United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division
PROPOSED FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDED DISPOSITION
VOLPE, Magistrate Judge.
recommended disposition has been submitted to United States
District Judge J. Leon Holmes. The parties may file specific
objections to these findings and recommendations and must
provide the factual or legal basis for each objection. The
objections must be filed with the Clerk no later than
fourteen (14) days from the date of the findings and
recommendations. A copy must be served on the opposing party.
The District Judge, even in the absence of objections, may
reject these proposed findings and recommendations in whole
or in part.
Kim Young, has appealed the final decision of the
Commissioner of the Social
Administration to deny her claim for disability insurance
benefits and supplemental security income. Both parties have
submitted briefs and the case is ready for a decision.
court's function on review is to determine whether the
Commissioner's decision is supported by substantial
evidence on the record as a whole and free of legal error.
Slusser v. Astrue, 557 F.3d 923, 925 (8th Cir.
2009); Long v. Chater, 108 F.3d 185, 187 (8th Cir.
1997); see also 42 U.S.C. Â§Â§ 405(g), 1383(c)(3).
Substantial evidence is such relevant evidence as a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion. Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401
(1971); Reynolds v. Chater, 82 F.3d 254, 257 (8th
assessing the substantiality of the evidence, courts must
consider evidence that detracts from the Commissioner's
decision as well as evidence that supports it; a court may
not, however, reverse the Commissioner's decision merely
because substantial evidence would have supported an opposite
decision. Sultan v. Barnhart, 368 F.3d 857, 863 (8th
Cir. 2004); Woolf v. Shalala, 3 F.3d 1210, 1213 (8th
Cir. 1993). After careful review of the pleadings and
evidence in this case, I find the Commissioner's decision
is supported by substantial evidence and recommend the
Complaint be DISMISSED.
was fifty-one years old at the time of the administrative
hearing. (Tr. 29) She testified she went to the twelfth grade
in school. ( Id. )
alleges she is disabled due to anxiety, depression, and
hypertension. (Tr. 43) The ALJ found Ms. Young had not
engaged in substantial gainful activity since July 1, 2012,
the alleged onset date. (Tr. 13) She has a "severe"
impairment in the form of depression and hypertension. (
Id. ) The ALJ further found Ms. Young did not have
an impairment or combination of impairments meeting or
equaling an impairment listed in 20 C.F.R. Â§ 404, Subpart P,
Appendix 1. (Tr. 14)
determined Ms. Young had the residual functional capacity to
perform a reduced range of light work. (Tr. 15) He determined
Ms. Young had no past relevant work, so he utilized the
services of a vocational expert to determine whether other
work existed in significant numbers that Plaintiff could
perform despite her impairments. (Tr. 17-18, 39-41) Through
asking hypothetical questions of the vocational expert, the
ALJ assessed that Ms. Young could perform the jobs of
housekeeper and small products assembler. (Doc. No. 18)
Accordingly, the ALJ determined Ms. Young was not disabled.
Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for a review
of the ALJ's decision, making his decision the final
decision of the Commissioner. (Tr. 1-3) Plaintiff filed the
instant Complaint initiating this appeal. (Doc. No. 2)
support of her Complaint, Plaintiff raises several arguments.
She believes the ALJ improperly evaluated the evidence from
her treating doctor, did not give enough weight to her to
Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) scores, erred with his
credibility analysis, incorrectly determined her residual
functional capacity, and asked improper hypothetical
questions of the vocational expert. (Doc. No. 9)
regard to her first argument, Plaintiff argues that the
findings of her treating physician, Dianna Esmaeilpour, M.D.,
should constitute substantial evidence. Generally, this is
true. But as the United States Court of Appeals for the
Eighth Circuit has re-iterated:
Generally, a treating physician's opinion is given more
weight than other sources in a disability proceeding. 20
C.F.R. Â§ 404.1527(c)(2). Indeed, when the treating
physician's opinion is supported by proper medical
testing, and is not inconsistent with other substantial
evidence in the record, the ALJ must give the opinion
controlling weight. Id . "However, [a]n ALJ may
discount or even disregard the opinion of a treating
physician where other medical assessments are supported by
better or more thorough medical evidence, or where a treating
physician renders inconsistent opinions that undermine the
credibility of such opinions." Wildman v.
Astrue,596 F.3d 959, 964 (8th Cir.2010) (alteration in