016 (Tr. 46) and a third and final hearing on June 8,
2016 (Tr. 35-45). On July 6, 2016, the ALJ issued a decision
finding that the claimant was not disabled and, therefore,
not entitled to supplemental security income benefits. (Tr.
20-29.) More specifically, the ALJ proceeded to the fifth
step of the five-step sequential evaluation process and
determined that Morrisette retains the residual functional
capacity to perform those medium, unskilled jobs identified
by the vocational expert (“VE”) during the
administrative hearing (compare Id. at 28
with Tr. 41-43). On July 27, 2016, the Plaintiff
appealed the ALJ's unfavorable decision to the Appeals
Council (Tr. 226); the Appeals Council denied
Morrisette's request for review on June 1, 2017 (Tr.
1-3). Thus, the hearing decision became the final decision of
the Commissioner of Social Security.
alleges disability due to diabetes, hypertension, seizure
disorder, obesity, major depressive disorder, PTSD, somatic
syndrome disorder, and depression due to another medical
condition. The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) made the
following relevant findings:
2. The claimant has the following severe impairments:
hypertension, diabetes mellitus, seizure disorder, obesity,
major depressive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder
(PTSD), somatic symptom disorder, and depression due to
another medical condition (20 CFR 416.920(c)).
. . .
3. 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 CFR Part 404,
Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR 416.920(d), 416.925 and
. . .
4. After careful consideration of the entire record,
the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual
functional capacity to perform less than the full range of
medium work as defined in 20 CFR 416.967(c) except she should
avoid all exposure to dangerous machinery and unprotected
heights. She cannot climb ladders, ropes or scaffolds and she
cannot crawl. She can occasionally kneel and crouch. She can
understand, remember and carry out short and simple
instructions on an unlimited basis. She cannot understand,
remember and carry out detailed instructions. She can
occasionally interact/associate with the general public,
coworkers, and supervisors. While the claimant has more than
a slight limitation in the ability to respond appropriately
to usual work situations and to changes in a routine work
setting, she can do so at a satisfactory level.
. . .
5. The claimant has no past relevant work (20 CFR
. . .
6. The claimant was born on April 18, 1966, and was
47 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age
18-49, on the date the application was filed. The claimant
subsequently changed age category to closely ...