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Herrin v. Colvin

United States District Court, Southern District of Georgia, Augusta Division

November 4, 2014

WENDY HERRIN, o/b/o L.L.H., Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security Administration, [1] Defendant

For Wendy Herrin, o/b/o L.L.H., Plaintiff: Christopher L. Rouse, LEAD ATTORNEY, Rouse Copeland, LLC, Savannah, GA; Howard D. Olinsky, LEAD ATTORNEY, Olinsky Law Group, Syracuse, NY.

For Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant: Shannon Heath Statkus, U.S. Attorney's Office - AUG, Augusta, GA.

MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

BRIAN K. EPPS, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

Wendy Herrin (" Plaintiff"), proceeding on behalf of her daughter, L.L.H., (" Claimant") appeals the decision of the Acting Commissioner of Social Security denying her application for Supplemental Security Income (" SSI") under the Social Security Act. Upon consideration of the briefs submitted by both parties, the record evidence, and the relevant statutory and case law, the Court REPORTS and RECOMMENDS that the Commissioner's final decision be AFFIRMED, this civil action be CLOSED, and a final judgment be ENTERED in favor of the Commissioner.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff protectively applied for SSI on behalf of Claimant on June 20, 2011, alleging a disability onset date of September 1, 2005. Tr. (" R."), pp. 137-40. The Social Security Administration denied Plaintiff's application initially, R. 82-83, and on reconsideration, R. 86-93. Plaintiff then requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (" ALJ"), R. 99-100, and the ALJ held a hearing on December 17, 2012. R. 40-81. At the hearing, the ALJ heard testimony from Plaintiff and Claimant, who were represented by counsel. Id. On January 17, 2013, the ALJ issued an unfavorable decision. R. 21-35.

Applying the three-step sequential process required by 20 C.F.R. § 416.924(a), the ALJ found:

1. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since June 20, 2011, the application date (20 C.F.R. § § 416.924(b) and 416.971 et seq .).
2. The claimant has the following severe impairment: attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (" ADHD"), mood disorder, and oppositional defiance disorder (" ODD") (20 C.F.R. § 416.924(c)).
3. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of one of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 C.F.R. § § 416.924, 416.925, and 416.926). The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that functionally equals the severity of the listings (20 C.F.R. § § 416.924(d) and 416.926(a)). Thus, the claimant has not been disabled, as defined by the Social Security Act, from June 20, 2011, through January 7, 2013 (20 C.F.R. § 416.924(a)).[2]

R. 24-35.

When the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review on May 16, 2013, R. 1-6, the Commissioner's decision became " final" for the purpose of judicial review. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Plaintiff then filed this civil action requesting reversal or remand of the adverse decision.

Plaintiff argues that the Commissioner's decision is not supported by substantial evidence because the ALJ erred by (1) failing to properly evaluate a childhood disability evaluation form completed by Dr. Karen Carter and (2) failing to properly analyze Plaintiff's credibility. (See doc. no. 24 (" Pl's Br."), pp. 10-15.) As to her first ground of error, Plaintiff contends that Dr. Carter's evaluation form shows Claimant functionally equaled the Listings by having a marked limitation in two domains of functioning or an extreme limitation in one domain of functioning under 20 C.F.R. § 416.926(b)(1). ( Id. at 10-14.)[3]

The Commissioner maintains that the decision to deny Plaintiff's application is supported by substantial evidence and should therefore be affirmed. (See ...


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