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Walker v. Colvin

United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Pine Bluff Division

August 19, 2014

HERMAN WALKER, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

JOE J. VOLPE, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff, Herman Walker, appeals the final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (the "Commissioner") denying his claims for disability insurance benefits ("DIB") under Title II of the Social Security Act (the "Act"). For reasons set out below, the decision of the Commissioner is AFFIRMED.

I. BACKGROUND

On January 7, 2010, Mr. Walker protectively filed for DIB benefits due to muscle spasm, swelling, and fluid build up in lower legs; blood clots, blockage, poor circulation, sores, and ulcers in and on both legs; and asthma. (Tr. 144) Mr. Walker's claims were denied initially and upon reconsideration. At Mr. Walker's request, an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") held a hearing on July 13, 2011, where Mr. Walker appeared with his lawyer. (Tr. 34) At the hearing, the ALJ heard testimony from Mr. Walker. (Tr. 35-43)

The ALJ issued a decision on January 24, 2012, finding that Mr. Walker was not disabled under the Act. (Tr. 21-28) The Appeals Council denied Mr. Walker's request for review, making the ALJ's decision the Commissioner's final decision. (Tr. 1-3)

Mr. Walker, who was fifty-five years old at the time of the hearing, has a high school education and a few years of training from a vocational-technical school. (Tr. 41) He has past relevant work experience as a carpenter. (Tr. 174)

II. DECISION OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE[1]

The ALJ found that Mr. Walker had not engaged in substantial gainful activity from February 1, 2006, through his date last insured of December 31, 2006, and that he had the following severe impairments: chronic left leg pain due to venous insufficiency. (Tr. 23) However, the ALJ found that Mr. Walker did not have an impairment or combination of impairments meeting or equaling an impairment listed in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1.[2] (Tr. 23-24)

According to the ALJ, Mr. Walker has the residual functional capacity ("RFC") to do the full range of medium work. (Tr. 24) Based on the entire record, the ALJ determined that Mr. Walker could perform a significant number of other jobs existing in the national economy, and found that Mr. Walker was not disabled.

III. ANALYSIS

A. Standard of Review

In reviewing the Commissioner's decision, this Court must determine whether there is substantial evidence in the record as a whole to support the decision. Boettcher v. Astrue, 652 F.3d 860, 863 (8th Cir. 2011); 42 U.S.C. ยง 405(g). Substantial evidence is "less than a preponderance, but sufficient for reasonable minds to find it adequate to support the decision." Id. (citing Guilliams v. Barnhart, 393 F.3d 798, 801 (8th Cir. 2005)).

In reviewing the record as a whole, the Court must consider both evidence that detracts from the Commissioner's decision and evidence that supports the decision; but, the decision cannot be reversed, "simply because some evidence may support the opposite conclusion." ...


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