United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fort Smith Division
LEWIS W. HAWKINS PLAINTIFF
NANCY A. BERRYHILL Acting Commissioner, Social Security AdministrationDEFENDANT
BARRY A. BRYANT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
W. Hawkins (“Plaintiff”) brings this action under
42 U.S.C. § 405(g), seeking judicial review of a final
decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security
Administration (“SSA”) denying his claim for a
period of disability, disability insurance benefits
(“DIB”), and supplemental security income
(“SSI”) benefits under Titles II and XVI of the
Social Security Act (“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 his disability applications for DIB and
SSI on November 29, 2010. (ECF No. 15, p. 19). In his
applications, Plaintiff alleges being disabled due to major
depression, other mental issues, and a sleep disorder. (ECF
No. 15, p. 204). Plaintiff alleges an onset date of January
1, 2008. (ECF No. 15, pp. 19, 200). These applications were
denied initially and again upon reconsideration. (ECF No. 15,
Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing on his denied
applications, and this hearing request was granted. (ECF No.
15, pp.113-20). Plaintiff's administrative hearing was
held on October 19, 2011, in Fort Smith, Arkansas. (ECF No.
15, pp. 45-75). At the time of this hearing, Plaintiff was
forty-five (45) years old, which is defined as a
“younger person” under 20 C.F.R. §§
404.1563(c), 416.963(c). (ECF No. 15, p. 200). As for his
level of education, Plaintiff completed the ninth grade. (ECF
No. 15, p. 205).
this hearing, on November 4, 2011, the ALJ entered an
unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's applications for
DIB and SSI (ECF No. 15, pp. 16-30). Thereafter, on November
17, 2011, Plaintiff requested a review by the Appeals
Council. (ECF No. 15, p. 13). The Appeals Council denied this
request on April 19, 2013. (ECF No. 15, pp. 6-9). On June 7,
2013, Plaintiff filed an appeal with this Court and a
Judgment was entered on August 29, 2014, reversing and
remanding the Commissioner's decision, and for further
development regarding Plaintiff's Global Assessment of
Functioning (“GAF”) scores. Hawkins v.
Colvin, No. 2:13-cv-02149, 2014 WL 4264762 (W.D. Ark.
Plaintiff's new administrative hearing was held on March
11, 2015, in Fort Smith, Arkansas. (ECF No. 15, pp. 516-40).
Plaintiff appeared via teleconference from the Arkansas
Department of Corrections in Malvern, Arkansas and was
represented by Fred Caddell. (ECF No. 15, pp. 495, 516-18,
521). Plaintiff and Vocational Expert (“VE”) Dr.
Larry Cyford testified at this hearing. (ECF No. 15, pp.
this hearing, on October 21, 2015, the ALJ entered an
unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's applications for
DIB and SSI. (ECF No. 15, pp. 492-509). In this decision, the
ALJ found Plaintiff met the insured status requirements of
the Act through June 30, 2012. (ECF No. 15, p. 497, Finding
1). The ALJ found Plaintiff had not engaged in Substantial
Gainful Activity (“SGA”) since January 1, 2008,
his alleged onset date. (ECF No. 15, p. 497, Finding 2). The
ALJ determined Plaintiff had the following severe
impairments: major depression, polysubstance abuse vs.
dependence in questionable remission, and antisocial
personality traits. (ECF No. 15, p. 498, 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. 498-500,
then considered Plaintiff's Residual Functional Capacity
(“RFC”). (ECF No. 15, pp. 500-07, 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: “a full range of
work at all exertional levels but with the following
nonexertional limitations: the [sic] is limited to work
involving simple, routine, and repetitive tasks, involving
only simple, work-related decisions, with few, if any,
workplace changes, and no more than incidental contact with
co-workers, supervisors, and the general public”
Id. at 500.
then determined Plaintiff could not return to his Past
Relevant Work (“PRW”). (ECF No. 15, p, 507,
Finding 6). The VE testified at the administrative hearing
regarding this issue. (ECF No. 15, pp. 536-38). 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 an ordinance checker, which has a DOT code of 737.687-026,
with approximately twelve thousand one hundred fifty (12,
150) jobs in the national economy, and approximately one
hundred seventy-four (174) jobs in the state of Arkansas, as
an ampoule sealer, which has a DOT code of 559.687-014, with
approximately twenty-four thousand thirty-three (24, 033)
jobs in the national economy, and approximately one hundred
seventy (170) jobs in the state of Arkansas, and as a circuit
board inspector, which has a DOT code of 726.684-110, with
approximately seven thousand four hundred seventy-nine (7,
479) jobs in the national economy, and approximately one
hundred seven (107) jobs in the state of Arkansas. (ECF No.
15, p. 508-09, 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 January 1, 2008,
through October 21, 2015, the date of the ALJ's decision.
(ECF No. 15, p. 509, Finding 11).
on December 30, 2015, Plaintiff filed the present appeal with
this Court. (ECF No. 1). The Parties consented to the
jurisdiction of this Court on December 31, 2015. (ECF No. 5).
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 ...