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Porterfield v. Colvin

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Texarkana Division

April 27, 2015

DAVID LYNN PORTERFIELD, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN Commissioner, Social Security Administration, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

BARRY A. BRYANT, Magistrate Judge.

David Lynn Porterfield ("Plaintiff") brings this action pursuant to § 205(g) of Title II of the Social Security Act ("The Act"), 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) (2010), seeking judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration ("SSA") denying his applications for Supplemental Security Income ("SSI"), Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB"), and period of disability under Titles II and XVI of the Act.

The Parties have consented to the jurisdiction of a magistrate judge to conduct any and all proceedings in this case, including conducting the trial, ordering the entry of a final judgment, and conducting all post-judgment proceedings. ECF No. 7.[1] Pursuant to this authority, the Court issues this memorandum opinion and orders the entry of a final judgment in this matter.

1. Background:

Plaintiff protectively filed his disability applications on December 29, 2011. (Tr. 56, 168-181). In his applications, Plaintiff alleges being disabled due to back problems and right hip problems. (Tr. 192). Plaintiff alleges an onset date of November 2, 2010. (Tr. 56, 168, 175). These applications were denied initially and again upon reconsideration. (Tr. 99-102).

Thereafter, on February 14, 2013, the ALJ held an administrative hearing on Plaintiff's applications. (Tr. 72-98). This hearing was held in Texarkana, Arkansas. Id. At this hearing, Plaintiff was present and was represented by Greg Giles. Id. Plaintiff and Vocational Expert ("VE") Ms. Parker[2] testified at this hearing. Id. During this hearing, Plaintiff testified he was forty-nine (49) years old, which is defined as a "younger person" under 20 C.F.R. § 416.963(c) (2008) (SSI) and 20 C.F.R. § 404.1563(c) (2008) (DIB). (Tr. 74). Plaintiff also testified he had completed the twelfth grade in school. Id.

On March 18, 2013, after the administrative hearing, the ALJ entered a fully unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's applications. (Tr. 53-66). The ALJ found Plaintiff met the insured status requirements of the Act through December 31, 2015. (Tr. 57, Finding 1). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had not engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity ("SGA") since November 2, 2010, his alleged onset date. (Tr. 57, Finding 2). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had the following severe impairments and "other conditions": lumbar degenerative disc disease, lumbosacral strain, osteoarthritis, lumbar radicular syndrome, and lower back pain. (Tr. 57, Finding 3). The ALJ also determined Plaintiff's impairments did not meet or medically equal the requirements of any of the Listings of Impairments in Appendix 1 to Subpart P of Regulations No. 4 ("Listings"). (Tr. 59, Finding 4).

In this decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective complaints and determined his RFC. (Tr. 59-65, Finding 5). First, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective complaints and found his claimed limitations were not entirely credible. Id. Second, the ALJ determined Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform the following:

After careful consideration of the entire record, I adopt the DDS consultant's finding that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform a range of medium work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(c) and 416.967(c) with only occasional stooping and crouching.

Id.

The ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work ("PRW") and found Plaintiff was unable to perform any of his PRW. (Tr. 65, Finding 6). The ALJ then evaluated whether Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform other work existing in significant numbers in the national economy. (Tr. 65-66, Finding 9). The ALJ applied the Medical-Vocational Guidelines ("Grids") in making this decision. Id. In accordance with Rule 203.30 of the Grids, the ALJ determined Plaintiff was not disabled and had not been under a disability, as defined in the Act, from November 2, 2010 through the date of his decision or through March 18, 2013. (Tr. 66, Finding 10).

Thereafter, Plaintiff requested the review of the Appeals Council. (Tr. 51). On May 16, 2014, the Appeals Council denied this request for review. (Tr. 1-3). On February 27, 2014, Plaintiff filed his Complaint in this matter. ECF No. 1. The Parties consented to the jurisdiction of this Court on June 9, 2014. ECF No. 7. Both Parties have filed appeal briefs. ECF Nos. 10-11. This case is now ready for decision.

2. Applicable Law:

In reviewing this case, this Court is required to determine whether the Commissioner's findings are supported by substantial evidence on the record as a whole. See 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) (2010); Ramirez v. Barnhart, 292 F.3d 576, 583 (8th Cir. 2002). Substantial evidence is less than a preponderance of the evidence, but it is enough that a reasonable mind would find it adequate to support the Commissioner's decision. See Johnson v. Apfel, 240 F.3d 1145, 1147 (8th Cir. 2001). As long as there is substantial evidence in the record that supports the Commissioner's decision, the Court may not reverse it simply because substantial evidence exists in the record that would have supported a contrary outcome or because the Court would have decided the case differently. See Haley v. Massanari, 258 F.3d 742, 747 (8th Cir. 2001). If, after reviewing the record, it is ...


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