United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division
JASON W. KIRKENDOLL PLAINTIFF
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration DEFENDANT
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Jason W. Kirkendoll appeals the final decision of the
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (the
“Commissioner”) denying his claims for Disability
Insurance benefits (“DIB”) under Title II of the
Social Security Act (the “Act”). For reasons that
follow, the decision of the Commissioner is reversed and
October 5, 2011, Mr. Kirkendoll filed for benefits due to
obesity and limitation of his left arm and shoulder. (Tr.
134-140, 151) He alleged disability beginning on September
10, 2010. An Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”)
held a hearing on May 9, 2013, and Mr. Kirkendoll appeared
with his lawyer. At the hearing, the ALJ heard testimony from
Mr. Kirkendoll, his stepmother, and a vocational expert
(“VE”). (Tr. 43-76)
issued a decision on October 22, 2013, finding that Mr.
Kirkendoll was not disabled under the Act. (Tr. 28-39) On
April 14, 2015, the Appeals Council denied Mr.
Kirkendoll’s request for review, making the ALJ’s
decision the Commissioner’s final decision. (Tr. 1-3)
On June 15, 2015, Mr. Kirkendoll filed this appeal. (Docket
entry #2) The parties have filed their briefs, and the case
is ready for decision.
Kirkendoll was twenty-three years old on his alleged
disability onset date and twenty-six years old at the time of
the hearing. (Tr. 48) He was 5'9" tall and weighed
somewhere between 500-600 pounds. (Tr. 48) Mr. Kirkendoll had
graduated high school. (Tr. 50) He had past relevant work as
a heavy equipment operator. (Tr. 48)
Decision of the Administrative Law
found that Mr. Kirkendoll had not engaged in substantial
gainful activity since September 10, 2010, and had the
following severe impairments: morbid obesity, degenerative
joint disease (history of left acromiclavicular joint
separation), and mild systolic ejection murmur. (Tr. 30) The
ALJ found that Mr. Kirkendoll’s depressive disorder was
not a severe impairment and that he 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. (Tr. 30-31)
to the ALJ, Mr. Kirkendoll retained the residual functional
capacity (“RFC”) to perform a reduced range of
sedentary work. He had the ability to lift and carry ten
pounds occasionally and less than ten pounds frequently; to
stand or walk up to two hours in an eight-hour workday, with
a sit/stand option of forty-five minute intervals of sitting
followed by four-to-five minute intervals of standing in
place; to sit six hours in an eight-hour workday; to push or
pull ten pounds occasionally and less than ten pounds
frequently with the right arm, but not with the left; and to
frequently handle and finger with both hands. (Tr. 31) The
ALJ found no nonexertional limitations.
Kirkendoll could not perform past relevant work. (Tr. 37) The
VE testified, however, that food checker, appointment clerk,
and telephone solicitor were jobs that a person with Mr.
Kirkendoll’s limitations could perform. (Tr. 73-74)
Accordingly, the ALJ determined that Mr. Kirkendoll could
perform a number of jobs in the national economy and,
therefore, was not disabled. (Tr. 38-39)
Standard of Review
reviewing the Commissioner’s decision, this Court must
determine whether there is substantial evidence in the record
as a whole to support the decision. Boettcher v.
Astrue, 652 F.3d 860, 863 (8th Cir. 2011); 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g). Substantial evidence is “less than a
preponderance, but sufficient for reasonable minds to find it
adequate to support the decision.” Id. (citing
Guilliams v. Barnhart, 393 F.3d 798, 801 (8th Cir.
reviewing the record as a whole, 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.” Id. (citing
Pelkey v. Barnhart, 433 F.3d 575, 578 (8th Cir.
Mr. Kirkendoll’s ...