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Cunningham v. Colvin

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division

September 26, 2016

KAY CUNNINGHAM, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          ABBIE CRITES-LEONI UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Kay Cunningham brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), seeking judicial review of the Social Security Administration Commissioner's denial of her application for Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) under Title II of the Social Security Act.

         An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) found that, despite Cunningham's severe impairments of fibromyalgia and obesity, she was not disabled as she had the residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy.

         This matter is pending before the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge, with consent of the parties, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). A summary of the entire record is presented in the parties' briefs and is repeated here only to the extent necessary.

         I. Procedural History

         Cunningham filed an application for DIB on September 7, 2012, claiming that she became unable to work due to her disabling condition on August 1, 2010. (Tr. 123-29.) Cunningham's claim was denied initially. (Tr. 70-74.) Following an administrative hearing, Cunningham's claim was denied in a written opinion by an ALJ, dated January 30, 2014. (Tr. 11-20.)

         Cunningham then filed a request for review of the ALJ's decision with the Appeals Council of the Social Security Administration (SSA), which was denied on April 24, 2015. (Tr. 5, 1-4.) Thus, the decision of the ALJ stands as the final decision of the Commissioner. See 20 C.F.R. '' 404.981, 416.1481.

         In the instant action, Cunningham argues that the ALJ erred “by failing to provide an RFC supported by substantial evidence by not properly evaluating Cunningham's migraines, by failing to set forth a narrative statement in support of the RFC, and by failing to properly assess Cunningham's credibility.” (Doc. 12 at 6.)

         II. The ALJ's Determination

         The ALJ found that Cunningham meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through December 31, 2016, and has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since August 1, 2010, the alleged onset date. (Tr. 13.)

         In addition, the ALJ concluded that Cunningham had the following severe impairments: fibromyalgia and obesity. Id. The ALJ found that Cunningham did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of one of the listed impairments. (Tr. 15.)

As to Cunningham's RFC, the ALJ stated:
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) except she can only occasionally climb ramps, stairs, ladders, ropes, and scaffolds. She should avoid concentrated exposure to hazardous conditions.

(Tr. 15.)

         The ALJ found that Cunningham's allegations regarding her limitations were not entirely credible. (Tr. 16.) In determining Cunningham's RFC, the ALJ indicated that he was assigning “great weight” to the opinions of the state agency physicians and psychologist, as they were supported by the record as a whole. (Tr. 17.)

         The ALJ further found that Cunningham was unable to perform any past relevant work. (Tr. 18.) The ALJ noted that a vocational expert testified that Cunningham could perform jobs existing in significant numbers in the national economy, such as bottling line attendant, hospital products assembler, and folding machine operator. (Tr. 19.) The ALJ therefore concluded that Cunningham has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from August 1, 2010, through the date of the decision. (Tr. 20.)

         The ALJ's final decision reads as follows:

Based on the application for a period of disability and disability insurance benefits filed on September 7, 2012, the claimant is not disabled under sections 216(i) and 223(d) of the Social Security Act.

Id.

         III. Applicable Law

         III. A. ...


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