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McClain v. Colvin

United States District Court, M.D. North Carolina

May 23, 2014

SHAWN Y. HUNT McCLAIN, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

THOMAS D. SCHROEDER, District Judge.

Plaintiff Shawn Y. Hunt McClain 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. (Doc. 2.) The parties have filed cross-motions for judgment (Docs. 9, 14), 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, McClain's motion will be denied, and this case will be dismissed.

I. BACKGROUND

McClain filed her initial application for Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB") on September 30, 2009, alleging a disability onset date of October 13, 2003. (Tr. at 147-51.)[1] Her application was denied initially (id. at 59-65) and upon reconsideration (id. at 66-73). Thereafter, McClain requested a hearing de novo before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"). (Id. at 100.) McClain, along with her attorney and a vocational expert ("VE"), attended the subsequent hearing on December 16, 2011. (Id. at 26.) The ALJ ultimately determined that McClain was not disabled within the meaning of the Act (id. at 21) and, on October 23, 2012, the Appeals Council denied McClain'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 1-5).

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

1. The claimant last met the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through December 31, 2008.
2. The claimant did not engage in substantial gainful activity during the period from her alleged onset date of October 13, 2003 through her date last insured of December 31, 2008 (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq. ).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: hypertension, asthma and cardiac abnormalities including mitral regurgitation, mitral stenosis and tachycardia (20 CFR 404.1520(c)).
....
4. Through the date last insured, the claimant did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that met or medically equaled one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR 404.1520(d), 404.1525, 404.1526).
....
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that, through the date last insured, the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) sitting, and standing and walking up to six hours each in an eight-hour workday, lifting and carrying up to 20 pounds occasionally and ten pounds frequently, with an additional limitation of avoidance of concentrated pulmonary irritants.
....
6. Through the date last insured, the claimant was capable of performing past relevant work as a fast food worker. This work did not require performance of work-related activities precluded by the claimant's ...

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