United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, El Dorado Division
BARRY A. BRYANT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Johnson (“Plaintiff”) brings this action pursuant
to § 205(g) of Title II of the Social Security Act
(“The Act”), 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) (2010),
seeking judicial review of a final decision of the
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
(“SSA”) denying his applications for a period of
disability, Disability Insurance Benefits
(“DIB”), and Supplemental Security Income
(“SSI”) under Titles II and XVI of the Act.
Parties have consented to the jurisdiction of a magistrate
judge to conduct any and all proceedings in this case,
including conducting the trial, ordering the entry of a final
judgment, and conducting all post-judgment proceedings. ECF
No. 8. Pursuant to this authority, the Court
issues this memorandum opinion and orders the entry of a
final judgment in this matter.
protectively filed his disability applications on July 27,
2010. (Tr. 11, 113-126). In his applications, Plaintiff
alleges being disabled due to low back problems. (Tr. 152).
Plaintiff alleges an onset date of April 30, 2008. (Tr. 214).
These applications were denied initially and again upon
reconsideration. (Tr. 11, 42-61). Thereafter, Plaintiff
requested an administrative hearing on his denied
applications, and this hearing request was granted. (Tr. 62).
initial administrative hearing was held on September 12,
2011. (Tr. 23-41). After this hearing, on October 24, 2011,
the ALJ entered an unfavorable decision denying
Plaintiff’s DIB and SSI applications. (Tr. 11-18).
Following this, on November 26, 2013, The United States
District Court for the Western District of Arkansas,
Texarkana Division, remanded the case back to the agency for
further administrative proceedings. (Tr. 399-412).
second administrative hearing was held on May 8, 2014. (Tr.
345-379). Plaintiff was present and was represented by
counsel, Matt Golden, at this hearing. Id. Plaintiff
and Vocational Expert (“VE”) Diane Smith
testified at this hearing. Id. At this hearing,
Plaintiff testified he was forty-two (42) years old and
graduated from high school. (Tr. 350).
this hearing, on July 28, 2014, the ALJ entered an
unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff’s DIB and SSI
applications. (Tr. 330-339). In this decision, the ALJ found
Plaintiff met the insured status requirements of the Act
through December 31, 2012. (Tr. 332, Finding 1). The ALJ
determined Plaintiff had not engaged in Substantial Gainful
Activity (“SGA”) since April 30, 2008, his
alleged onset date. (Tr. 332, Finding 2).
determined Plaintiff had the following severe impairments:
degenerative changes to the lumbar spine with radiculopathy
and obesity. (Tr. 333, Finding 3). However, the ALJ also
determined Plaintiff’s impairments did not meet or
medically equal the requirements of any of the Listings of
Impairments in Appendix 1 to Subpart P of Regulations No. 4
(“Listings”). (Tr. 333, Finding 4).
decision, the ALJ indicated he evaluated Plaintiff’s
subjective complaints and determined his Residual Functional
Capacity (“RFC”). (Tr. 333-337, Finding 5).
First, the ALJ indicated he evaluated Plaintiff’s
subjective complaints and found his claimed limitations were
not entirely credible. Id. Second, the ALJ
determined Plaintiff retained the RFC for sedentary work,
except he requires the ability to stand for ten minutes in
his immediate work area without interfering with the work
process after sitting for 45 minutes; cannot engage in more
than occasional stooping, bending, crouching, crawling,
kneeling, or balancing; could not perform work that required
climbing of ropes, ladders, or scaffolds; and is limited to
work that is simple, routine, repetitive, and with
supervision that is simple direct and concrete. (Tr.
evaluated Plaintiff’s Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”) and found Plaintiff unable to perform any
PRW. (Tr. 337, Finding 6). The ALJ, however, also determined
there was other work existing in significant numbers in the
national economy Plaintiff could perform. (Tr. 338, Finding
10). The ALJ based this determination upon the testimony of
the VE. Id. Specifically, the VE testified that
given all Plaintiff's vocational factors, a hypothetical
individual would be able to perform the requirements of a
representative occupation such as table worker with 2, 500
such jobs in the region and 300, 000 such jobs in the nation
and bonder with 2, 500 such jobs in the region and 20, 000
such jobs in the nation. Id. Based upon this
finding, the ALJ determined Plaintiff had not been under a
disability as defined by the Act from April 30, 2008, through
the date of the decision. (Tr. 338, Finding 11).
Plaintiff requested the Appeals Council’s review of the
ALJ’s unfavorable decision. (Tr. 326). On December 2,
2015, the Appeals Council denied this request for review.
(Tr. 1-4). Plaintiff then filed the present appeal on
February 1, 2016. ECF No. 1. The Parties consented to the
jurisdiction of this Court on February 24, 2016. ECF No. 8.
This case is now ready for decision.
reviewing this case, this Court is required to determine
whether the Commissioner’s findings are supported by
substantial evidence on the record as a whole. See
42 U.S.C. § 405(g) (2006); Ramirez v. Barnhart,292 F.3d 576, 583 (8th Cir. 2002). Substantial evidence is
less than a preponderance of the evidence, but it is enough
that a reasonable mind would find it adequate to ...