United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Jonesboro Division
December 16, 2014, Dwain Bagwell applied for supplemental
security income benefits, alleging disability beginning on
February 13, 1996.(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.
reasons stated below, the Court affirms the decision of the
The Commissioner's Decision:
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.
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.
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.
Standard of Review
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)
Bagwell's Arguments on Appeal
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.
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.
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 ...