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Love v. Colvin

United States District Court, M.D. North Carolina

April 10, 2014

EMMA KATHY LOVE, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, [1] Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

L. PATRICK AULD, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff, Emma Kathy Love, brought this action for judicial review of a final decision of Defendant, the Commissioner of Social Security, denying Plaintiff's claims for Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB") and Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") under Titles II and XVI, respectively, of the Social Security Act (the "Act"). (Docket Entry 2.) The Court has before it the certified administrative record (cited as "Tr. ___"), as well as the parties' cross-motions for judgment (Docket Entries 18, 20). For the reasons that follow, the Court should enter judgment for Defendant.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiff filed an application for DIB alleging a disability onset date of August 25, 1999. (Tr. 54-56.) Following denial of that application both initially and upon reconsideration (Tr. 39-40), Plaintiff requested a hearing de novo before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") (Tr. 53), who subsequently ruled Plaintiff not disabled under the Act (Tr. 266-79). The Appeals Council thereafter denied Plaintiff's request for review. (Tr. 348-50.)

Plaintiff then filed an unsuccessful application for SSI (Tr. 374-75), as well as her instant Complaint in this Court (Docket Entry 2). The Court subsequently entered a consent order remanding the matter for reconstruction of the administrative record in light of missing exhibits (but without entry of judgment in this action). (Docket Entry 10.) When the Appeals Council made a referral to the ALJ pursuant to that consent order, it directed the ALJ to consider whether to consolidate Plaintiff's SSI claim with her DIB claim at issue in this case. (Tr. 368.) The ALJ reopened the denial of the SSI application and consolidated that matter with the DIB claim covered by the consent order. (Tr. 12.) Plaintiff, her attorney, and a vocational expert ("VE") thereafter appeared at a supplemental hearing. (Tr. 594.) The ALJ then again denied Plaintiff's DIB claim, but granted her SSI claim as of the SSI application date. (Tr. 24.)

In reaching that decision, the ALJ made the following findings, adopted by the Commissioner:

1. [Plaintiff] met the insured status requirements of the [] Act through March 31, 2005.
2. [Plaintiff] has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since August 25, 1999, the alleged onset date....
3. Since the onset date of disability, [Plaintiff] has had the following severe impairments: degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine, chronic left hip bursitis, left knee chondromalacia, obesity, and a depressive disorder....
4. Since the alleged onset date of disability, [Plaintiff] has not had an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1....
5.... [D]uring the period through March 31, 2005, the date last insured, [Plaintiff] had the residual functional capacity to perform sedentary work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(a) and 416.967(a) which is unskilled and allows a sit/stand option.
....
6.... [B]eginning on January 29, 2007, the date [Plaintiff] filed her [SSI] application, [she] lack[ed] the residual functional capacity to perform any ...

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