United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fort Smith Division
KATRINA M. HUGHES PLAINTIFF
CAROLYN W. COLVIN Commissioner, Social Security Administration DEFENDANT
BARRY A. BRYANT, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
M. Hughes (“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 application for Supplemental
Security Income (“SSI”).
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. 5. 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 August 8,
2011. (Tr. 10). In this application, Plaintiff alleges being
disabled due to an anxiety disorder, a back condition, PTSD,
and bipolar disorder. (Tr. 278). Plaintiff alleges an onset
date of June 21, 2011. (Tr. 10). This application was denied
initially and again upon reconsideration. (Tr. 126-149).
Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing on her denied
application. (Tr. 173- 174). This hearing request was
granted, and Plaintiff's first administrative hearing was
held on April 20, 2011. (Tr. 83-100). This hearing was held
in Morgantown, West Virginia. Id. Thereafter, the
SSA held a second administrative hearing on November 26, 2013
in Fort Smith, Arkansas. (Tr. 30-82). At this hearing,
Plaintiff was present and was represented by Susan E.
Brockett. Id. Plaintiff, a witness for Plaintiff,
and Vocational Expert (“VE”) Monte Lumpkin
testified at this hearing. Id.
September 5, 2014, after the administrative hearing, the ALJ
entered a fully unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's
application. (Tr. 7-24). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had not
engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity (“SGA”)
since August 8, 2011, her application date. (Tr. 12, Finding
1). The ALJ determined Plaintiff has the following severe
impairments: mild degenerative disc disease of the lumbar
spine, fibromyalgia, hypothyroidism, obesity, migraines,
history of seizures and syncope, interstitial cystitis,
bipolar disorder and mood disorder (not otherwise specified),
anxiety disorder (not otherwise specified), PTSD, borderline
personality disorder, and polysubstance dependence. (Tr. 12,
Finding 2). 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.
12-15, Finding 3).
decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined her RFC. (Tr. 15-22, Finding 4).
First, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and found her claimed limitations were not
entirely credible. Id. Second, the ALJ determined
Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform a wide range of
After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual
functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20
CFR 416.967(b) except she can only occasionally climb,
balance, stoop, kneel, crouch and crawl, and she must avoid
concentrated exposure to hazards, including no driving as
part of work. Further, she can perform simple, routine,
repetitive tasks in an environment with incidental
interpersonal contact with coworkers and supervisors, no
contact with the general public, and simple, direct and
found Plaintiff had a limited education and was able to
communicate in English. (Tr. 23, Finding 7). The ALJ also
found Plaintiff was thirty-one (31) years old, which is
defined as a “younger person” under 20 C.F.R.
§ 416.963(c). (Tr. 22, Finding 6). The ALJ evaluated
Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work (“PRW”) and
found Plaintiff was unable to perform any of her PRW. (Tr.
22, Finding 5). The ALJ then determined whether Plaintiff
retained the capacity other work existing in significant
numbers in the national economy. (Tr. 23, Finding 9). The VE
testified at the administrative hearing regarding this issue.
Plaintiff's RFC and other limitations, the ALJ determined
a hypothetical person with those limitations retains the
capacity to perform occupations such as the following: (1)
production helper (light, unskilled) with representative
occupations including laundry folder and fabric layout worker
with 2, 241 such jobs in Arkansas and 87, 246 such jobs in
the national economy; and (2) food processor (light,
unskilled) with representative occupations including conveyor
bakery line worker and spice mixer with 581 such jobs in
Arkansas and 9, 042 such jobs in the national economy. (Tr.
23, Finding 9). Because Plaintiff retained the capacity to
perform these jobs, she retained the capacity to perform
other work. Accordingly, the ALJ determined Plaintiff had not
been under a disability, as defined by the Act, from August
8, 2011 (her application date) through September 5, 2014
(ALJ's decision date). (Tr. 24, Finding 10).
sought review with the Appeals Council. (Tr. 5). Thereafter,
on October 2, 2015, the Appeals Council denied
Plaintiff's request for review. (Tr. 1-3). On October 26,
2015, Plaintiff filed her Complaint in this case. ECF No. 1.
Both Parties have filed appeal briefs and have consented to
the jurisdiction of this Court. ECF Nos. 12, 14. This case is
now ready for decision.