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Grinage v. Colvin

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

September 16, 2014

BENJAMIN GRINAGE II, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

JOE J. VOLPE, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff, Benjamin Grinage, 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 December 2, 2009, Mr. Grinage protectively filed for DIB benefits due to left knee replacement, high blood pressure, PTSD, gout, and arthritis. (Tr. 235) Mr. Grinage's claims were denied initially and upon reconsideration. At Mr. Grinage's request, an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") held a hearing on May 15, 2012, where Mr. Grinage appeared with his lawyer. At the hearing, the ALJ heard testimony from Mr. Grinage, his wife, and a vocational expert ("VE"). (Tr. 70-114)

The ALJ issued a decision on June 19, 2012, finding that Mr. Grinage was not disabled under the Act. (Tr. 23-39) The Appeals Council denied Mr. Grinage's request for review, making the ALJ's decision the Commissioner's final decision. (Tr. 1-3)

Mr. Grinage, who was forty-four years old at the time of the hearing, has a high school education and past relevant work experience as a patrolman and traffic sergeant. (Tr. 110)

II. DECISION OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE[1]

The ALJ found that Mr. Grinage had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since July 27, 2009, and he had the following severe impairments: osteoarthritis, hypertension, mood disorder, anxiety disorder (PTSD), and substance disorder in remission. (Tr. 25) However, the ALJ found that Mr. Grinage 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, Mr. Grinage has the residual functional capacity ("RFC") to do less than the full range of light work. He can occasionally climb stairs, balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl, but can never climb ladders or perform work requiring more than one month of training. He must avoid hazards and unprotected heights and would need to sit/stand at will. He is limited to simple instructions, simple work related decisions, work where the complexity of the tasks is performed by rote, with few variables and little judgment, and few, if any, work place changes. Supervision must be simple, direct, and concrete. (Tr. 28) The VE testified that the jobs available with these limitations were small products assembler and electrical assembler. (Tr. 111) Accordingly, the ALJ determined that Mr. Grinage could perform a significant number of other jobs existing in the national economy, and found that he 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.[3] Substantial evidence is "less than a preponderance, but sufficient for reasonable minds to find it adequate to support the decision."[4]

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 ...


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