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Broomfield v. Saul

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

August 12, 2019

CASSANDRA BROOMFIELD, Plaintiff,
v.
ANDREW M. SAUL,[1] Commissioner of Social Security. Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          DAVID D. NOCE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This action is before the Court for judicial review of the final decision of the defendant Commissioner of Social Security denying the applications of plaintiff Cassandra Broomfield for disability insurance benefits (“DIB”) and supplemental security income (“SSI”) under Titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 401, et seq.; § 1601, et seq. The parties have consented to the exercise of plenary authority by the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). For the reasons set forth below, the decision of the Commissioner is affirmed.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Cassandra Broomfield was born on May 28, 1973, and filed her DIB application on December 23, 2014, (Tr. 224-34)[2] and her SSI application on January 27, 2015. (Tr. 235-39). She alleged a disability onset date of January 20, 2014, due to mood disorder/depression, lower-extremity neuropathy, fibromyositis, insomnia, hypermobile joints, plantar fasciitis, multiple joint pain, psoriasis, hypothyroidism, and polycystic ovary syndrome. (Tr. 264). Her application was denied by a disability examiner on March 11, 2015, (Tr. 148), but plaintiff appealed the decision and requested a hearing by an administrative law judge. (Tr. 155).

         On December 6, 2016, plaintiff appeared before an ALJ. (Tr. 78-117). A vocational expert also testified at the hearing. (Id.). On September 14, 2017, the ALJ denied plaintiff's applications. (Tr. 18-45). On May 30, 2018, the Appeals Council denied plaintiff's request for review (Tr. 7-12), and the ALJ's decision became the final decision of the Commissioner now before this Court for review. 20 C.F.R. § 404.984(b)(2).

         II. MEDICAL HISTORY

         The Court adopts the parties' several statements of uncontroverted material facts (Docs. 20, 27). These facts, taken together, present a fair and accurate summary of the medical record and testimony at the evidentiary hearing. The Court discusses specific facts as they are relevant to the parties' arguments.

         III. DECISION OF THE ALJ

         At Step One, the ALJ found that plaintiff met the insured status requirements and had not engaged in substantial gainful activity during the period from her alleged disability onset date of January 20, 2014, through her date last insured, December 31, 2019. (Tr. 23-24). At Step Two, the ALJ found that plaintiff had the severe impairments of mild polyneuropathy, mild lumbar osteoarthritis, mild obesity, eczema/rosacea, and plantar fasciitis. (Tr. 24-26). At Step Three, the ALJ found that plaintiff had no impairments or combination of impairments that met or were the medical equivalent of an impairment on the Commissioner's list of presumptively disabling impairments. (Tr. 26-27); see also 20 C.F.R. § Pt. 404, Subpt. P, App. 1.

         The ALJ then found that plaintiff has the residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to:

perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b) except she is able to stand and/or walk for two hours at a time for a total of six hours in an eight-hour workday; sit for three hours at a time up to eight hours in a workday; lift/carry 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently; frequently reach in all directions, handle, finger, feel, push, pull and operate foot controls bilaterally; occasionally climb ramps and stairs but never climb ladders, ropes or scaffolds; frequently balance, stoop, kneel and crouch; occasionally crawl; avoid all exposure to unprotected heights; limited to occasional exposure to moving mechanical parts, humidity, wetness, extreme cold and vibration; and frequently operate a motor vehicle.

(Tr. 27).

         At Step Four, the ALJ found that plaintiff was able to perform her past relevant work as a retail sales clerk. (Tr. 37). The ALJ also made an alternative Step Five finding that plaintiff was capable of performing other jobs existing in significant numbers in the national economy, such as cafeteria attendant, electrical accessories assembler I, and cashier II. (Tr. 38).

         IV. GENERAL ...


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