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Quick v. Colvin

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Harrison Division

November 1, 2016

JEFFERSON D. QUICK, PLAINTIFF
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN Commissioner, Social Security Administration, DEFENDANT

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          HON. BARRY A. BRYANT, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Jefferson D. Quick (“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 Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”), Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”), and a period of disability under Titles II and XVI of the Act.

         The 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. 6.[1] Pursuant to this authority, the Court issues this memorandum opinion and orders the entry of a final judgment in this matter.

         1.Background:

         Plaintiff protectively filed his disability applications on June 6, 2012. (Tr. 19, 153-165). In his applications, Plaintiff alleges being disabled due to diabetes, neuropathy, depression, and hypertension. (Tr. 192). During his administrative hearing, Plaintiff also alleged being disabled due to back pain. (Tr. 46). His attorney characterized his back pain as follows: “He's got a lot of chronic back pain associated with the heavy works that he has done in the past.” Id. Plaintiff alleges an onset date of January 10, 2008. (Tr. 19, 153). These applications were denied initially and again upon reconsideration. (Tr. 83-86).

         After Plaintiff's applications were denied, Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing on his applications, and this hearing request was granted. (Tr. 41-82). Thereafter, on November 14, 2013, the ALJ held an administrative hearing on Plaintiff's applications. Id. At this hearing, Plaintiff was present and was represented by Fredrick Spencer. Id. Plaintiff, two witnesses for Plaintiff, and Vocational Expert (“VE”) Jim Spragins testified at this hearing. Id.

         On May 30, 2014, after the administrative hearing, the ALJ entered a fully unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's applications. (Tr. 16-34). The ALJ found Plaintiff last met the insured status requirements of the Act through June 30, 2012. (Tr. 21, Finding 1). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had not engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity (“SGA”) since January 10, 2008, his alleged onset date. (Tr. 21, Finding 2). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had the following severe impairments: depressive disorder (not otherwise specified); math disorder; generalized anxiety disorder; personality disorder; and diabetes mellitus with neuropathy. (Tr. 21-22, Finding 3). 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. 22-23, Finding 4).

         The ALJ found Plaintiff was forty-one (41) years old, which is defined as a “younger person” under 20 C.F.R. § 416.963(c) (2008) (SSI) and 20 C.F.R. § 404.1563(c) (2008) (DIB). (Tr. 33, Finding 7). As for his education, the ALJ determined Plaintiff had at least a high school education and was able to communicate in English. (Tr. 33, Finding 8).

         The ALJ then considered Plaintiff's Residual Functional Capacity (“RFC”). (Tr. 23-33, 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 the following:

After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform sedentary work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(a) and 416.967(a) except the claimant is able to perform work that is limited to simple, routine, and repetitive tasks, involving only simple, work-related decisions, with few, if any, workplace changes and no more than incidental contact with coworkers, supervisors and the general public.

Id.

         The ALJ then evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work (“PRW”). (Tr. 33, Finding 6). Considering his RFC, the ALJ determined Plaintiff could not perform any of his PRW. Id. The ALJ also considered whether Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform other work existing in significant numbers in the national economy. (Tr. 33-34, Finding 10). The VE testified at the administrative hearing regarding this issue. Id. Based upon that testimony, the ALJ determined Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform the following two occupations: (1) small production machine operator (sedentary, unskilled) with 4, 000 such jobs in Arkansas and 500, 000 such jobs in the nation; and (2) small product assembler (sedentary, unskilled) with 4, 000 such jobs in Arkansas and 203, 000 such jobs in the nation. Id. Because Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform this work, the ALJ also determined Plaintiff had not been under a disability, as defined by the Act, from January 10, 2008 through the date of his decision or through May 30, 2014. (Tr. 34, Finding 11).

         Thereafter, Plaintiff requested the review of the Appeals Council. (Tr. 14). On August 14, 2015, the Appeals Council denied this request for review. (Tr. 1-4). On October 13, 2015, Plaintiff filed his Complaint in this matter. ECF No. 1. The Parties consented to the jurisdiction of this Court on October 15, 2015. ECF No. 6. Both Parties have filed appeal briefs. ECF Nos. 10-11. This case is now ready for decision.

         2. ...


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