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Grubb v. Colvin

United States District Court, M.D. North Carolina

May 21, 2014

CHARLIE F. GRUBB, III, in his capacity as Executor of the Estate of Danielle J. Grubb, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

THOMAS D. SCHROEDER, District Judge.

Danielle J. Grubb brought this action pursuant to Sections 205(g) and 1631(c)(3) of the Social Security Act (the "Act"), as amended (42 U.S.C. ยงยง 405(g) and 1383(c)(3)), to obtain judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security denying her claim for Disability Insurance Benefits under Title II of the Act.[1] (Doc. 1.) The parties have filed cross-motions for judgment (Docs. 7, 9), and the administrative record has been certified to the court for review. For the reasons set forth below, the Commissioner's motion will be granted, Grubb's motion will be denied, and this action will be dismissed.

I. BACKGROUND

Grubb filed her application for Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB") on March 1, 2007, alleging a disability onset date of September 16, 2005. (See Tr. at 132.)[2] Her application was denied initially (id. 83) and upon reconsideration (id. at 87). Thereafter, Grubb requested a hearing de novo before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"). (Id. at 95.) Grubb, along with her attorney and a vocational expert ("VE"), attended the subsequent hearing on April 2, 2009. (Id. at 36.) The ALJ ultimately determined that Grubb was not disabled within the meaning of the Act (id. at 31) and, on March 17, 2011, the Appeals Council denied Grubb's request for review of the decision, thereby making the ALJ's conclusion the Commissioner's final decision for purposes of judicial review (id. at 11-15).

In rendering his disability determination, the ALJ made the following findings later adopted by the Commissioner:

1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through December 31, 2010.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since September 16, 2005, the alleged onset date (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq. ).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: asthma; obesity; tachycardia; and insulin dependent diabetes (20 CFR 404.1520(c))
4. The claimant does not have 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 (20 CFR 404.1520(d), 404.1525 and 404.1526)
5. 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 that she can lift or carry 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently; she [can] stand or walk for 6 hours in an 8 hour day; she may never climb ropes, ladders, or scaffolds; she may occasionally climb ramps or stairs, stoop, bend, kneel, crouch, or crawl; she should not work in environments with temperature extremes; extreme damp or dryness; or gases, fumes, dusts, smoke, chemicals or other pulmonary irritants; and she should not work at a forced pace or assembly line pace job.
....
6. The claimant is capable of performing past relevant work as a customer service representative and customer service representative in the financial industry. This work does not require the performance of work-related activities precluded by the claimant's residual functional capacity (20 CFR 404.1565 and 416.965).

(Id. at 24-26, 30.)

Because she was capable of performing past relevant work, the ALJ determined that Grubb was not disabled within the ...


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