United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division
Kenneth D. Bell, United States District Judge.
MATTER is before the Court on Plaintiff Dawn
Michelle Ramsey's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No.
9) and Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No.
13), as well as the parties' briefs and exhibits.
Plaintiff, through counsel, seeks judicial review of an
unfavorable administrative decision on her application for
Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) and
Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”).
reviewed and considered the written arguments, administrative
record, and applicable authority, and for the reasons set
forth below, Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment is
DENIED; Defendant's Motion for Summary
Judgment is GRANTED; and the
Commissioner's decision is AFFIRMED.
Ramsey applied for disability benefits on June 5, 2013. (Tr.
at 79, 90). Her application was initially denied on
August 21, 2013 (Tr. at 107-08) and again upon
reconsideration on February 5, 2015 (Tr. 145-46). After
conducting a hearing on March 6, 2017, the Administrative Law
Judge (“ALJ”) denied her application in a
decision dated April 26, 2017. (Tr. at 18-30). The Appeals
Council denied her request for review. (Tr. at 1-3). The
ALJ's decision now stands as the final decision of the
Commissioner, and Ms. Ramsey has requested judicial review.
reasons stated below, the Court affirms the decision of the
THE COMMISSIONER'S DECISION
one, the ALJ found that Ms. Ramsey had not engaged in
substantial gainful activity since January 1, 2000. (Tr. at
20, Finding 2). At step two, the ALJ found that Ms. Ramsey
had the following severe impairments: obesity, affective
disorder, and anxiety disorder. (Tr. at 20, Finding 3). The
ALJ considered Ms. Ramsey's impairments under listings
12.04 and 12.06 at step three and found that they did not
meet or medically equal either listing. (Tr. at 21-22).
ALJ, at step four, found that Ms. Ramsey has the residual
functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform medium
work with the following limitations:
She can lift/carry/push/pull 25 lbs. frequently, and 50 lbs.
occasionally. She is able to sit for 6 hours, stand for 6
hours, and walk for 6 hours each in an 8-hour workday with
regular breaks. She can occasionally climb ladders,
frequently crouch, and frequently crawl. She needs to avoid
concentrated exposure to hazards. She can maintain
concentration, persistence and pace for two-hour periods for
simple, routine, repetitive tasks and instructions. She can
have occasional interaction with the general public, and
frequent interaction with co-workers or supervisors.
(Tr. at 22-23).
determining Ms. Ramsey's RFC, the ALJ considered several
doctors' opinions, including that of Dr. Bierrenbach, Ms.
Ramsey's treating doctor. (Tr. at 25-27). The ALJ further
found that while Ms. Ramsey is unable to perform any past
relevant work, considering her age, education, work
experience, and RFC, she can perform other jobs that exist in
significant number in the national economy. (Tr. at 28). The
vocational expert (VE) testified that Ms. Ramsey would be
able to perform jobs such as a night cleaner, production
helper, or hand packer. (Tr. at 29).
Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) and §
1383(c)(3), limits this Court's review of a final
decision of the Commissioner to: (1) whether substantial
evidence supports the Commissioner's decision,
Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 390, 401
(1971); and (2) whether the Commissioner applied the correct
legal standards. Hays v. Sullivan, 907 F.2d 1453,
1456 (4th Cir. 1990); see also Hunter v. Sullivan,
993 F.2d 31, 34 (4th Cir. 1992) (per curiam). The District
Court does not review a final decision of the Commissioner
de novo. Smith v. ...