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Rhodes v. Colvin

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

March 31, 2016

BOBBY RHODES, PLAINTIFF
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN Commissioner, Social Security Administration, DEFENDANT

MEMORANDUM OPINION

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

Bobby Rhodes (“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 a period of disability, Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”), and Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) 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. 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:

Plaintiff protectively filed his disability applications on December 11, 2012. (Tr. 26, 214-223). In his applications, Plaintiff alleges being disabled due to severe high blood pressure, diabetes, neuropathy, asthma, deafness (in right ear), and problems with his right shoulder. (Tr. 239). Plaintiff alleges an onset date of September 6, 2012. (Tr. 26). These applications were denied initially and again upon reconsideration. (Tr. 84-123).

Thereafter, Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing on his denied applications, and this hearing request was granted. (Tr. 152-153). Plaintiff’s administrative hearing was held on June 11, 2014 in Texarkana, Arkansas. (Tr. 48-83). Plaintiff was present and was represented by Greg Giles. Id. Plaintiff and Vocational Expert (“VE”) Dr. Anderson[1] testified at this hearing. Id. At the time of the hearing, Plaintiff testified he was thirty-nine (39) 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. 56). As for his education, Plaintiff also testified he graduated from high school, attended some college, but did not complete college. (Tr. 56).

After this hearing, on March 27, 2015, the ALJ entered an unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff’s applications for DIB and SSI. (Tr. 26-42). In this decision, the ALJ found Plaintiff met the insured status requirements of the Act through December 31, 2016. (Tr. 29, Finding 1). The ALJ found Plaintiff had not engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity (“SGA”) since September 6, 2012, his alleged onset date. (Tr. 29, Finding 2). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had the following severe impairments: essential hypertension, diabetes mellitus, asthma, disorder of muscle (ligaments and fascia), hearing loss, and obesity. (Tr. 29-30, Finding 3). Despite being severe, the ALJ determined these 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. 30-32, Finding 4).

The ALJ then considered Plaintiff’s Residual Functional Capacity (“RFC”). (Tr. 32-39, Finding 5). First, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff’s subjective complaints and determined his claimed limitations were not entirely credible. Id. Second, the ALJ determined Plaintiff retained the RFC to perform the following:

I find the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work (lift and/or carry 10 pounds frequently, and 20 pounds occasionally). He can sit, stand, and walk for about 6 hours in an eight-hour day. He is not limited in pushing or pulling with his upper or lower extremities. He is limited in reaching overhead to no more than occasionally with his right upper extremity. He has limited hearing, and cannot have a job where acute hearing is required. He should not be exposed to environmental hazards, such as fumes, dusts, odors, poor ventilation, gases, or other respiratory irritants.

Id.

The ALJ then evaluated Plaintiff’s Past Relevant Work (“PRW”). (Tr. 39-42, Finding 6). The VE testified at the administrative hearing regarding this issue. (Tr. 41-42, 77-83). Based upon that testimony and considering Plaintiff’s RFC, the ALJ determined Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform his PRW as a security guard, deli slicer, and manager trainee. (Tr. 39-42, Finding 6). Because Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform his PRW, the ALJ determined Plaintiff had not been under a disability, as defined by the Act, from March 27, 2015 through the date of his decision or through March 27, 2015. (Tr. 42, Finding 7).

Thereafter, on May 12, 2015, Plaintiff requested a review by the Appeals Council. (Tr. 19). The Appeals Council denied this request on July 31, 2015. (Tr. 1-4). On July 29, 2015, Plaintiff filed the present appeal with this Court. ECF No. 1. The Parties consented to the jurisdiction of this Court on July 30, 2015. ECF No. 5. 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) (2006); 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 ...


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