United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fayetteville Division
Christy Brasuell, Plaintiff, represented by Wayne W. Young,
Wayne Young Law Firm, PA.
Security Administration Commissioner, Defendant, represented
by Adrial B. McField, Social Security Administration.
L. SETSER, Magistrate Judge.
Christy D. Brasuell, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g), seeking judicial review of a decision of the
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
(Commissioner) denying her claims for a period of disability
and disability insurance benefits (DIB) and supplemental
security income (SSI) benefits under the provisions of Title
II and XVI of the Social Security Act (Act). In this judicial
review, the Court must determine whether there is substantial
evidence in the administrative record to support the
Commissioner's decision. See 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
protectively filed her current applications for DIB and SSI
on July 25, 2011, alleging an inability to work since July
25, 2011, due to Bipolar Disorder, depression, a mood
disorder, and sleep apnea. (Doc. 14, p. 148, 152, 195). For
DIB purposes, Plaintiff maintained insured status through
September 30, 2011. An administrative hearing was held on
October 11, 2012, at which Plaintiff appeared with counsel
and testified. (Doc. 14, p. 29-52). A supplemental hearing
was held on April 4, 2013. (Doc. 14, p. 554-560).
written decision dated May 14, 2013, the ALJ found that
during the relevant time period, Plaintiff had an impairment
or combination of impairments that were severe. (Doc. 14, p.
14). Specifically, the ALJ found Plaintiff had the following
severe impairments: obesity, disorder of the back, carpel
tunnel syndrome, and depression. However, after reviewing all
of the evidence presented, the ALJ determined that
Plaintiff's impairments did not meet or equal the level
of severity of any impairment listed in the Listing of
Impairments found in Appendix I, Subpart P, Regulation No. 4.
(Doc. 14, p. 15). The ALJ found Plaintiff retained the
residual functional capacity (RFC) to:
perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) and
416.967(b) except the claimant can frequently climb, balance,
crawl, kneel, stoop and crouch. She can frequently engage in
rapid, repetitive flexion/extension of the wrists. She can
understand, remember and carry out simple, routine,
repetitive tasks. She can respond to the usual work
situations and routine work changes. She can respond to
supervision that is simple, direct and concrete. She can
occasionally interact with supervisors, co-workers and the
(Doc. 14, p. 16). With the help of a vocational expert, the
ALJ determined Plaintiff could perform work as a housekeeper,
an assembler, and a machine tender. (Doc. 14, p. 22-23).
then requested a review of the hearing decision by the
Appeals Council, which denied that request on April 11, 2014.
(Doc. 14, p. 1-5). Subsequently, Plaintiff filed this action.
(Doc. 1). This case is before the undersigned pursuant to the
consent of the parties. (Doc. 6). Both parties have filed
appeal briefs, and the case is now ready for decision. (Docs.
Court has reviewed the entire transcript. The complete set of
facts and arguments are presented in the parties' briefs,
and are repeated here only to the extent necessary.
Court's role is to determine whether the
Commissioner's findings are supported by substantial
evidence on the record as a whole. Ramirez v.
Barnhart, 292 F.3d 576, 583 (8th Cir. 2002). Substantial
evidence is less than a preponderance but it is enough that a
reasonable mind would find it adequate to support the
Commissioner's decision. The ALJ's decision must be
affirmed if the record contains substantial evidence to
support it. Edwards v. Barnhart, 314 F.3d 964, 966
(8th Cir. 2003). 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. Haley v. Massanari, 258 F.3d 742, 747
(8th Cir. 2001). In other words, 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. Young v. Apfel, 221 F.3d 1065, 1068 (8th
well-established that a claimant for Social Security
disability benefits has the burden of proving her disability
by establishing a physical or mental disability that has
lasted at least one year and that prevents her from engaging
in any substantial gainful activity. Pearsall v.
Massanari, 274 F.3d 1211, 1217 (8th Cir. 2001); see also
42 U.S.C. §§ 423(d)(1)(A), 1382c(a)(3)(A). The Act defines
"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