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King v. Soul

United States District Court, S.D. Alabama, Southern Division

June 19, 2019

DEJARIO L. KING, Plaintiff,
v.
ANDREW M. SAUL, Commissioner of Social Security,[1] Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          P. BRADLEY MURRAY, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff Dejario L. King 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 May 20, 2019 hearing before the undersigned, the Court concludes that the Commissioner's decision denying benefits should be affirmed.[2]

         I. Procedural Background

         Plaintiff protectively filed applications for a period of disability and disability insurance benefits, as well as for supplemental security income benefits, on or about June 17, 2016, alleging disability beginning on October 28, 2015. (See Tr. 190-99.) King's claims were initially denied on August 26, 2016 (Tr. 107-11) and, following Plaintiff's September 12, 2016 written request for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) (see Tr. 114-15), a hearing was conducted before an ALJ on December 20, 2017 (Tr. 36-53). On May 15, 2018, the ALJ issued a decision finding that the claimant was not disabled and, therefore, not entitled to benefits. (Tr. 10-22.) More specifically, the ALJ determined that King retains the residual functional capacity to perform sedentary work as defined in 20 C.F.R. § 404.1567(a) and 416.967(a), with certain identified mental limitations, and can perform those sedentary jobs identified by the vocational expert (“VE”) during the administrative hearing (compare Id. at 15 & 21-22 with Tr. 50 & 51). And, ultimately, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review on August 28, 2018 (Tr. 1-3). Thus, the hearing decision became the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security.

         Plaintiff alleges disability due to sarcoidosis, fibromyalgia, degenerative joint disease, obesity, affective disorder, and anxiety disorder. The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) made the following relevant findings:

3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: sarcoidosis, fibromyalgia, degenerative joint disease, obesity, affective disorder, and anxiety disorder (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 sedentary work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(a) and 416.967(a) except she is limited to simple routine tasks; simple work-related decisions; occasional interaction with supervisors, coworkers and the public; and gradual changes in a routine work setting.
. . .
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work (20 CFR 404.1565 and 416.965).
. . .
7. The claimant was born on May 1, 1974, and was 41 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-44, 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 ...

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