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Jackson v. Colvin

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

August 26, 2014

ORNETHA JACKSON, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

JOE J. VOLPE, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff, Ornetha Jackson, appeals the final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration ("Commissioner") denying her 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 July 19, 2011, Ms. Jackson protectively filed for DIB benefits due to uncontrollable high blood pressure, black-out spells, short term memory loss, fainting, poor vision, carpal tunnel syndrome, and depression. (Tr. 186) Ms. Jackson's claims were denied initially and upon reconsideration. At Ms. Jackson's request, an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") held a hearing on August 27, 2012, where Ms. Jackson appeared with her lawyer. (Tr. 59) At the hearing, the ALJ heard testimony from Ms. Jackson and a vocational expert ("VE"). (Tr. 60-93)

The ALJ issued a decision on October 11, 2012, finding that Ms. Jackson was not disabled under the Act. (Tr. 8-16) The Appeals Council denied Ms. Jackson's request for review, making the ALJ's decision the Commissioner's final decision. (Tr. 1-3)

Ms. Jackson, who was forty-seven years old at the time of the hearing, has her GED. (Tr. 26, 69) She has past relevant work as a data entry clerk, air condition assembler, and house parent. (Tr. 89)

II. DECISION OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE[1]

The ALJ found that Ms. Jackson had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since March 24, 2010, and she had the following severe impairments: hypertension, adjustment disorder, borderline intellectual functioning, carpal tunnel syndrome status post carpal tunnel release. (Tr. 11) However, the ALJ found that Ms. Jackson 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] ( Id. )

According to the ALJ, Ms. Jackson has the residual functional capacity ("RFC") to perform sedentary work, and she can occasionally balance, stoop, crouch, kneel, crawl, and climb ramps or stairs (but never climb ropes, ladders, or scaffolds). She can frequently handle, finger, and feel bilaterally. However, she must avoid extreme temperatures, humidity, gases, fumes, other environmental irritants, avoid unprotected heights and dangerous machinery, and cannot drive an automobile as a job duty. Ms. Jackson is limited to simple, routine, and repetitive work with occasional contact with supervisors, co-workers, and the general public. (Tr. 12) The VE testified that the jobs available with these limitations were document preparer and addressor. (Tr. 90-91)

After considering the VE's testimony, the ALJ determined that Ms. Jackson could perform a significant number of jobs existing in the national economy, and found that Ms. Jackson 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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