United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
DEBORAH L. PURK, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Comm'r of Social Security, Defendant.
AARON POLSTER JUDGE
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
A. Ruiz United States Magistrate Judge
Deborah L. Purk (hereinafter “Plaintiff”),
challenges the final decision of Defendant Nancy A.
Berryhill, Acting Commissioner of Social Security
(hereinafter “Commissioner”), denying her
applications for a Period of Disability (“POD”),
Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”), and
Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) under Titles
II and XVI of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §§
416(i), 423, 1381 et seq. (“Act”). This
court has jurisdiction pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
This case is before the undersigned United States Magistrate
Judge pursuant to an automatic referral under Local Rule
72.2(b) for a Report and Recommendation. For the reasons set
forth below, the Magistrate Judge recommends that the
Commissioner's final decision be AFFIRMED.
September 14, 2012, Plaintiff filed her applications for POD,
DIB, and SSI, alleging a disability onset date of May 26,
2012. (Transcript (“Tr.”) 164-176). The
applications were denied initially and upon reconsideration,
and Plaintiff requested a hearing before an Administrative
Law Judge (“ALJ”). (Tr. 90-115). Plaintiff
participated in the hearing on August 13, 2014, was
represented by counsel, and testified. (Tr. 26-47). A
vocational expert (“VE”) also participated and
testified. Id. On November 26, 2014, the ALJ found
Plaintiff not disabled. (Tr. 21.) On April 13, 2016, the
Appeals Council declined to review the ALJ's decision,
and the ALJ's decision became the Commissioner's
final decision. (Tr. 1-4). On June 13, 2016, Plaintiff filed
a complaint challenging the Commissioner's final
decision. (R. 1). The parties have completed briefing in this
case. (R. 12 & 13).
asserts one assignment of error: (1) the ALJ erred at Step
Five of the sequential evaluation by relying on the
vocational expert's testimony that she acquired
transferable skills. (R. 12, PageID# 418-423).
Personal and Vocational Evidence
was born in May of 1956 and was 55-years-old on the alleged
disability onset date. (Tr. 164). She had at least a high
school education and was able to communicate in English. (Tr.
20). She had past relevant work as a home health aide,
shipping clerk, and machine operator. Id.
. Relevant Hearing Testimony
Work History Report she completed in association with her
disability applications, Plaintiff identified five past jobs
that she held between 1996 and 2012: (1) “home health
care worker;” (2) “shipping &
receiving;” (3) “machine operator;” (4)
“food server - baker;” and (5)
“cashier.” (Tr. 227). With respect to the
“shipping & receiving” job which forms the
basis of Plaintiff's sole assignment of error, she
described her duties as follows:
Clean and prepare jobs for process-clean parts with degrease
and tape off specific areas. Some jobs were only 2 inch[es]
long while others were 25 ft or more. Some jobs were 1 piece
while other jobs were over 50 pieces. After process I had to
remove tape and residue from part and clean and pack for
(Tr. 227, 229, 234). According to Plaintiff, the shipping and
receiving clerk position involved 6 to 8 hours of walking, 8
to 10 hours of standing, and 0 hours of sitting. (Tr. 229).
All postural movements were described as frequent to
constant. Id. The work involved using machines,
tools or equipment; required technical knowledge and skills;
and involved writing and/or completing reports. Id.
She indicated that she spent 8 to 10 hours per day writing,
typing, or handling small objects. Id.
August 13, 2014 hearing, Plaintiff testified as follows:
• She received a GED and did not attend college. (Tr.
• Between 1996 and 2004, she worked as a machine
operator. Specifically, she did the drilling and grinding of
slip yokes, which are automotive parts. The work involved
being on her feet all day and lifting up to 40 pounds. (Tr.
• Between 2004 and 2009, she worked in shipping and
receiving for a metal fabricator. Her job duties included
cleaning parts brought into the plant and “mov[ing]
them down the line.” When parts were ready to be
shipped, she cleaned them, packed them, and got them ready
for shipment. (Tr. 32). The job involved mostly standing with
occasional kneeling, and would lift no more than 40
pounds-she used a crane for any items that were heavier than
40 pounds. (Tr. 32-33).
outset of the VE's testimony, the ALJ asked: “Do
you understand that if you give us an opinion that conflicts
with information in the DOT [Dictionary of Occupational
Titles] that you need to advise us of the conflict and the
basis for your opinion?” (Tr. 41) The VE responded that
she understood. Id. The VE identified
Plaintiff's past relevant work as follows: a home health
aide, DICOT 355.674-014, semiskilled, SVP: 4, medium exertion
per the DOT and medium to heavy as typically performed; a
shipping and receiving clerk, DICOT 222.387-050, skilled,
SVP: 5, medium exertion per the DOT and as performed; and, a
machine operator, DICOT 606.685-010, semiskilled, SVP: 3,
medium exertion per the DOT and as performed. (Tr. 41-42).
posed the following hypothetical question to the VE:
[A]ssume an individual the Claimant's age, education and
work experience with the following limitations: Occasionally
lift and carry 20 pounds, frequently lift and carry 10
pounds; stand or walk six hours and sit six hours in an
eight-hour workday with normal breaks; push or pull
consistent with the lifting limitations; occasionally climb
ladders or scaffolds; occasionally climb ramps or stairs;
frequently stoop or balance; occasionally kneel, crouch or
crawl. Would that individual be able to perform any of the
Claimant's past work?
testified that such an individual could not perform any of
Plaintiff's past relevant work. (Tr. 42). Thereafter, the
ALJ inquired as to whether “the Claimant acquired any
skills from her past work that would transfer to occupations
within the limitations that I've given you?” The VE
responded in the affirmative. (Tr. 42). The VE identified the
specific skills as “compiling and organizing.”
(Tr. 42-43). The VE testified that Plaintiff's acquired
skills would allow her to perform the following light
exertional jobs within the parameters set by the
hypothetical: a complaint clerk, DICOT 221.387-014,
semiskilled, SVP: 4, light (300, 000 jobs nationally);
shipping checker, DICOT 222.687-030, semiskilled, SVP: 4,
light (350, 000 jobs nationally); quality control clerk,
DICOT 229.587-014, semiskilled, SVP: 3, light (400, 000 jobs
nationally). (Tr. ...