United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fayetteville Division
FRANK ANDREW STROINSKI, JR. PLAINTIFF
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Commissioner Social Security Administration DEFENDANT
ERIN L. SETSER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Frank Andrew Stroinski, Jr., brings this action pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 405(g), seeking judicial review of a
decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security
Administration (“Commissioner”) denying his
claims for a period of disability and disability insurance
benefits (“DIB”) benefits under the provisions of
Title II of the Social Security Act (“Act”). In
this judicial review, the Court must determine whether there
is substantial evidence in the administrative record to
support the Commissioner's decision. See 42
U.S.C. § 405(g).
protectively filed his application for DIB on September 26,
2012. (ECF No. 15, p. 235). In his application, Plaintiff
alleges disability due to degenerative disc disease and other
back problems. (ECF No. 15, pp. 14, 239). Plaintiff alleges
an onset date of September 14, 2012. (ECF No. 15, pp. 14,
235). This application was denied initially and again upon
reconsideration. (ECF No. 15, pp. 108-16, 119-30).
Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing on his denied
applications, and this hearing request was granted. (ECF No.
15, pp. 34, 45). Plaintiff's administrative hearing was
held on February 11, 2014, in Fayetteville, Arkansas (ECF No.
15, pp. 56-102). Plaintiff was present and was represented by
Greg Thurman. Id. Plaintiff, Plaintiff's spouse
Paula Renee Stroinski, and Vocational Expert
(“VE”) James Spragens testified at this hearing.
Id. At the time of this hearing, Plaintiff was
fifty-three (53) years old, which is defined as a
“person closely approaching advanced age” under
20 C.F.R. 404.1563(d). (ECF No. 15, p. 59). As for his level
of education, Plaintiff completed the tenth grade and does
not have a GED. Id.
this hearing, on June 11, 2014, the ALJ entered an
unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's application for
DIB. (ECF No. 15, pp. 11-21). In this decision, the ALJ found
Plaintiff met the insured status requirements of the Act
through December 31, 2017. (ECF No. 15, p. 16, Finding 1).
The ALJ found Plaintiff had not engaged in Substantial
Gainful Activity (“SGA”) since September 14,
2012, his alleged onset date. (ECF No. 15, p. 16, Finding 2).
The ALJ determined Plaintiff had the following severe
impairments: degenerative disc disease, back disorder, and
thyroid disorder. (ECF No. 15, p. 16, Finding 3). Despite
being severe, the ALJ determined these impairments did not
meet or medically equal the requirements of any of the
Listings of Impairments in Appendix 1 to Subpart P of Part
404 (“Listings”). (ECF No. 15, pp. 16-17, Finding
then considered Plaintiff's Residual Functional Capacity
(“RFC”). (ECF No. 15, pp. 17-19, 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(b) except can
occasionally climb, balance, crawl, kneel, stoop, and crouch.
then determined Plaintiff was unable to perform his Past
Relevant Work (“PRW”). (ECF No. 15, p. 19,
Finding 6). The VE testified at the administrative hearing
regarding this issue. (ECF No. 15, pp. 95-100). 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 price marker, which has a DOT code of 209.587-034, with
approximately four hundred seventy-seven thousand (477, 000)
jobs in the national economy, and approximately four thousand
two hundred (4, 200) jobs in the state of Arkansas, as a
plastics molding machine tender, which has a DOT code of
556.685-022, with approximately one hundred sixty-eight
thousand (168, 000) jobs in the national economy, and
approximately two thousand four hundred (2, 400) jobs in the
state of Arkansas, and as a poultry plant production worker,
which has a DOT code of 525.687-074, with approximately
thirty-eight thousand (38, 000) jobs in the national economy
and two thousand (2, 000) jobs in the state of Arkansas. (ECF
No. 15, p. 20, Finding 10). 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 September 14, 2012,
through June 11, 2014, the date of the ALJ's decision.
(ECF No. 15, p. 20, Finding 11).
on August 1, 2014, Plaintiff requested a review by the
Appeals Council (ECF. No. 15, pp. 27-37). The Appeals Council
denied this request on August 19, 2015. (ECF No. 15, pp.
5-7). On October 7, 2015, Plaintiff filed the present appeal
with this Court. (ECF No. 1). The Parties consented to the
jurisdiction of this Court on October 15, 2015. (ECF No. 6).
This case is now ready for decision.
Court's role is to determine whether substantial evidence
supports the Commissioner's findings. Vossen v.
Astrue, 612 F.3d 1011, 1015 (8th Cir. 2010). Substantial
evidence is less than a preponderance but it is enough that a
reasonable mind would find it adequate to support the
Commissioner's decision. Teague v. Astrue, 638
F.3d 611, 614 (8th Cir. 2011). We must affirm the ALJ's
decision if the record contains substantial evidence to
support it. Blackburn v. Colvin, 761 F.3d 853, 858
(8th Cir. 2014). As long 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. Miller v. Colvin, 784 F.3d 472, 477
(8th Cir. 2015). In other words, if after reviewing the
record it is possible to draw two inconsistent positions from
the evidence and one of those positions represents the
findings of the ALJ, we must affirm the ALJ's decision.
claimant for Social Security disability benefits has the
burden of proving his disability by establishing a physical
or mental disability that has lasted at least one year and
that prevents her from engaging in any substantial gainful
activity. Pearsall v. Massanari, 274 F.3d 1211, 1217
(8th Cir. 2001); See also 42 U.S.C. §§
423(d)(1)(A). The Act defines “physical or mental
impairment” as “an impairment that results from
anatomical, physiological, or psychological abnormalities
which are demonstrable by medically acceptable clinical and
laboratory diagnostic ...