United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fort Smith Division
BARRY A. BRYANT, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Coletta (“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 applications for Supplemental
Security Income (“SSI”), Disability Insurance
Benefits (“DIB”), and a period of disability
under Titles II and XVI 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
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 applications on July 6,
2009. (Tr. 134-142). In her applications, Plaintiff alleges
being disabled due to lupus, thyroid problems, and back
problems. (Tr. 178). Plaintiff alleges an onset date of April
30, 2009. (Tr. 134, 136). These applications were denied
initially and again upon reconsideration. (Tr. 80-83).
Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing on her denied
applications. (Tr. 98). This hearing request was granted, and
Plaintiff's first administrative hearing was held on June
29, 2010 in Fort Smith, Arkansas. (Tr. 39-79). Subsequent to
this hearing, the ALJ entered a fully unfavorable decision
denying Plaintiff's applications. (Tr. 24-34). Plaintiff
appealed that decision to this Court, and Plaintiff's
case was reversed and remanded back to the ALJ. (Tr.
to that remand, the ALJ held a second administrative hearing
on March 3, 2014 in Fort Smith, Arkansas. (Tr. 787). The ALJ
then entered a second fully unfavorable decision on September
5, 2014. (Tr. 597-612). In that decision, the ALJ determined
Plaintiff met the insured status requirements of the Act
through December 31, 2013. (Tr. 602, Finding 1). The ALJ
determined Plaintiff had not engaged in Substantial Gainful
Activity (“SGA”) since April 30, 2009, her
alleged disability onset date. (Tr. 602, Finding 2). The ALJ
determined Plaintiff has the following severe impairments:
musculoskeletal disorder (back disorder, lumbar degenerative
disc disease post surgery X2) (7240), musculoskeletal
disorder (other and unspecified arthropathies, left shoulder
joint post-surgery and history of right long finger surgery)
(7160), neurological disorder (carpal tunnel syndrome, post
right carpal tunnel release surgery) (3540), endocrine
disorder (thyroid disorder) (24060), and immune system
disorder (inflammatory arthropaties, systemic lupus
erythematosus) (7140). (Tr. 602-603, 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. 604-605, Finding 4).
decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined her RFC. (Tr. 605-609, Finding 5).
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 sedentary work as defined in
20 CFR 404.1567(a) and 416.967(a) except as follows: The
claimant cannot climb ladders, ropes or scaffolds. The
claimant can occasionally climb ramps and stairs, balance,
stoop, kneel, crouch and crawl. The claimant can occasionally
reach or work overhead with the dominant left upper
extremity. The claimant can frequently, but not constantly,
reach in all other directions with the left upper extremity.
The claimant cannot engage in rapid, repetitive flexion or
extension of the right wrist.
her RFC, the ALJ determined Plaintiff was unable to perform
any of her Past Relevant Work (“PRW”) during the
relevant time period. (Tr. 610, Finding 6). The ALJ
determined Plaintiff was forty-six (46) years old on her
alleged onset date. (Tr. 610, Finding 7). Such a person is
categorized as a “younger person” pursuant to 20
C.F.R. § 404.1563(c) and 20 C.F.R. § 416.963(c).
The ALJ determined Plaintiff had a limited education and was
able to communicate in English. (Tr. 610, Finding 8).
then determined whether Plaintiff retained the capacity to
perform other work existing in significant numbers in the
national economy. (Tr. 610-611, Finding 10). Vocational
Expert (“VE”) Larry Seifert testified at the
administrative hearing regarding this issue. Id.
Notably, the ALJ determined that a hypothetical person with
Plaintiff's age, education, work experience, and RFC
retained the capacity to perform work as a credit card
callout clerk (sedentary, unskilled) with 16, 397 such jobs
in the United States and 117 such jobs in Arkansas and as a
charge account clerk (sedentary, unskilled) with 33, 980 such
jobs in the United States and 382 such jobs in Arkansas.
Id. Accordingly, the ALJ determined Plaintiff
retained the capacity to perform this other work.
Id. Based upon this finding, the ALJ then found
Plaintiff had not been under a disability, as defined in the
Act, from April 30, 2009 through March 8, 2013. (Tr. 611,
sought review with the Appeals Council. (Tr. 621). On
September 29, 2015, the Appeals Council denied
Plaintiff's request for review. Id. On December
2, 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. 5, 11-12. This
case is now ready for decision.