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Robinson v. Colvin

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

December 18, 2014

EZELL ROBINSON, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

JOE J. VOLPE, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff, Ezell Robinson, appeals the final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration denying his claims for disability insurance benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act and for supplemental security income ("SSI") benefits under Title XVI of the Act. On December 16, 2014, the Court held oral argument at Plaintiff's request. E. Gregory Wallace, Esq., appeared by telephone for Mr. Robinson. Special Assistant United States Attorney Mark J. Kingsolver appeared by telephone for the Commissioner. The attorneys are commended for their diligence in this matter. For reasons set out below, the decision of the Commissioner is AFFIRMED.

I. BACKGROUND

On November 10, 2011, Mr. Robinson protectively filed for benefits due to diabetes, kidney problems, prostate problems, and high blood pressure. (Tr. 204) His claims were denied initially and upon reconsideration. At Mr. Robinson's request, an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") held a hearing on January 14, 2013, where Mr. Robinson appeared with his lawyer. At the hearing, the ALJ heard testimony from Mr. Robinson and a vocational expert ("VE"). (Tr. 26-63)

The ALJ issued a decision on February 14, 2013, finding that Mr. Robinson was not disabled under the Act. (Tr. 11-21) The Appeals Council denied Mr. Robinson's request for review, making the ALJ's decision the Commissioner's final decision. (Tr. 1-4)

Mr. Robinson, who was fifty-nine years old at the time of the hearing, has a partial high school education and past relevant work experience as a component assembler, gas station auto detailer, and lubrication servicer. (Tr. 20, 32, 34, 58-59, 408)

II. DECISION OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE[1]

The ALJ found that Mr. Robinson had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since August 18, 2010, and he had the following severe impairment: diabetes mellitus with neuropathy. (Tr. 14) However, the ALJ found that Mr. Robinson 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. 17)

According to the ALJ, Mr. Robinson has the residual functional capacity ("RFC") to do medium work, except that he would need to sit for ten minutes after every hour of standing and/or walking. (Tr. 17) The VE testified that a job available with this limitation was a machine feeder. (Tr. 60) Accordingly, the ALJ determined that Mr. Robinson 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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