United States District Court, S.D. Alabama, Southern Division
ADRIENNE D. CROCKETT, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Bradley Murray UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Adrienne D. Crockett brings this action, pursuant to 42
U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3), seeking judicial
review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social
Security denying her claims for a period of disability,
disability insurance benefits, and supplemental security
income. 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. 18
& 19 (“In accordance with 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 January 9, 2018 hearing before the undersigned, the Court
concludes that the Commissioner's decision denying
benefits should be affirmed.
filed applications for a period of disability, disability
insurance benefits, and supplemental security income on
October 9, 2015, alleging disability beginning on March 31,
2015. (See Tr. 156-71.) Crockett's claims were
initially denied on November 13, 2015 (see Tr.
83-84) and, following Plaintiff's late November 2015
request for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) (see Tr. 94-95), a hearing was
conducted before an ALJ on March 20, 2017 (Tr.26-49). On June
22, 2017, the ALJ issued a decision finding that the claimant
was not disabled and, therefore, not entitled to a period of
disability, disability insurance benefits, or supplemental
security income. (Tr. 10-17.) More specifically, the ALJ
stopped at the fourth step of the five-step sequential
evaluation process and determined that Crockett retains the
residual functional capacity to perform her past relevant
sedentary work as a credit card clerk (compare Id.
at 16-17 with Tr. 47). On July 24, 2017, the
Plaintiff appealed the ALJ's unfavorable decision to the
Appeals Council (see Tr. 153); the Appeals Council
denied Crockett's request for review on April 10, 2018
(Tr. 1-3). Thus, the hearing decision became the final
decision of the Commissioner of Social Security.
alleges disability due to obesity, rheumatoid arthritis and
osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease of the cervical
spine, and chronic kidney disease. The Administrative Law
Judge (ALJ) made the following relevant findings:
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments:
obesity; rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis; [and]
degenerative disc disease of the cervical spine (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 the severity of
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 the full range of sedentary
work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(a) and 416.967(a).
6. The claimant is capable of performing past relevant work
as a credit card clerk. This work does not require the
performance of work-related activities precluded by the
claimant's residual functional capacity (20 CFR 404.1565
7. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined
in the Social Security Act, from March 31, 2015, through the
date of this decision (20 CFR 404.1520(f) and 416.920(f)).
(Tr. 12, 13, 14, 16 & 17 (emphasis in original)).
Standard of Review and Claims on Appeal
In all Social Security cases, an ALJ utilizes a five-step
to determine whether the claimant is disabled, which
considers: (1) whether the claimant is engaged in substantial
gainful activity; (2) if not, whether the claimant has a
severe impairment; (3) if so, whether the severe impairment
meets or equals an impairment in the Listing of Impairments
in the regulations; (4) if not, whether the claimant has the
RFC to perform h[is] past relevant work; and (5) if not,
whether, in light of ...