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Knott v. Colvin

United States District Court, M.D. North Carolina

June 2, 2014

DANA KNOTT, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

THOMAS D. SCHROEDER, District Judge.

Plaintiff Dana Knott 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 claims for Disability Insurance Benefits and Supplemental Security Income under, respectively, Titles II and XVI of the Act. (Doc. 2.) The parties have filed cross-motions for judgment (Docs. 10, 15), 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, Knott's motion will be denied, and this case will be dismissed.

I. BACKGROUND

Knott filed her application for Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB") on January 4, 2010, and her application for Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") on January 8, 2010, alleging a disability onset date of March 6, 2007. (Tr. at 231-41.)[1] Her applications were denied initially (id. at 125, 126) and upon reconsideration (id. at 159, 160). Thereafter, Knott requested a hearing de novo before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"). (Id. at 197-98.) Knott, along with her attorney and a vocational expert ("VE"), attended the subsequent hearing on August 25, 2011. (Id. at 45.) The ALJ ultimately determined that Knott was not disabled within the meaning of the Act (id. at 39) and, on February 19, 2013, the Appeals Council denied Knott'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 1-4).[2]

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

1. The claimant met the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through June 30, 2013.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since December 28, 2009, the amended alleged onset date (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq., and 416.971 et seq. ).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: injuries from a motor vehicle accident including T4 and T6 burst fractures, C1 and C2 fractures, rib fractures and a liver laceration, depression and anxiety (20 CFR 404.1520(c) and 416.920(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, 416.920(d), 416.925 and 416.926).
....
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) and 416.967(b) except that the claimant should perform simple repetitive tasks, which shall be defined as jobs with a Specific Vocational Profile level of no greater than one or two; and the claimant should work only in a low stress work environment, which shall be defined as work that does not involve production pace or work deadlines, and allows her to work at her own pace, and have a predictable schedule.
....
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work (20 CFR ...

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