Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Campbell v. Berryhill

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

July 25, 2018

CAMILLE CAMPBELL, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.

          OPINION

          Slomsky, J.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Before the Court are the Objections of Plaintiff Camille Campbell to the Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) of United States Magistrate Judge Thomas J. Rueter. (Doc. No. 15.) On April 13, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Complaint against Defendant Commissioner of the Social Security Administration alleging that Defendant wrongfully denied Plaintiff disability insurance benefits (DIB) under Title II of the Social Security Act (“Act”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 401-434. (Doc. No. 1.) On September 20, 2017, the Court referred the case to Magistrate Judge Rueter for an R&R. (Doc. No. 13.) On December 7, 2017, Magistrate Judge Rueter issued the R&R, recommending that Plaintiff's request for review be denied. (Doc. No. 14.) On December 20, 2017, Plaintiff timely filed Objections. (Doc. No. 15.) On December 29, 2017, Defendant filed a Response to Plaintiff's Objections. (Doc. No. 17.) The Objections are now ripe for a decision.

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), the Court has conducted a de novo review of the portions of the R&R to which objections have been made. After independently reviewing the Administrative Record (“Record”) and for reasons that follow, the Court will approve and adopt the R&R (Doc. No. 14) in its entirety.

         II. BACKGROUND

         A. Factual and Procedural Background

         Plaintiff Camille Campbell filed an application for DIB alleging disability beginning on October 22, 2012. (R. at 101-07.) The claim was denied initially and a request for a hearing was filed timely. (R. at 40-49, 53-58.) A hearing was held on August 26, 2015, before Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) George C. Yatron. (R. at 27-39.) Plaintiff, represented by counsel, appeared and testified. Agnes Klosinski Gallen, a vocational expert (VE), also appeared and testified. In a decision dated September 22, 2015, the ALJ found that Plaintiff was not disabled under the Act. (R. at 11-26.) The ALJ made the following findings:

1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through December 31, 2018.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since October 22, 2012, the alleged onset date (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq.).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairment: fibromyalgia (20 CFR 404.1520(c)).
4. The claimant did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of 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) in that she is able to lift/carry up to 10 pounds; stand and walk about 2 hours during an 8-hour workday; and sit about 6 hours during an 8-hour workday.
6. The claimant is capable of performing past relevant work as a hospital admitting clerk, department administrator and administrative manager.
This work does not require the performance of work-related activities precluded by the claimant's residual functional capacity (20 CFR 404.1565).
7. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from October 22, 2012, through the date of this decision (20 CFR 404.1520(f)).

(R. at 16-23.)

         Plaintiff filed a request for review of the decision of the ALJ. (R at 1-10.) That request was denied and the ALJ's decision became the final decision of the Commissioner. (Id.) Plaintiff now seeks judicial review of the ALJ's decision pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

         B. Relevant Social Security Administration Regulations

         To prove a “disability, ” a claimant must demonstrate “the inability to do any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.” 20 C.F.R. § 404.1505(a). The claimant has the burden of proving the existence of a disability and can satisfy this burden by showing an inability to return to former work. Rossi v. Califano, 602 F.2d 55, 57 (3d Cir. 1979). If she does so, the burden shifts to the Commissioner to show that, given the claimant's age, education, and work experience, she is able to perform specific jobs that exist in the national economy. 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(2)(A); 20 C.F.R. § 416.920(f).

         When evaluating a disability, the Social Security Administration uses a five-step process, which is followed in a set order:

(i) At the first step, we consider your work activity, if any. If you are doing substantial gainful activity, we will find that you are not disabled.
(ii) At the second step, we consider the medical severity of your impairment(s). If you do not have a severe medically determinable physical or mental impairment that meets the duration requirement in § 404.1509, or a combination of impairments that is severe and meets the duration requirement, we will find that you are not disabled.
(iii) At the third step, we also consider the medical severity of your impairment(s). If you have an impairment(s) that meets or equals one of our listings in appendix 1 of this subpart and meets the duration requirement, we will find that you are disabled.
(iv) At the fourth step, we consider our assessment of your residual functional capacity and your past relevant work. If you can still do your past relevant work, we will find that you are not disabled.
(v) At the fifth and last step, we consider our assessment of your residual functional capacity and your age, education, and work experience to see if you can make an adjustment to other work. If you can make an adjustment to other work, we will find that you are not disabled. If you cannot make an adjustment to other work, we will find that you are disabled.

§ 404.1520(a)(4)(i)-(v).

         Between the third and fourth steps, the Social Security Administration assesses a claimant's residual functional capacity, which is “the most [a claimant] can do despite [her] limitations.” § 404.1545(a)(1). The Social Security Administration uses the residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment at Step Four to determine if the claimant is able to do her “past relevant work.” § 404.1545(a)(5)(i). “Past relevant work” is “work that you have done within the past 15 years, that was substantial gainful activity, and that lasted long enough for you to learn to do it.” § 404.1560(b)(1).

         C. The ALJ's Decision

         At the administrative hearing on August 26, 2015, Plaintiff testified that she was forty-nine years old and unmarried with a grown child who was twenty-seven years old at the time. (R. at 29-30.) Plaintiff represented that she is a college graduate who owns a home and lives alone. (R. at 30-31.) Plaintiff also stated that she had been staying in New York with her mother “for the last several months.” (R. at 31.) Plaintiff mentioned that she has a driver's license and drove herself to the administrative hearing from New York, a distance of 100 miles. (R. at 30-31.)

         Plaintiff last worked in October 2012 as an administrative assistant. (R. at 31.) She ceased work because “it became too much for . . . [her] to manage in terms of the effects on . . . [her] health.” (Id.) According to Plaintiff, she can no longer work because of pain in her joints and muscles and consistent, extreme fatigue. (R. at 33.) Plaintiff experiences post-exertion fatigue, such that simple activities result in pain. (Id.) Plaintiff explained that she would be in bed for the next day or two due to fatigue as a result of her drive from New York that morning. (Id.)

         With respect to her daily activities, Plaintiff stated that she does not engage in sports or exercise, but reads as a hobby. (R. at 32.) When asked whether she engages in social activities or visits friends, Plaintiff mentioned that she goes to church. (Id.) Plaintiff stated that she can no longer perform yard work or house work. (Id.) Plaintiff grocery shops and “sometimes” watches television. (R. at 32-33.) When asked what time she arises in the morning, Plaintiff responded that she does “not get up in the morning. [She gets] up in the afternoon at about-between the hours of maybe 3:30 to 6:30.” (R. at 33.) Plaintiff does not smoke or ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.