United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Eastern Division
ORDER AFFIRMING THE COMMISSIONER
Angienette Foster brings this action for review of the final
decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security
Administration (“Commissioner”) denying her claim
for a period of disability and Disability Insurance Benefits
(“DIB”) under Title II of the Social Security Act
(the “Act”). For reasons that follow, the
decision of the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”)
Foster filed her application for DIB on March 7, 2013. (Tr.
11) She also filed an application for Supplemental Security
Income (“SSI”) under Title XVI of the Act.
(Id.) Ms. Foster alleged disability since February
28, 2013, due to fracture of the lower limbs and seizures.
(Tr. 73) She was insured for DIB through the end of December
31, 2017. (Tr. 15) Her claims were denied at the initial and
reconsideration levels. (Tr. 11)
April 10, 2014, a hearing was held before an ALJ, where Ms.
Foster was represented by her attorney. (Tr. 11) On June 23,
2014, the ALJ denied Ms. Foster’s claims. (Tr. 21) On
September 14, 2015, the Appeals Council denied her request
for review. (Tr. 1) Ms. Foster seeks judicial review of the
Commissioner’s denial of her application. The parties
consented to the jurisdiction of the Magistrate Judge, and
the case is ripe for decision.
Decision of the Administrative Law Judge:
followed the required five-step sequence to determine: (1)
whether the claimant was engaged in substantial gainful
activity; (2) if not, whether the claimant had a severe
impairment; (3) if so, whether the impairment (or combination
of impairments) met or equaled a listed impairment; (4) if
not, whether the impairment (or combination of impairments)
prevented the claimant from performing past relevant
work; and (5) if so, whether the impairment (or
combination of impairments) prevented the claimant from
performing any other jobs available in significant numbers in
the national economy. 20 C.F.R. § 416.920(a)-(g).
found that Ms. Foster had not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since February 28, 2013. (Tr. 15) Ms. Foster’s
multiple fractures/lacerations post motor vehicle accident,
right ulnar fracture, left femur fractures, right open
tibia-fibula, and seizure disorder were deemed severe
impairments. (Id.) According to the ALJ, Ms. Foster
did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that
met or equaled an impairment listed in 20 C.F.R. Part 404,
Subpart P, Appendix 1. (Id.)
determined that Ms. Foster retained the residual functional
capacity to perform light work limited to occasional
stooping, crouching, crawling, kneeling, balancing, and
climbing of ramps/stairs (but no climbing of
ladders/scaffolds). (Tr. 16) She was required to use a cane
and avoid exposed hazards such as unprotected heights or
dangerous machinery. (Id.) With the assistance of a
vocational expert, the ALJ found that Ms. Foster could
perform her past relevant work as a data entry clerk, an
assembly line worker, and a receptionist. (Tr. 19) In the
alternative, the ALJ found that, considering Ms.
Foster’s age, education, work history, and residual
functioning capacity, she would be able to perform other work
in the economy as a cashier II, general cashier, and ticket
seller. (Tr. 20) Accordingly, the ALJ found that Ms. Foster
was not disabled. (Tr. 21)
Standard of Review
reviewing the Commissioner’s decision, this Court must
determine whether there is substantial evidence in the
administrative record to support the decision. Slusser v.
Astrue, 557 F.3d 923, 925 (8th Cir. 2009); 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g). “Substantial evidence is evidence that a
reasonable mind would find adequate to support the
ALJ’s conclusion.” Nicola v. Astrue, 480
F.3d 885, 886 (8th Cir. 2007). The Court must consider both
evidence that detracts from the Commissioner’s decision
and evidence that supports the decision; but, the decision
cannot be reversed, “simply because some evidence may
support the opposite conclusion.” Medhaug v.
Astrue, 578 F.3d 805, 813 (8th Cir. 2009)(quoting
Goff v. Barnhart, 421 F.3d 785, 789 (8th Cir.
Foster asserts that the ALJ’s findings are not
supported by substantial evidence: (1) because the ALJ failed
to develop the record regarding Ms. Foster’s seizures,
she erred in finding that Ms. Foster did not meet listing
11.02 or 11.03. 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1;
and (2) because the ALJ’s credibility analysis was
flawed. (docket entry #16 at 10, 13)