United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Harrison Division
DAVID A. CARLETON, PLAINTIFF
CAROLYN W. COLVIN Commissioner, Social Security Administration, DEFENDANT
BARRY A. BRYANT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
A. Carleton (“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”)
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
Nos. 6, 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 on May
31, 2013. (ECF No. 13, p. 13). In his application, Plaintiff
alleges being disabled due to arthritis, sciatica, acid
reflux, and depression. (ECF No. 12, p. 211). Plaintiff
alleges an onset date of December 23, 2008. (ECF No. 12, p.
207). These applications were denied initially and again upon
reconsideration. (ECF No. 12, pp. 117, 124).
Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing on his denied
applications, and this hearing request was granted. (ECF No.
12, pp. 140, 142). Plaintiff's administrative hearing was
held on May 19, 2014, in Harrison, Arkansas. (ECF No. 12, pp.
74-115). Plaintiff was present and was represented by
Frederick Spencer. Id. Plaintiff, Plaintiff's
mother Phyllis J. Carleton, and Vocational Expert
(“VE”) Larry Seifert testified at this hearing.
Id. At this hearing, Plaintiff testified he was
fifty-one (51) years old on the date last insured, which is
defined as a “younger person” under 20 C.F.R.
§ 404.1563(e). (ECF No. 12, p. 77). As for his level of
education, Plaintiff reported he completed ninth grade and
never received a GED. Id.
this hearing, on September 2, 2014, the ALJ entered an
unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's application for
DIB. (ECF No. 12, pp. 60-69). In this decision, the ALJ found
Plaintiff met the insured status requirements of the Act
through December 31, 2011. (ECF No. 12, p. 65, Finding 1).
The ALJ found Plaintiff had not engaged in Substantial
Gainful Activity (“SGA”) since December 23, 2008,
his alleged onset date. (ECF No. 12, p. 65, Finding 2). The
ALJ determined Plaintiff had the following severe impairment:
arthritis. (ECF No. 12, p. 65, Finding 3). Despite being
severe, the ALJ determined this impairment 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. 12, p. 65, Finding 4).
then considered Plaintiff's Residual Functional Capacity
(“RFC”). (ECF No. 12, pp. 65-67, 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:
light work as defined in 20 C.F.R. 404.1567(a) except he can
occasionally climb, balance, crawl, kneel, stoop, and crouch.
then evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”). (ECF No. 12, p. 68, Finding 6). The VE
testified at the administrative hearing regarding this issue.
(ECF No. 12, pp. 107-14). Based upon the testimony and
considering Plaintiff's RFC, the ALJ determined Plaintiff
was unable to perform any past relevant work. (ECF No. 12, p.
68, 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 a content assembler, which
has a DOT code of 522.667-010, with approximately one hundred
thirty-one thousand five hundred eighty-five (131, 585) jobs
in the national economy, and approximately one thousand five
hundred seventy-seven (1, 577) jobs in the state of Arkansas,
as a merchandise marker, which has a DOT code of 209.587-034,
with approximately two hundred twenty thousand six hundred
one (220, 601) jobs in the national economy, and
approximately two hundred ninety two (292) jobs in the state
of Arkansas, and as a clerical/office helper, which has a DOT
code of 239.567-010, with approximately one hundred sixteen
thousand twenty-six (116, 026) jobs in the national economy,
and approximately seven hundred eighty nine (789) jobs in the
state of Arkansas. (ECF No. 12, pp. 68-69). 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
December 23, 2008, through December 31, 2011, the date last
insured. (ECF No. 12, p.692), Finding 11).
on September 23, 2014, Plaintiff requested a review by the
Appeals Council. (ECF No. 12, pp. 57-58). The Appeals Council
denied this request on July 31, 2015. (ECF No. 13, pp. 5-9).
On September 14, 2015, Plaintiff filed the present appeal
with this Court. (ECF No. 1). The Parties consented to the
jurisdiction of this Court on September 15, 2015. (ECF No.
6). 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 ...