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Medley v. Colvin

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

June 24, 2015

AMY F. MEDLEY, PLAINTIFF
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN Commissioner, Social Security Administration DEFENDANT

MEMORANDUM OPINION

HON. BARRY A. BRYANT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE

Amy F. Medley (“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 Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) under Title 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. 5.[1] Pursuant to this authority, the Court issues this memorandum opinion and orders the entry of a final judgment in this matter.

1. Background:

The Court previously remanded this action. See Medley v. SSA, 3:11-cv-03121 (W.D. Ark. Feb. 19, 2013). The memorandum opinion in that case contained the procedural history of this action, but the Court will briefly restate the facts here. Plaintiff filed her disability application on January 13, 2010. (Tr. 119-122). In her application, Plaintiff alleges being disabled due to the following:

Depression, Fibromyalgia, back problems, wrist problems Broken wrist had surgery on right can not hold on to objects with right hand that weigh more than a can of soda. Have had serious depression for the last several years periods of time when [I] am unable to get out of bed or take care of my children alone. Have had back problems for years. Doctors discovered heart murmur. The fibromyalgia which causes constant pain. Wrist injury depression fibromyalgia.

(Tr. 147). Plaintiff alleges she is limited in the following ways due to her impairments:

Can not carry or lift objects with the right hand. Can not stay in the same position for over 15 mins at a time. Have trouble remembering and concentrating for extended periods of time.

Id. Plaintiff alleges an onset date of September 4, 2000. (Tr. 9, 119). This application was denied initially and again upon reconsideration. (Tr. 65-66). Thereafter, Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing on her denied application, and this hearing request was granted. (Tr. 20-62)

On March 17, 2011, the ALJ held an administrative hearing on Plaintiff’s application in Fort Smith, Arkansas. (Tr. 20-62). After this hearing, on April 12, 2011, the ALJ entered an unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff’s SSI application. (Tr. 6-19). Plaintiff then appealed that unfavorable decision to the undersigned. See Medley v. SSA, 3:11-cv-03121 (W.D. Ark. Feb. 19, 2013). After reviewing the ALJ’s disability determination, the Court reversed and remanded Plaintiff’s case to afford the ALJ the opportunity to further consider Polaski.

After this case was remanded, the ALJ held a second administrative hearing on September 19, 2013. (Tr. 400-441). During this administrative hearing, Plaintiff was present and was represented by counsel, Frederick S. Spencer. Id. Plaintiff, Vocational Expert (“VE”) Sara Moore, and two witnesses for Plaintiff testified at this hearing. Id. During this hearing, Plaintiff testified she was thirty-nine (39) years old, which is defined as a “younger person” under 20 C.F.R. § 416.963(c) (2008). (Tr. 403). As for her education, Plaintiff testified she had obtained her GED and completed a few college courses. Id.

After this second administrative hearing, on December 13, 2013, the ALJ entered an unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff’s application for SSI. (Tr. 381-394). In this decision, the ALJ determined Plaintiff had not engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity (“SGA”) since January 12, 2010, her application date. (Tr. 386, Finding 1). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had the following severe impairments: fibromyalgia, the residual effects of a broken right wrist, a mood disorder, anxiety, and a personality disorder. (Tr. 386, Finding 2). However, 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. 386-388, Finding 3).

In this decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff’s subjective complaints and determined her RFC. (Tr. 388-393). 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 RFC to perform the following:

After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform sedentary work as defined in 20 CFR 416.967(a) except that she can occasionally climb, balance, crawl, kneel, stoop, and crouch. She can engage in occasional rapid and repetitive flexion and extension of her dominant wrist. Nonexertionally, the claimant can perform simple, routine and repetitive tasks in a setting where ...

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