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Bagwell v. Social Security Administration

United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Jonesboro Division

May 30, 2002

DWAIN BAGWELL PLAINTIFF
v.
SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION DEFENDANT

          ORDER

         I. Introduction:

         On December 16, 2014, Dwain Bagwell applied for supplemental security income benefits, alleging disability beginning on February 13, 1996.[1](Tr. at 22) Mr. Bagwell's claims were denied initially and upon reconsideration. Id. After conducting a hearing, the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") denied Mr. Bagwell's application. (Tr. at 35) Mr. Bagwell requested that the Appeals Council review the ALJ's decision, but that request was denied. (Tr. at 1) Therefore, the ALJ's decision now stands as the final decision of the Commissioner. Mr. Bagwell filed this case seeking judicial review of the decision denying him benefits.

         For reasons stated below, the Court[2] affirms the decision of the Commissioner.

         II. The Commissioner's Decision:

         The ALJ found that Mr. Bagwell had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since the application date of December 16, 2014. (Tr. at 24) At step two of the five-step analysis, the ALJ found that Mr. Bagwell had the following severe impairments: arthropathies, obesity, and depressive disorder. Id.

         After finding that Mr. Bagwell's impairments did not meet or equal a listed impairment (Tr. at 25), the ALJ determined that Mr. Bagwell had the residual functional capacity ("RFC") to perform the full range of work at the light exertional level, with some limitations. He could do no frequent bending, crouching, climbing, or crawling. (Tr. at 27) He would be limited to unskilled work, or work where interpersonal contact is incidental to the work performed. Id. He would be limited to work where the complexity of tasks is learned and performed by rote, involves few variables, and requires little independent judgment. Id. The supervisionrequiredmustbe simple, direct, and concrete. Id. Mr. Bagwell could not perform a job where he deals with the general public. Id.

         The ALJ found that Mr. Bagwell had no past relevant work. (Tr. at 34) At step five, the ALJ relied on the testimony of a Vocational Expert ("VE") to find, based on Mr. Bagwell's age, education, work experience and RFC, that he was capable of performing work in the national economy as small products assembler and inspector/hand packer. (Tr. at 35) The ALJ determined, therefore, that Mr. Bagwell was not disabled. Id.

         III. Discussion:

         A. Standard of Review

         The Court's role is to determine whether the Commissioner's findings are supported by substantial evidence and free of legal error. Prosch v. Apfel, 201 F.3d 1010, 1012 (8th Cir. 2000). "Substantial evidence" in this context means "enough that a reasonable mind would find it adequate to support he ALJ's decision." Slusser v. Astrue, 557 F.3d 923, 925 (8th Cir. 2OO9)(citation omitted). In making this determination, the Court must consider not only evidence that supports the Commissioner's decision, but also evidence that supports a contrary outcome. The Court cannot reverse the decision, however, "merely because substantial evidence exists for the opposite decision." Long v. Chater, 108 F.3d 185, 187 (8th Cir. 1997) (citation omitted).

         B. Mr. Bagwell's Arguments on Appeal

         In this appeal, Mr. Bagwell contends that the ALJ's decision to deny benefits is not supported by substantial evidence because he met Listing 12.05 for intellectual disability. He also argues that the RFC assigned by the ALJ identifies work that is beyond his functional capacity.

         The medical evidence Mr. Bagwell submitted consists of only 56 pages, and some of those records are from times well before the relevant time-period. A mental evaluation from high school stated that his social history did not indicate medical or developmental problems that would relate to learning difficulty. (Tr. at 69) Mr. Bagwell achieved a Wechsler full-scale intelligence score of 68, with a verbal score of 64. (Tr. at 71) The examiner found that Mr. Bagwell was operating in the mild range of mental retardation. (Tr. at 72)

         Another test administered in high school revealed a full scale IQ of 67 with a verbal IQ of 66 and a performance IQ of 74. (Tr. at 67) That examiner found that Mr. Bagwell could communicate effectively and did not have limitations in speech or language, but operated in the range for ...


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