United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S
MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (ECF NO. 16) AND AFFIRMING THE
DECISION OF THE COMMISSIONER
C. GARGIULO UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), Plaintiff Kurri Sky Bennett seeks
judicial review of a decision by the Commissioner of the
Social Security Administration, denying her claim for
Supplemental Security Income under Title XVI of the Social
Security Act (SSI), 42 U.S.C. § 1381-1383f. The
Commissioner found that Plaintiff was not under a disability
since September 6, 2012, the date the application was filed.
Plaintiff has filed a Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No.
16) and Memorandum (ECF No. 17), and the Commissioner has
filed a Memorandum in Opposition (ECF No. 18). Having
reviewed the administrative record, the submissions of the
parties, and relevant law, the Court concludes that the
decision of the administrative law judge (ALJ) is supported
by substantial evidence and in accord with relevant legal
standards. Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment should
be denied, and the decision of the Commissioner affirmed.
filed an application for SSI on September 6, 2012, alleging
disability due to epilepsy, learning disabilities, and
depression. (ECF No. 11, at 213). Plaintiff was 19 years old
on the date the application was filed. She completed high
school taking special education classes and received a
certificate of completion but not a diploma. (ECF No. 11, at
34, 51, 64).
denial of her claim initially and on reconsideration,
Plaintiff requested a hearing before an ALJ. ALJ William
Wallis held a hearing on February 3, 2014. Id. at
28-57. Plaintiff appeared with counsel and testified. A
vocational expert (VE) and Plaintiff's mother also
March 27, 2014, the ALJ issued a decision concluding that
Plaintiff was not disabled from September 6, 2012, through
the date of the decision. Id. at 23. The ALJ
utilized the five-step sequential evaluation process to find
Plaintiff not disabled. 20 C.F.R. §
416.920(a). At step one, the ALJ determined that
Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial gainful activity
since her alleged onset date. Id. at 15. At step
two, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had severe impairments of a
seizure disorder, borderline intellectual functioning, an
affective/mood disorder, and an anxiety disorder.
Id. At step three, the ALJ concluded that
Plaintiff's severe impairments did not meet the
requirements for presumptive disability under the listed
impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1.
Id. at 16-18.
the ALJ determined that Plaintiff retained the residual
functional capacity (RFC) to perform a full range of work at
all exertional levels but with the following nonexertional
Cannot be exposed to unprotected heights or moving machinery;
cannot engage in commercial driving as a job requirement; can
understand, remember, and carry out simple tasks and
instructions; can attend, concentrate, and persist for
two-hour periods; can at least occasionally interact with
supervisors and coworkers; can complete a normal workweek
without interruptions from psychologically-based symptoms;
and can respond appropriately to at least occasional
Id. at 18.
concluded that Plaintiff's medically determinable
impairments could reasonably be expected to cause some of the
alleged symptoms but Plaintiff's “statements
concerning the intensity, persistence and limiting effects of
these symptoms are not entirely credible . . .”
Id. at 20.
four, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had no past relevant work
experience. Id. at 22. At step five, the ALJ relied
upon the VE's testimony to find Plaintiff capable of
performing simple, unskilled work that exists in significant
numbers in the national economy, specifically dishwasher
(850, 000 jobs nationally), hand packager (300, 000 jobs
nationally), and assembler (6, 000 jobs nationally).
Id. at 22-23.
Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review,
rendering the March 27, 2014, decision the final decision of
the Commissioner. Id. at 5-7. Plaintiff timely
commenced this suit seeking judicial review under 42 U.S.C.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Court has jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1331 and 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Because both parties
have consented under 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) to have a United
States Magistrate Judge conduct all of the proceedings in
this case, the undersigned has the authority to issue this
opinion and the accompanying final judgment.
of the Commissioner's decision is limited to an inquiry
into whether there is substantial evidence on the record as a
whole to support the findings of the Commissioner and whether
the correct legal standards were applied. 42 U.S.C. §
405(g); Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401
(1971); Falco v. Shalala, 27 F.3d 160, 163 (5th Cir.
1994). A'[S]ubstantial evidence' is less than a
preponderance but more than a scintilla." Bowling v.
Shalala, 36 F.3d 431, 434 (5th Cir. 1994). Substantial
evidence ''must do more than create a suspicion of
the existence of the fact to be established, but 'no
substantial evidence' will be found only where there is a
'conspicuous absence of credible choices' or 'no
contrary medical evidence.''' Harrell v.
Bowen, 862 F.2d 471, 475 (5th Cir. 1988)(quoting
Hames v. Heckler, 707 F.2d 162, 164 (5th Cir.
in the evidence are for the Commissioner to resolve. If the
Commissioner's factual findings are supported by
substantial evidence, they are conclusive and must be
affirmed. Selders v. Sullivan, 914 F.2d 614, 617
(5th Cir. 1990). The Court may not reweigh the evidence, try
the issues de novo, or substitute its judgment for
the Commissioner's, "even if the evidence
preponderates against the [Commissioner's] decision.
Bowling, 36 F.3d at 434.
DISCUSSION A. Listing 12.05(C)
three, the Commissioner considers the medical severity of the
claimant's impairment(s) and determines whether the
impairment(s) ''meets or equals'' a listed
impairment in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1.
See 20 C.F.R. ' 416.920(a)(4)(iii), (d).