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Vandyke v. Commissioner of Social Security Administration

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

September 24, 2019

ANGELA SUE VANDYKE, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, Defendant.

          ORDER ADOPTING MAGISTRATE JUDGE’S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION AND GRANTING DEFENDANT’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (ECF NO. 20)

          AVERN COHN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This is a Social Security case. Plaintiff Angela Sue Vandyke has appealed Commissioner of Social Security’s denial of her claim for benefits under the Social Security Act. The case was referred to a magistrate judge (“MJ”). Both parties submitted motions for summary judgment. After reviewing the motions, briefs, and the ALJ decision, the magistrate judge issued a report and recommendation (“MJRR”) recommending that the Commissioner’s motion for summary judgment be granted, Vandyke’s motion for summary judgment be denied, and the ALJ’s decision be affirmed. Plaintiff has filed objections to the MJRR and Defendant has filed a response.

         For the reasons that follow, the Court overrules Vandyke’s objections, and adopts the MJRR, denies Vandyke’s motion for summary judgment, grants the Commissioner’s motion for summary judgment, and affirms the ALJ’s decision denying benefits.

         II. BACKGROUND

         A. Procedural History

         After Vandyke’s application for Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) was denied, she timely requested an administrative hearing. After the hearing, the ALJ issued a written decision finding that Vandyke is not disabled under the Act because she could return to her past relevant work as of December 31, 2014, the date she was last insured for disability benefits. The Appeals Council denied review. Vandyke then commenced this action for district court review. Subsequently, Vandyke filed timely objections to the MJ’s recommendation (ECF No. 20), which are now before the court.

         B. ALJ Findings and Medical Evidence

         The MJRR summarized the ALJ’s decision denying benefits:

Vandyke was 38 years old at the time of her alleged onset date of February 21, 2014, and at 5’5” tall weighed approximately 175 pounds during the relevant time period. She completed high school and some college. She last worked at ACI Plastics as a customer liaison. She was laid off from that job in May 2009. (Prior to working at ACI, she worked as a buyer at MacArthur, and before that she was a lab manager at Water Testing Service.) She now alleges disability primarily as a result of Meniere’s Disease with vertigo, atypical migraines, and a pineal brain cyst.
Importantly, Vandyke’s date last insured, for purposes of establishing her right to [disability insurance benefits], was December 31, 2014. Following the five-step sequential analysis, the ALJ found that from her alleged onset date of February 21, 2014, through her date last insured of December 31, 2014, Vandyke was not disabled under the Act.
. At Step One, the ALJ found that Vandyke had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since February 21, 2014 (the alleged onset date).
. At Step Two, the ALJ found that she had the severe impairments of migraine headaches, episodic vertigo and probable Meniere’s disease.
. Step Three, the ALJ found that Vandyke’s impairments, whether considered alone or in combination, did not meet or medically equal a listed impairment.
. The ALJ then assessed Vandyke’s residual functional capacity (“RFC”), concluding that she was capable of performing light work, with the following additional limitations: can occasionally climb ramps and stairs, but can never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds; can occasionally balance, stoop, crouch, and kneel; can never crawl; must avoid workplace hazards such as unprotected heights or hazardous machinery; and requires that the noise level not exceed loud levels as defined in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (“DOT”).
. At Step Four, the ALJ found that Vandyke was capable of performing her past relevant work as a lab tester and customer service coordinator. As a result, the ALJ concluded that Vandyke was not disabled under the Act.

(ECF No. 19, PageID.565- 567). On appeal, the MJ reviewed the ALJ’s decision and found that it was supported by substantial evidence.

         C. Vandyke‚Äôs ...


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