United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Olson and Karl Osterhout, for Plaintiff.
Bildtsen, Assistant United States Attorney, for Defendant.
FRANKLIN L. NOEL UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Dianna Bass seeks judicial review of the final decision of
the Acting Commissioner (“Commissioner”) of the
Social Security Administration (“SSA”), who
denied her application for disability insurance benefits
(“DIB”) and supplemental security income
(“SSI”) under Title II and Title XIV of the
Social Security Act. This Court has jurisdiction over
Plaintiff's claim pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§
405(g) and 1383(c)(3), 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), and Rule 73
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The parties have
submitted cross motions for summary judgement. See
ECF Nos. 12 and 15. For the reasons set forth below, the
Commissioner's decision is AFFIRMED and
the case is DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
October 28, 2000, Bass fell from a ladder while cleaning
gutters. Administrative Record [hereinafter “AR”]
851, ECF No. 11. This case stems from the multiple head
injuries Bass sustained attendant to that accident, and her
subsequent challenges in securing and maintaining competitive
employment in light of those injuries. See generally
ECF No. 1.
November 22, 2013, Bass applied for DIB and SSI. AR 10. Bass
alleges that her disability began on January 1, 2010.
Id. Bass was fifty-two years-old when she applied
for DIB and SSI. AR 24. Bass' applications for DIB and
SSI were denied initially on March 17, 2014, and on
reconsideration on October 29, 2014. Id.; AR 77-90;
November 13, 2015, an administrative hearing was held before
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Peter Kimball.
AR 32-76. At the hearing, Bass testified and was represented
by a claimant advocate, Bart Painter. AR 34. Steve Bosch, a
vocational expert (“VE”), and Dr. Mary Stevens, a
neutral medical expert, also testified at the hearing.
Id. On December 11, 2015, the ALJ denied Bass'
applications for DIB and SSI, and found that Bass was not
disabled. AR 10- 26.
October 19, 2016, the SSA Appeals Council denied Bass'
request for review, rendering the ALJ's decision final
for purposes of judicial review. AR 1-3; see 20
C.F.R. § 404.981. On December 15, 2016, Bass commenced
this civil action, seeking an award of benefits, or
alternatively, reversal and remand for further proceedings.
ECF No. 1 at 2.
The ALJ's Decision
determining that Bass was not disabled, the ALJ followed the
five-step sequential process established by the SSA.
See 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(a)(4).
first step in the sequential evaluation is to evaluate the
claimant's work history to determine if they are engaged
in substantial gainful activity. See 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.15071 and 416.971. If the claimant has
performed substantial work activity then they are not
disabled. Id. At step one, the ALJ found that
although Bass had worked part-time, she had not engaged in
substantial work activity since her alleged disability onset
date. AR 15.
second step in the sequential evaluation is to determine
whether the claimant has a severe, medically-determinable
impairment, or combination of impairments, that significantly
limits an individual's ability to perform basic work
activities. See 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(c)
and 416.920(c). At step two, the ALJ found that Bass had the
following severe impairments: history of a traumatic brain
injury secondary ...