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Bearden v. Colvin

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

May 19, 2015

BELINDA BEARDEN, Plaintiff.
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN Commissioner, Social Security Administration, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

BARRY A. BRYANT, Magistrate Judge.

Belinda Bearden ("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 her application for Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB") and a period of disability under Title II 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:

On December 27, 2011, Plaintiff filed her disability application. (Tr. 17). In her application, Plaintiff alleges being disabled due to problems with her "entire left side, neck, back, head, and shoulder, " depression and emotional problems, a hip impairment, a let foot problem, internal hemorrhoids (bleeding), dizziness, problems with her left wrist and hand, facial numbness, and migraine headaches. (Tr. 133). Plaintiff alleges an onset date of June 24, 2008. (Tr. 17). Plaintiff's DIB application was denied initially and again upon reconsideration. (Tr. 58-59).

Thereafter, Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing on her application. (Tr. 66-67). This hearing request was granted, and an administrative hearing was held on January 10, 2013 in Texarkana, Arkansas. (Tr. 35-57). Plaintiff was present at this hearing and was represented by counsel, Greg Giles. Id. Plaintiff and Vocational Expert ("VE") Russell B. Bowen testified at this hearing. Id. On the date of this hearing, Plaintiff testified she was forty (40) years old, which is defined as a "younger person" under 20 C.F.R. § 404.1563(c) (2008). (Tr. 40). As for her education, Plaintiff testified she completed high school but has had no additional education. (Tr. 41-42).

Subsequent to this hearing, on February 7, 2013, the ALJ entered an unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's DIB application. (Tr. 14-29). In this decision, the ALJ found Plaintiff met the insured status requirements of the Act through December 31, 2013. (Tr. 19, Finding 1). The ALJ found Plaintiff had not engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity ("SGA") since June 24, 2008, her alleged onset date. (Tr. 19, Finding 2). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had the following severe impairments: obesity, lumbar disc disease, left rotator cuff tendinitis, and residuals of a remote left carpal tunnel release. (Tr. 19-21, Finding 3). The ALJ also determined, however, that 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. 21-22, Finding 4).

In this decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective complaints and determined her RFC. (Tr. 22-27, Finding 5). First, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective complaints and found her 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, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b). She can perform no overhead reaching with the non-dominant (helper) left upper extremity. She can perform frequent handling/fingering with the non-dominant (helper) left upper extremity.

Id.

The ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work ("PRW") and found Plaintiff was unable to perform any of her PRW. (Tr. 27, Finding 6). The ALJ then determined whether Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform other work existing in significant numbers in the national economy. (Tr. 28-29, Finding 10). The VE testified at the administrative hearing regarding this issue. Id.

Based upon that testimony, the ALJ determined Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform the following occupations: (1) laundry inspector (light, unskilled) with 28, 000 such jobs in the nation and 2, 800 such jobs in the region; (2) belt inspector (light, unskilled) with 42, 000 such jobs in the nation and 4, 200 such jobs in the region; and (3) cloth inspector (light, unskilled) with 21, 000 such jobs in the nation and 2, 100 such jobs in the region. Id. Because Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform this other work, the ALJ determined she had not been under a disability, as defined by the Act, from June 24, 2008 through the date of his decision or through February 7, 2013. (Tr. 29, Finding 11).

Thereafter, Plaintiff requested the review of the Appeals Council. (Tr. 13). On June 25, 2014, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review. (Tr. 1-4). Thereafter, on July 30, 2014, Plaintiff filed her Complaint in this matter. ECF No. 1. The Parties consented to the jurisdiction of this Court on July 31, 2014. ECF No. 7. ...


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