United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Hot Springs Division
LOUIS WILCHIE, JR. PLAINTIFF
CAROLYN W. COLVIN Commissioner, Social Security Administration DEFENDANT
BARRY A. BRYANT, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Wilchie, Jr. (“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. 7). 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 for DIB and
SSI on June 26, 2012. (ECF No. 13, p. 13). In his
applications, Plaintiff alleges being disabled due to high
blood pressure, knee pain, and asthma. (ECF No. 13, p. 223).
Plaintiff alleges an onset date of January 1, 2008. (ECF No.
13, p. 197). These applications were denied initially and
again upon reconsideration. (ECF No.13, pp. 109, 121).
Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing on her denied
applications, and this hearing request was granted. (ECF No.
13, pp. 126, 128). Plaintiff's administrative hearing was
held on March 10, 2014, in Little Rock, Arkansas by video
teleconference call with the Hot Springs, Arkansas office.
(ECF No. 13, pp. 28-60). Plaintiff was present and was
represented by Nancy McDonough. Id. Plaintiff and
Vocational Expert (“VE”) Dwight Turner testified
at this hearing. Id. At this hearing, Plaintiff
testified he was forty-three (43) years old, which is defined
as a “younger person” under 20 C.F.R. §
416.963(e) (SSI) and 20 C.F.R. § 404.1563(e) (DIB). (ECF
No. 13, p. 33). As for his level of education, Plaintiff
reported he completed high school and earned a welding
certificate from National Park Community College.
this hearing, on July 1, 2014, the ALJ entered an unfavorable
decision denying Plaintiff's applications for DIB and
SSI. (ECF No. 13, pp. 10-27). In this decision, the ALJ found
Plaintiff met the insured status requirements of the Act
through March 31, 2013. (ECF No. 13, p. 15, Finding 1). The
ALJ found Plaintiff had not engaged in Substantial Gainful
Activity (“SGA”) since January 1, 2008, his
alleged onset date. (ECF No. 13, p. 15, Finding 2). The ALJ
determined Plaintiff had the following severe impairments:
knee osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease of the
thoracic and lumbar spine, asthma, obstructive sleep apnea,
lower extremity neuropathy, and morbid obesity. (ECF No. 13,
pp. 15-16, Finding 3). Despite being severe, the ALJ
determined these 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”). (ECF No. 13, pp. 16-17, Finding 4).
then considered Plaintiff's Residual Functional Capacity
(“RFC”). (ECF No. 13, pp. 17-21, Finding 5).
First, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and found his claimed limitations were not
entirely credible. Id. Second, the ALJ determined
Plaintiff retained the RFC to perform:
sedentary work as defined in 20 C.F.R. 404.1567(a) and
416.967(a) except he cannot climb ladders, ropes, or
scaffolds and can only occasionally perform each remaining
postural function. The claimant cannot operate foot controls.
The claimant cannot have exposure to concentrated fumes,
odors, or gases, The claimant cannot be exposed to hazards,
unprotected heights, and similar hazards.
then evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”). (ECF No. 13, p. 21, Finding 6). The VE
testified at the administrative hearing regarding this issue.
(ECF No. 13, pp. 54-58). Based upon the testimony and
considering Plaintiff's RFC, the ALJ determined Plaintiff
was unable to perform any past relevant work. (ECF No. 13, p.
21, Finding 6). Based on Plaintiff's age, education, work
experience, and RFC, the ALJ determined there were jobs
existing in significant numbers in the national economy
Plaintiff could perform, such as assembly jobs like that of a
fishing reel assembler, which has a DOT code of 732.684-062,
and is sedentary work with a SVP of two (2) with
approximately one hundred sixty thousand (160, 000) jobs in
the national economy, approximately fifteen thousand (15,
000) jobs in the regional economy, and approximately four
hundred (400) to five hundred (500) jobs in the state of
Arkansas, and inspecting jobs like that of a table worker,
which has a DOT code of 739.687-182, and is sedentary work
with a SVP of two (2) with approximately two hundred thousand
(200, 000) jobs in the national economy, approximately
fifteen thousand (15, 000) jobs in the regional economy, and
approximately four hundred (400) to five hundred (500) jobs
in the state of Arkansas. (ECF No. 13, pp. 21-22). Because
jobs exist in significant numbers in the national economy
which Plaintiff can perform, the ALJ also determined
Plaintiff had not been under a disability, as defined by the
Act, from January 1, 2008, through the date of his decision.
(ECF No. 13, p. 22), Finding 11).
August 6, 2014, Plaintiff requested a review by the Appeals
Council. (ECF No. 13, pp. 8-9). The Appeals Council denied
this request on August 27, 2015. (ECF No. 13, pp. 4-7). On
September 28, 2015, Plaintiff filed the present appeal with
this Court. (ECF No. 1). The Parties consented to the
jurisdiction of this Court on September 29, 2015. (ECF No.
7). 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 ...