United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas
Darrell Clay Cox, Plaintiff, Pro Se.
Security Administration, Defendant, represented by Jonathan
R. Clark, Social Security Administration & Stacey Elise
McCord, U.S. Attorney's Office.
PATRICIA S. HARRIS, Magistrate Judge.
following recommended disposition was prepared for U.S.
District Judge Susan Webber Wright. A party to this dispute
may file written objections to this recommendation. An
objection must be specific and state the factual and/or legal
basis for the objection. An objection to a factual finding
must identify the finding and the evidence supporting the
objection. Objections must be filed with the clerk of the
court no later than 14 days from the date of this
recommendation. The objecting party must serve the
opposing party with a copy of an objection. Failing to object
within 14 days waives the right to appeal questions of
fact. If no objections are filed, Judge
Wright may adopt the recommended disposition without
independently reviewing all of the record evidence.
for Recommended Disposition
Clay Cox seeks judicial review of the denial of his
application for social security disability
benefits. Cox's last reported earnings
flowed from operating a punch press for Hytrol Conveyor
Company. He lost his job in December 2005, when
his employer learned about his criminal
history. In April 2012, he applied for
disability benefits and claimed he has been disabled since
December 2005. He based disability on back problems,
arthritis, shoulder pain, bipolar disorder, depression, and a
Commissioner's decision. The Commissioner's ALJ
identified non-union of right-clavicle fracture, affective
disorder, and substance abuse disorder as severe
impairments. The ALJ determined Cox could do some
light work. The ALJ application. After the
Commissioner's Appeals Council denied a request for
review,  Cox filed this case to challenge the
decision. Although Cox was represented by an
attorney in the agency proceeding, he proceeds pro se for
this review. This recommended disposition explains why the
court should affirm the decision.
allegations. In his brief, Cox generally challenges the
denial of his application,  and complains about a
deterioration of his medical conditions. Even if his
conditions have deteriorated, the court must review the
record that was before the ALJ and consider the time period
for which benefits were denied.
legal principles. The court must determine whether
substantial evidence supports the decision. For
substantial evidence to exist, a reasonable mind must accept
the evidence as adequate to show Cox can do some light work
and work exists that Cox can do. A reasonable mind will
accept the evidence as adequate for the following reasons:
1. Medical evidence established no disabling physical
impairment. A claimant must prove disability with medical
evidence; his allegations are not enough. Cox based
disability on several physical allegations-back problems,
arthritis, shoulder pain from a broken clavicle, foot pain,
hip pain, back pain, and headaches-but medical evidence
established one impairment-non-union of right clavicle
According to Cox, he fractured his right clavicle in the
1990s in a horseback-riding accident. Despite the
non-union of the fracture, Cox worked for many years. That
effort shows the right-clavicle impairment is not disabling.
Although not disabling, the impairment likely causes neck and
right-shoulder pain. According to medical experts, the
impairment permits light work with right-arm limitations:
occasional overhead reaching, pushing, and pulling with the
The right-arm limitation is consistent with Cox's
complaint that he cannot comfortably reach with his right
arm. A reasonable mind will accept the
evidence as adequate to support the decision, because the ALJ
required light work and limited the use of the right arm.
2. Medical evidence established no disabling mental
impairment. Cox also based his claim on mental impairment:
bipolar disorder and depression. There's no medical
evidence of bipolar disorder or depression, but treatment
records show a primary care ...