United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Texarkana Division
CHARLES D. BRAY, Plaintiff,
CAROLYN W. COLVIN Commissioner, Social Security Administration, Defendant.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE UNITED STATES
A. BRYANT, Magistrate Judge.
Bray ("Plaintiff") brings this action pursuant to Â§
205(g) of Title II of the Social Security Act ("The
Act"), 42 U.S.C. Â§ 405(g) (2010), seeking judicial
review of a final decision of the Commissioner of the Social
Security Administration ("SSA") denying his
applications for Disability Income Benefits
("DIB"), Supplemental Security Income
("SSI") and a period of disability under Titles II
and XVI of the Act.
to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. Â§ 636(b)(1) and (3) (2009),
the Honorable Susan O. Hickey referred this case to this
Court for the purpose of making a report and recommendation.
In accordance with that referral, and after reviewing the
arguments in this case, this Court recommends Plaintiff's
case be REVERSED AND REMANDED.
protectively filed his DIB and SSI applications on July 29,
2011. (Tr. 20, 164-178). In this application, Plaintiff
alleges being disabled due to chest pain, syncope, shortness
of breath, and fatigue. (Tr. 227). Plaintiff alleges an onset
date of June 25, 2010. (Tr. 20). These applications were
denied initially and again upon reconsideration. (Tr. 20,
requested an administrative hearing on May 4, 2012. (Tr.
107). This hearing request was granted. (Tr. 115-119).
Plaintiff's administrative hearing was held on April 18,
2013. (Tr. 38-88). Plaintiff was present and was represented
by Robyn McWilliams. Id. Plaintiff and Vocational
Expert ("VE") Russell Bowden testified at this
hearing. Id. At this hearing, Plaintiff was
sixty-one (61) years old and had completed high school. (Tr.
August 27, 2013, the ALJ entered an unfavorable decision
denying Plaintiff's applications. (Tr. 20-32). In this
decision, the ALJ determined the Plaintiff met the insured
status of the Act through December 31, 2015. (Tr. 23, Finding
1). The ALJ also found Plaintiff had not engaged in
Substantial Gainful Activity ("SGA") since June 25,
2010. (Tr. 23, Finding 2).
next found Plaintiff had the following severe impairments:
coronary artery disease and COPD. (Tr. 23, Finding 3).
Despite being severe, the ALJ determined those 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. 25, Finding
decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined his RFC. (Tr. 25-32, 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 RFC to perform medium work.
evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work
("PRW"). (Tr. 32, Finding 6). The ALJ found
Plaintiff was capable of performing his PRW as a truck
driver. Id. Based upon this finding, the ALJ
determined Plaintiff had not been under a disability, as
defined by the Act, from June 25, 2010, through the date of
the decision. (Tr. 32, Finding 7).
Plaintiff requested that the Appeals Council review the
ALJ's unfavorable decision. (Tr. 15). See 20
C.F.R. Â§ 404.968. On January 5, 2015, the Appeals Council
declined to review this unfavorable decision. (Tr. 7-9). On
June 1, 2015, Plaintiff filed the present appeal. ECF No. 1.
Both parties have filed appeal briefs. ECF Nos. 10, 11. This
case is now ready for decision.
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. Â§ 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 possible to draw
two inconsistent positions from the evidence and one of those
positions represents the findings of the ALJ, the decision of
the ALJ must be affirmed. See Young v.
Apfel, 221 F.3d 1065, 1068 (8th Cir. 2000).
well-established that a claimant for Social Security
disability benefits has the burden of proving his or her
disability by establishing a physical or mental disability
that lasted at least one year and that prevents him or her
from engaging in any substantial gainful activity.
SeeCox v. Apfel, 160 F.3d 1203, 1206 (8th
Cir. 1998); 42 U.S.C. Â§Â§ 423(d)(1)(A), 1382c(a)(3)(A). The
Act defines a "physical or mental impairment" as
"an impairment that results from anatomical,
physiological, or psychological abnormalities which are
demonstrable by medically acceptable clinical and laboratory
diagnostic techniques." 42 U.S.C. Â§Â§ 423(d)(3),
1382(3)(c). A ...