United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fort Smith Division
ETHAN M. HILE PLAINTIFF
CAROLYN W. COLVIN Commissioner, Social Security Administration DEFENDANT
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE UNITED STATES
BARRY A. BRYANT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
M. Hile (“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 application for Supplemental
Security Income (“SSI”) under Title XVI of the
to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and (3)
(2009), the Honorable P. K. Holmes, III referred this case to
this Court for the purpose of making a report and
recommendation. In accordance with that referral, and after
reviewing the arguments in this case, this Court recommends
Plaintiff's case be AFFIRMED.
protectively filed his disability application on June 29,
2010. (Tr. 12, 121-124). In this application, Plaintiff
alleged being disabled due to aortic stenosis, high blood
pressure, and a heart murmur. (Tr. 151). Plaintiff alleges an
onset date of January 1, 1994. (Tr. 494). This application
was denied initially and again upon reconsideration. (Tr.
Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing, and that
hearing request was granted. (Tr. 39-63). Plaintiff's
first administrative hearing was held on October 26, 2011 in
Fort Smith, Arkansas. Id. After this administrative
hearing, the ALJ entered a fully unfavorable disability
determination denying Plaintiff's application for SSI.
(Tr. 9-22). Plaintiff appealed that denial to this Court, and
Plaintiff's case was reversed and remanded to afford the
ALJ the opportunity to fully consider the Polaski
factors. See Hile v. SSA, 2:13-cv-02009 (W.D. Ark.
May 14, 2014).
the ALJ held a second administrative hearing on March 31,
2015 in Fort Smith, Arkansas. (Tr. 514-543). At this hearing,
Plaintiff was present and was represented by counsel, Lauren
McKinnon. Id. Plaintiff and Vocational Expert
(“VE”) Monty Lumpkin testified at this hearing.
August 28, 2015, the ALJ again entered a fully unfavorable
decision denying Plaintiff's SSI application. (Tr.
491-507). In this decision, the ALJ found Plaintiff had not
engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity since June 29, 2010,
his application date. (Tr. 496, Finding 1). The ALJ found
Plaintiff had the following severe impairments: mild
subaortic stenosis, status postoperative; left eye strabismus
with amblyopia; major depressive disorder, moderate without
psychosis; post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic; and
personality disorder with cluster C traits. (Tr. 496-497,
Finding 2). Despite being severe, the ALJ determined those
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.
497-499, Finding 3).
decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined his Residual Functional Capacity
(“RFC”). (Tr. 499-505, Finding 4). 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 the following:
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 he cannot tolerate concentrated
exposure to extreme heat, and he can perform no more than
occasional reading. He is further limited and can perform
work that is limited to simple, routine, and repetitive tasks
involving only simple work-related decisions, with few, if
any, workplace changes. He can have no more than incidental
contact with co-workers, supervisors, and the general public.
evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”) and found Plaintiff had no PRW. (Tr. 505,
Finding 5). The ALJ determined Plaintiff was twenty (20)
years old at the time his application was filed, which is
classified as a “younger person” under 20 C.F.R.
§ 416.963(c). (Tr. 505, Finding 6). The ALJ also
determined Plaintiff had a limited education and was able to
communicate in English. (Tr. 505, Finding 7).
then determined whether there was other work existing in
significant numbers in the national economy that Plaintiff
could perform. (Tr. 506, Finding 9). The VE testified at the
administrative hearing regarding this issue. Id.
Specifically, the VE testified that a hypothetical person
with Plaintiff's limitations retained the capacity to
perform representative occupations such as the following: (1)
power screwdriver operator with 393 such jobs in the regional
economy and 55, 720 such jobs in the national economy; and
(2) can filling and closing machine tender with 261 such jobs
in the regional economy and 24, 562 such jobs in the national
economy. Id. Based upon this testimony, and because
Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform this work, the ALJ
determined Plaintiff had not been under a disability, as
defined by the Act, from June 29, 2010 (application date)
through August 28, 2015 (ALJ's decision date).
Thereafter, Plaintiff requested the Appeals Council's
review of the ALJ's decision. (Tr. 489). On December 23,
2015, Plaintiff filed the present appeal. ECF No. 1. Both
Parties have filed appeal briefs. ECF Nos. 10, 13. This case
is now ready for decision.