United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division
J. Conrad, Jr. United States District Judge.
MATTER comes before the Court on Plaintiff's
Motion for Summary Judgment, (Doc. No. 9); Plaintiff's
Memorandum in Support, (Doc. No. 9-1); Defendant's Motion
for Summary Judgment, (Doc. No. 10); Defendant's
Memorandum in Support, (Doc. No. 11); and Plaintiff's
Response in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment, (Doc. No.
15). The motions are ripe for adjudication.
Broom (“Plaintiff”) seeks judicial review of
Nancy A. Berryhill's (“Defendant” or
“Commissioner”) denial of her social security
claim. Plaintiff filed an application under Title II for a
period of disability and disability insurance benefits on
September 29, 2011, alleging an onset date of June 4, 2011.
(Doc. Nos. 8 to 8-17: Administrative Record
(“Tr.”) at 162). Her applications were denied
first on March 26, 2012, and again on October 29, 2012 upon
reconsideration. (Id. at 90, 96). Plaintiff filed a
timely request for a hearing on December 27, 2017,
(Id. at 100), and an administrative hearing was held
by an administrative law judge (“ALJ”) for the
Social Security Administration on June 4, 2014. (Id.
at 36-72). At her hearing, Plaintiff amended her alleged
onset date of disability to April 1, 2013. (Id. at
this hearing, the ALJ found that the Plaintiff was not
disabled from April 1, 2013, through the date of the
decision. (Id. 16-35). The Plaintiff requested a
review of the ALJ's decision on December 31, 2014, but on
February 26, 2016, the Appeals Council denied the request,
therefore finalizing the Commissioner's decision.
(Id. at 1-6, 14-15). See C.F.R.
§§ 404.981, 416.1481.
exhausted her administrative remedies and this case is now
before the Court for disposition of the parties'
cross-motions for summary judgment. Plaintiff's Motion
for Summary Judgment, (Doc. No. 9), and Plaintiff's
Memorandum in Support, (Doc. No. 9-1), were filed on
September 6, 2016. Defendant's Motion for Summary
Judgment, (Doc. No. 10) and Memorandum in Support, (Doc. No.
11), were filed on November 3, 2016. Plaintiff then filed a
response in support of her motion for Summary Judgment, (Doc.
No. 15), on December 1, 2016. The pending motions are ripe
question before the ALJ was whether Plaintiff was disabled
under sections 216(i) and 223(d) of the Social Security Act.
(Tr. 13). To establish entitlement to benefits, Plaintiff has
the burden of proving that she was disabled within the
meaning of the Social Security Act. Bowen v.
Yuckert, 482 U.S. 137, 146 n5 (1987). Plaintiff alleges
that her disability began on April 1, 2013 due to chronic
fatigue, joint pain, a brain tumor, thyroid tumor, vision
problems, smelling problems, seizures, heart problems, and a
hernia. (Tr. 75, 161).
reviewing Plaintiff's record and conducting a hearing,
the ALJ found that Plaintiff did not suffer from a disability
as defined in the SSA. (Tr. 19-50). In reaching his
conclusion, the ALJ used the five-step sequential evaluation
process established by the Social Security Administration for
determining if a person is disabled. 20 C.F.R. §
404.1520(a). The five steps are:
(1) whether claimant is engaged in substantial gainful
activity-if yes, not disabled;
(2) whether claimant has a severe medically determinable
physical or mental impairment, or combination of impairments
that meet the duration requirement in § 404.1509-if no,
(3) whether claimant has an impairment or combination of
impairments that meets or medically equals one of the
listings in appendix 1 and meets the duration requirement-if
(4) whether claimant has the residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) to perform his or her past relevant