United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Harrison Division
BARRY A. BRYANT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Marcia Hamilton (“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 her applications for a period of
disability and Disability Insurance Benefits
(“DIB”) under Title II 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 her disability application on January 31,
2014. (Tr. 9, 143-144). In her application, Plaintiff alleges
being disabled due to lumbar degenerative arthritis, left
knee osteoarthritis, right knee patellofemoral syndrome,
right shoulder osteoarthritis, left shoulder strain,
degenerative cervical spine, hip strains, and hand
osteoarthritis. (Tr. 218). Plaintiff alleges an onset date of
February 1, 2012. (Tr. 218). This application was denied
initially and again upon reconsideration. (Tr. 9).
Thereafter, Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing on
her denied application, and this hearing request was granted.
administrative hearing was held on March 17, 2015. (Tr.
23-54). Plaintiff was present and was represented by counsel,
Frederick Spencer, at this hearing. Id. Plaintiff
and Vocational Expert (“VE”) Jim Spragins
testified at this hearing. Id. At this hearing,
Plaintiff testified she was fifty-five (55) years old and
graduated from high school. (Tr. 25-26).
this hearing, on August 12, 2015, the ALJ entered an
unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's DIB application.
(Tr. 9-17). In this decision, the ALJ found Plaintiff met the
insured status requirements of the Act through December 31,
2016. (Tr. 11, Finding 1). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had
not engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity
(“SGA”) since February 1, 2012, her alleged onset
date. (Tr. 11, Finding 2).
determined Plaintiff had the severe impairment of
osteoarthritis. (Tr. 11, 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. 13, Finding 4).
decision, the ALJ indicated he evaluated Plaintiff's
subjective complaints and determined her Residual Functional
Capacity (“RFC”). (Tr. 13-17, Finding 5). First,
the ALJ indicated he evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and found her claimed limitations were not
entirely credible. Id. Second, the ALJ determined
Plaintiff retained the RFC for light work, except she is able
to frequently climb, balance, crawl, kneel, stoop, and
crouch; and frequently finger and handle bilaterally. (Tr.
evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”) and found Plaintiff capable of performing
her PRW as an administrative office clerk. (Tr. 17, Finding
6). Based upon this finding, the ALJ determined Plaintiff had
not been under a disability as defined by the Act from
February 1, 2012, through the date of the decision. (Tr. 17,
Plaintiff requested the Appeals Council's review of the
ALJ's unfavorable decision. (Tr. 4-5). On September 17,
2015, the Appeals Council denied this request for review.
(Tr. 1-3). Plaintiff then filed the present appeal on October
14, 2015. ECF No. 1. The Parties consented to the
jurisdiction of this Court on November 3, 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 support the
Commissioner's decision. See Johnson v. Apfel,
240 F.3d 1145, 1147 (8th Cir. 2001).
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. See Haley v.
Massanari,258 F.3d 742, 747 (8th Cir. 2001). If, after
reviewing the record, it is possible to draw two inconsistent
positions from the evidence and one of those positions