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Barnes v. Colvin

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

January 8, 2015

ANTHONY BARNES, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

JOE J. VOLPE, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff, Anthony Barnes, 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 benefits under Title XVI of the Act. For reasons set out below, the decision of the Commissioner is AFFIRMED.

I. BACKGROUND

On December 8, 2011, Mr. Barnes protectively filed for benefits due to leg problems from artery blockage, splintered right wrist, broken ankle, broken arm, broken ribs, broken sternum, plastic tube in stomach, and cyst on kidney. (Tr. 178) His claims were denied initially and upon reconsideration. At Mr. Barnes's request, an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") held a hearing on June 26, 2013, where Mr. Barnes appeared with his lawyer. At the hearing, the ALJ heard testimony from Mr. Barnes and a vocational expert ("VE"). (Tr. 22-44)

The ALJ issued a decision on July 25, 2013, finding that Mr. Barnes was not disabled under the Act. (Tr. 9-17) The Appeals Council denied Mr. Barnes's request for review, making the ALJ's decision the Commissioner's final decision. (Tr. 1-3)

Mr. Barnes, who was fifty-two years old at the time of the hearing, has a tenth grade education and past relevant work experience as a spot welder. (Tr. 26, 41)

II. DECISION OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE[1]

The ALJ found that Mr. Barnes had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since July 1, 2003, and he had the following severe impairments: history of polytrauma (remote), peripheral artery disease, and history of remote arterial injury. (Tr. 11-12) However, the ALJ found that Mr. Barnes 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. 12) According to the ALJ, Mr. Barnes has the residual functional capacity ("RFC") to do light work, except he is limited to no more than frequent climbing. (Tr. 12) The VE testified that the jobs available with these limitations were small products assembler and egg washer. (Tr. 42) Accordingly, the ALJ determined that Mr. Barnes could perform a significant number of other jobs existing in the national economy, and found 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 because some evidence may support the opposite conclusion."[5]

B. Mr. Barnes's Arguments for Reversal

Mr. Barnes asserts that the Commissioner's decision should be reversed because it is not supported by substantial evidence. To support his position that the ALJ erred, Mr. Barnes relies on Dr. Waddy's September 2010 assessment, Dr. Liggett's findings from 2009, and a March 2011 bone scan. (Doc. No. 11) While this evidence may support Mr. Barnes's position, the question ...


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