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Davidson v. Colvin

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

April 21, 2016

GEORGE E. DAVIDSON PLAINTIFF
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN Commissioner, Social Security Administration DEFENDANT

MEMORANDUM OPINION

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

George E. Davidson (“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 a 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. 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 September 7, 2012. (Tr. 26). In his applications, Plaintiff alleges being disabled due to hip problems, knee problems, and shortness of breath. (Tr. 201). Plaintiff also alleged at the administrative hearing that he was disabled due to a right shoulder impairment. (Tr. 50). Plaintiff alleges an onset date of January 1, 2010. (Tr. 26). Plaintiff’s applications were denied initially and again upon reconsideration. (Tr. 61-102).

Thereafter, Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing on his applications, and this hearing request was granted. (Tr. 41-60). Plaintiff’s administrative hearing was held on April 2, 2014 in Texarkana, Arkansas. Id. At this hearing, Plaintiff was present and was represented by Greg Giles. Id. Plaintiff and Vocational Expert (“VE”) Mr. Hildreem[1] testified at this hearing. Id. At this hearing, Plaintiff testified he was sixty (60) years old. (Tr. 45). This age qualifies as a “person of advanced age” under 20 C.F.R. § 416.963(e) (2008) (SSI) and 20 C.F.R. § 404.1563(e) (2008) (DIB). (Tr. 45). As for his education, Plaintiff testified he had completed high school and had nearly four years of service in the Air Force but had no additional training beyond that service. (Tr. 46).

On April 24, 2014, after the administrative hearing, the ALJ entered an unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff’s disability applications. (Tr. 23-35). In this decision, the ALJ found Plaintiff met the insured status requirements of the Act through December 31, 2012. (Tr. 28, Finding 1). The ALJ found Plaintiff had not engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity (“SGA”) since January 1, 2010 (alleged onset date) through April 24, 2014 (ALJ’s decision date). (Tr. 28, Finding 2). The ALJ found Plaintiff had the following severe impairments: arthritis, right shoulder impingement, hypertension, and obesity. (Tr. 28-30, 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. 30-31, Finding 4).

In this decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff’s subjective complaints and determined his Residual Functional Capacity (“RFC”). (Tr. 31-34, 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:

The claimant has the residual functional capacity to occasionally lift and/or carry (including upward pulling) 50 pounds; frequently lift and/or carry (including upward pulling) 25 pounds; stand and/or walk (with normal breaks) for a total of about 6 hours in an 8-hour workday; sit (with normal breaks) for a total of about 6 hours in an 8-hour workday; and push and/or pull (including operation of hand and/or foot controls) on an unlimited basis, other than as shown for lift and/or carry. The claimant’s ability to perform the full range of medium work as defined in 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1567(c) and 416.967(c) is reduced by inability to climb, balance, stoop, crouch, kneel or crawl on more than an occasional basis. The claimant also can perform no more than occasional overhead reaching with the dominant right arm.

Id.

The ALJ then evaluated Plaintiff’s Past Relevant Work (“PRW”). (Tr. 34-35, Finding 6). The VE testified at the administrative hearing regarding this issue. Id. Based upon that testimony, the ALJ determined Plaintiff retained his ability to perform his PRW as a carpenter. Id. Because Plaintiff retained the capacity this PRW, the ALJ determined Plaintiff had not been under a disability from his alleged onset date of January 1, 2010 until the date of the ALJ’s decision or until April 24, 2014. (Tr. 35, Finding 7).

Thereafter, Plaintiff requested the review of the Appeals Council. (Tr. 22). The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff’s request for review. (Tr. 1-3). On November 3, 2014, Plaintiff filed his Complaint in this matter. ECF No. 1. The Parties consented to the jurisdiction of this Court on November 4, 2014. ECF No. 5. Both Parties have filed appeal briefs. ECF Nos. 12-13. 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 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 ...


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