United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas
Glenna Holliman, applied for disability benefits on February
8, 2013, alleging a disability onset date of December 1,
2009. (Tr. at 27). After conducting a hearing, the
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) denied her
application. (Tr. at 38). The Appeals Council denied her
request for review. (Tr. at 1) The ALJ's decision now
stands as the final decision of the Commissioner, and
Holliman has requested judicial review.
reasons stated below, the Court affirms the decision of the
The Commissioner's Decision:
found that Holliman had not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since the onset date of December 1, 2009. (Tr. at
29). The ALJ found at Step Two that Holliman had the
following severe impairments: Bipolar Disorder, Panic
Disorder, and PTSD. Id. At Step Three, the ALJ
determined that Holliman's impairments did not meet or
equal a listed impairment. (Tr. at 31). Before proceeding to
Step Four, the ALJ determined that Holliman had the residual
functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform the full
range of work at all exertional levels except for the
following limitations: 1) only simple, routine, and
repetitive tasks; and 2) only incidental interpersonal
contact where supervision is simple, direct, and concrete.
(Tr. at 33). Next, the ALJ found that Holliman is capable of
performing past relevant work as a housekeeper. (Tr. at 37).
The sequential evaluation, therefore, ended at Step Four and
the ALJ found that Holliman was not disabled. (Tr. at 38).
Standard of Review
Court's role is to determine whether the
Commissioner's findings are supported by substantial
evidence. Prosch v. Apfel, 201 F.3d 1010, 1012 (8th
Cir. 2000). “Substantial evidence” in this
context means less than a preponderance but more than a
scintilla. Slusser v. Astrue, 557 F.3d 923, 925 (8th
Cir. 2009). In other words, it is “enough that a
reasonable mind would find it adequate to support the
ALJ's decision.” Id. (citation omitted).
The Court must consider not only evidence that supports the
Commissioner's decision, but also evidence that supports
a contrary outcome. The Court cannot reverse the decision,
however, “merely because substantial evidence exists
for the opposite decision.” Long v. Chater,
108 F.3d 185, 187 (8th Cir. 1997) (quoting Johnson v.
Chater, 87 F.3d 1015, 1017 (8th Cir. 1996)).
Holliman's Arguments on Appeal
argues that substantial evidence does not support the
ALJ's decision to deny benefits. She contends that the
ALJ erred in holding that her shoulder pain did not impose
significant limitations on her ability to work. If the ALJ
had found the shoulder pain to be a severely limiting
impairment, Holliman argues, she could not have returned to
past relevant work or perform any other jobs. Finally,
Holliman asserts that the ALJ failed to give proper weight to
Holliman's Global Assessment of Functioning
medical evidence simply does not support Holliman's
complaints of disabling pain related to her shoulder. She
sought treatment in August 2010 for shoulder pain radiating
into her chest. (Tr. at 331). X-rays were negative. (Tr. at
337). Holliman said her pain improved when medicated, and
there was no shoulder diagnosis. I d . Impairments
that are controllable or amendable to treatment do not
support a finding of total disability. Mittlestedt v.
Apfel, 204 F.3d 847, 852 (8th Cir. 2000).
November 7, 2012, Holliman saw Dr. Miguel Casillas, M.D., and
he noted that she was reluctant to seek medical help despite
frequent pain. A failure to treat a condition is grounds for
the ALJ ruling out the condition as a severe impairment.
Smith v. Shalala, 987 F.2d 1371, 1374 (8th Cir.
April 16, 2013, state agency physician Dr. Roger Troxel,
M.D., examined Holliman and found normal range of motion and
no decreased ability to walk, stand, sit, lift, carry,
handle, finger, see, hear, or speak. He did not diagnose
shoulder pain. (Tr. at 410).
November 4 and November 16, 2013, Holliman visited Corning
Area Healthcare for shoulder pain. She had intermittent
numbness and bluish discoloration. (Tr. at 445-450). Her
range of motion was limited. Sensory and motor exams were
normal. Id. ...