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Mackey v. Saul

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

August 23, 2019

CAMILLE MACKEY, 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 Camille Mackey 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.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Camille Mackey was born on November 25, 1966, and filed his applications for benefits on June 10, 2015.[2] (Tr. 585). He alleged a disability onset date of August 1, 2014, for back, neck, and left elbow problems. (Tr. 585). His applications were denied by a disability examiner on September 10, 2015, (Tr. 592, 600). He appealed the decision and requested a hearing by an administrative law judge (“ALJ”). (Tr. 609).

         On June 20, 2017, plaintiff appeared before an ALJ. (Tr. 552-84). A vocational expert also testified at the hearing. (Id.). On January 4, 2018, the ALJ denied plaintiff's applications. (Tr. 383-97). On July 27, 2018, the Appeals Council considered additional evidence from plaintiff but denied his request for review (Tr. 1-4), 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).

         MEDICAL HISTORY

         The Court adopts the parties' statements of uncontroverted material facts (Docs. 20, 26). 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.

         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 his alleged disability onset date of August 1, 2014, through the date he was last insured on December 31, 2017. (Tr. 385-86). At Step Two, the ALJ found that plaintiff had the severe impairments of “status post cervical spine fusion of C5-C6; status post bilateral carpal tunnel release; and status post surgical treatment of left and right epicondylitis and communicating sinus of the left elbow.” (Tr. 386). At Step Three, the ALJ found that plaintiff had no impairments or combination of impairments that met or were the medical equivalent of impairment on the Commissioner's list of presumptively disabling impairments. (Tr. 388-89); 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). However, the claimant can never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds, kneel, crouch, and crawl. The claimant can occasionally climb ramps or stairs, balance, and stoop. The claimant can frequently reach, handle, finger, and feel. The claimant must avoid concentrated exposure to vibration, wetness, humidity, and extremes of heat and cold.

(Tr. 389).

         At Step Four, the ALJ found that plaintiff was unable to perform his past relevant work. (Tr. 395). However, based on plaintiff's age, education, work experience, and RFC, the ALJ concluded at Step Five that plaintiff was capable of performing other jobs existing in significant numbers in the national economy, such as a hand packer, production worker/assembler, and cleaner. (Tr. 395-96).

         GENERAL ...


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