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Moore v. Colvin

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

October 17, 2014

Ronnie Moore, Jr., Plaintiff - Appellant
v.
Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration, Defendant - Appellee

Submitted September 10, 2014

Appeal from United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas - Jonesboro.

For Ronnie Moore, Jr., Plaintiff - Appellant: Anthony W. Bartels, Attorney, Jonesboro, AR; Eugene Gregory Wallace, Campbell University School of Law, Raleigh, NC.

For Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration, Defendant - Appellee: Mark Jarrett Kingsolver, Assistant Regional Counsel, Keith D. Simonson, Assistant Regional Counsel, Social Security Administration, Office of General Counsel Region VI, Dallas, TX; Stacey E. McCord, Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Arkansas, Little Rock, AR.

Before RILEY, Chief Judge, SMITH and KELLY, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 988

KELLY, Circuit Judge.

Ronnie Moore Jr. applied for supplemental security income under Title XVI of the Social Security Act. An administrative law judge (ALJ) found Moore was not disabled because he could perform jobs a vocational expert (VE) identified in response to a hypothetical posed by the ALJ. The Social Security Appeals Council denied his request for review, and the district court affirmed. On appeal, Moore argues that the ALJ failed to resolve an apparent conflict between the physical limitations described by the ALJ in his hypothetical and the requirements of the jobs the VE identified, as listed in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT). We agree, and we remand the case for further proceedings.

I. Background

At a hearing on Moore's application, the ALJ analyzed Moore's disability following the five-step sequential evaluation process outlined in 20 C.F.R. § 416.920(a)(4).[1] He found that Moore had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since August 5, 2010, his application date; and that he suffered from several severe impairments: degenerative disc disease, morbid obesity, and anxiety.

After finding in step three that Moore's impairments did not meet the criteria for presumptive disability, the ALJ assessed his residual functional capacity (RFC). According to the ALJ's RFC determination, Moore could perform no work requiring balancing or climbing of ropes, ladders, or scaffolds; no work requiring rapid flexion or extension of the wrist for more than half the work day; no work requiring crouching or crawling; no work requiring exposure to hazards such as unprotected

Page 989

heights, moving machinery, or open flames; he could only occasionally perform overhead reaching bilaterally ; and he would be limited to work where interpersonal contact was superficial and incidental to the work performed. Based on this RFC, the ALJ determined in step four that Moore was unable to perform any past relevant work.

The ALJ then presented a description of Moore's RFC in a hypothetical to the VE at the hearing and asked if there were any jobs in the national economy that could be performed by an individual with these limitations. The VE recommended jobs performing " janitorial work," citing DOT # 323.687-014, and working " as a cafeteria attendant clearing tables," citing DOT # 311.677-010. The ALJ asked the VE if her testimony was consistent with the DOT and she responded, " Yes, it is." Relying on the testimony of the VE, the ALJ determined in step ...


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