United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fayetteville Division
Virginia Woodard Reed, Plaintiff, represented by Conrad T.
Odom, Odom, Elliott & Winburn.
Security Administration Commissioner, Defendant, represented
by Shalyn Joy Timmons, Office of General Counsel, Social
L. SETSER, Magistrate Judge.
Virginia Woodard Reed, brings this action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. Â§ 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) under the provisions
of Title II 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. Â§ 405(g).
protectively filed her current application for DIB on January
22, 2013, alleging an inability to work since April 1, 2006,
due to Rheumatoid arthritis, Type 2 Diabetes, thyroid
problems, peripheral artery disease, breast cancer (stage 1),
anemia, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. (Doc. 9,
pp. 14, 67, 149). For DIB purposes, Plaintiff maintained
insured status through December 31, 2011. (Doc. 9, p. 156).
An administrative video hearing was held on January 14, 2014,
at which Plaintiff appeared with counsel and testified. (Doc.
9, pp. 32-66).
written decision dated April 15, 2014, the ALJ found that
during the relevant time period, Plaintiff had an impairment
or combination of impairments that were severe. (Doc. 9, p.
16). Specifically, the ALJ found Plaintiff had the following
severe impairments through her date last insured:
inflammatory arthritis, osteoarthritis, and peripheral
vascular disease. However, after reviewing all of the
evidence presented, the ALJ determined that through her date
last insured, 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. 9, p. 18). The ALJ found that through
her date last insured, Plaintiff retained the residual
functional capacity (RFC) to:
perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) with the
following restrictions: She is limited to occasional
fingering, handling, climbing, balancing, crawling, kneeling,
stooping and crouching.
(Doc. 9, p. 19). With the help of a vocational expert, the
ALJ determined that prior to her date last insured, Plaintiff
could perform her past relevant work as an elementary school
teacher as actually and generally performed. (Doc. 9, p. 25).
then requested a review of the hearing decision by the
Appeals Council, which denied that request on July 10, 2015.
(Doc. 9, p. 5). Subsequently, Plaintiff filed this action.
(Doc. 1). This case is before the undersigned pursuant to the
consent of the parties. (Doc. 5). 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. Â§Â§ 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