United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fort Smith Division
BARRY A. BRYANT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Inez Bruno (“Plaintiff”) brings this action
pursuant to § 205(g) of Title II of the Social Security
Act (“The Act”), 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) (2006),
seeking judicial review of a final decision of the
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
(“SSA”) denying her application for Disability
Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) and Supplemental
Security Income (“SSI”) under Titles II and XVI
of the Act. The 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. 6. Pursuant to this authority, the Court
issues this memorandum opinion and orders the entry of a
final judgment in this matter.
application for DIB was filed on July 21, 2010 and SSI was
filed on July 24, 2010. (Tr. 46-49, 103-110). Plaintiff
alleged she was disabled due to ADHD, clinical depression,
and inter-explosive disorder. (Tr. 140). Plaintiff alleged an
onset date of January 1, 2009. Id. These
applications were denied initially and again upon
reconsideration. (Tr. 9). Thereafter, Plaintiff requested an
administrative hearing on her applications and this hearing
request was granted. (Tr. 65).
hearing, the ALJ issued an unfavorable decision on October
26, 2011. (Tr. 9-18). The Appeals Council denied review. (Tr.
1-5). Plaintiff successfully appealed this decision and on
January 16, 2014, this Court reversed and remanded the case
to the Commissioner. (Tr. 353-361).
had subsequent administrative hearings December 1, 2014 and
on July 14, 2015. (Tr. 272-305, 252-271). During the July
2015 hearing, it was noted Plaintiff had failed to appear for
three consultative exams. (Tr. 254). Also at this hearing,
Plaintiff amended her claim and requested a closed period of
disability from January 1, 2009 through March 30, 2013,
because she went back to work. (Tr. 255-256, 266-267, 276,
was present and was represented by counsel, David Harp, at
the hearings. (Tr. 252-271, 272-305). Plaintiff and
Vocational Expert (“VE”) Debra Steele testified
at the hearings. Id. At the time of the hearings,
Plaintiff was twenty-seven (27) years old and had a tenth
grade education. (Tr. 278-279).
November 4, 2015, the ALJ entered an unfavorable decision
denying Plaintiff's application for DIB and SSI. (Tr.
235-246). In this decision, the ALJ determined the Plaintiff
met the insured status requirements of the Act through
September 30, 2009. (Tr. 237, Finding 1). The ALJ also
determined Plaintiff had not engaged in Substantial Gainful
Activity (“SGA”) from January 1, 2009, through
March 30, 2013. (Tr. 237, Finding 2).
determined Plaintiff had the severe impairments of dysthymia,
a learning disorder, anxiety disorder, personality disorder,
and intermittent explosive disorder. (Tr. 237, Finding 3).
The ALJ then determined Plaintiff's impairments did not
meet or medically equal the requirements of any of the
Listing of Impairments in Appendix 1 to Subpart P of
Regulations No. 4 (“Listings”). (Tr. 238, Finding
decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined her RFC. (Tr. 239-244). First, the
ALJ indicated he evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and found her claimed limitations were not
entirely credible. Id. Second, the ALJ determined
Plaintiff retained the RFC to perform a full range of work at
all exertional levels except only where interpersonal contact
with coworkers and supervisors was incidental to the work
performed; no contact with the public; complexity of task was
learned and performed by rote with few variables and use of
little judgment; and the supervision was simple, direct, and
concrete. (Tr. 239-240, Finding 5).
evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”). (Tr. 244, Finding 6). The ALJ found
Plaintiff had no PRW during the alleged closed period of
disability. Id. The ALJ, however, also determined
there was other work existing in significant numbers in the
national economy Plaintiff could perform. (Tr. 245, Finding
10). The ALJ based this determination upon the testimony of
the VE. Id. Specifically, the VE testified that
given all Plaintiff's vocational factors, a hypothetical
individual would be able to perform the requirements of a
representative occupation such as production helper with 900
such jobs statewide and 38, 100 such jobs in the nation,
industrial cleaner with 9, 000 such jobs statewide and 1,
096, 000 such jobs in the nation, gluer with 3, 900 such jobs
statewide and 220, 100 such jobs in the nation, photo machine
copy operator with 190 such jobs statewide and 27, 200 such
jobs in the nation, press clipping cutter and paster with 700
such jobs statewide and 99, 900 such jobs in the nation, and
nut sorter with 160 such jobs statewide and 13, 600 such jobs
in the nation. Id. Based upon this finding, the ALJ
determined Plaintiff had not been under a disability as
defined by the Act from January 1, 2009 to March 30, 2013.
(Tr. 246, Finding 11).
exhausted all administrative remedies, and on December 23,
2015, Plaintiff filed the present appeal. ECF No. 1. The
Parties consented to the jurisdiction of this Court on
December 29, 2015. ECF No. 6. Both Parties have filed appeal
briefs. ECF Nos. 12, 14. 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 support the
Commissioner's decision. See Johnson v. Apfel,240 F.3d 1145, 1147 (8th Cir. 2001). 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. See Haley v.
Massanari,258 F.3d 742, 747 (8th Cir. 2001). If, after
reviewing the record, it is possible to ...