United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Texarkana Division
QUINTAVIOUS E. HAYES PLAINTIFF
CAROLYN COLVIN Commissioner, Social Security Administration DEFENDANT
BARRY A. BRYANT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Hayes (“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 his application for Supplemental
Security Income (“SSI”) under Title 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. 7. Pursuant to this authority, the Court
issues this memorandum opinion and orders the entry of a
final judgment in this matter.
application for SSI was filed on October 29, 2012. (Tr. 19,
161-169). Plaintiff alleged he was disabled due to his left
arm being paralyzed due to a football injury. (Tr. 186).
Plaintiff alleged an onset date of October 11, 2011, which
was amended to October 29, 2012. (Tr. 19, 161). This
application was denied initially and again upon
reconsideration. (Tr. 73-105). Thereafter, Plaintiff
requested an administrative hearing on his application and
this hearing request was granted. (Tr. 115).
administrative hearing was held on July 29, 2014. (Tr.
37-72). Plaintiff was present and was represented by counsel,
Greg Giles, at this hearing. Id. Plaintiff, his
grandmother Glenda Randall, Medical Expert Dr. Charles
Murphy, and Vocational Expert (“VE”) Susan
Johnson testified at this hearing. Id. At the time
of this hearing, Plaintiff was twenty (20) years old and had
a high school education. (Tr. 42, 46).
November 14, 2014, the ALJ entered an unfavorable decision
denying Plaintiff's application for SSI. (Tr. 19-32). In
this decision, the ALJ determined Plaintiff had not engaged
in Substantial Gainful Activity (“SGA”) from
October 29, 2012, his application date. (Tr. 21, Finding 1).
The ALJ also determined Plaintiff had the severe impairments
of residuals of an injury of the left brachial plexus due to
a football injury of the left arm (now nonfunctional left
upper extremity) and borderline intellectual functioning.
(Tr. 21, Finding 2). 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. 26,
decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined his RFC. (Tr. 28-31). First, the
ALJ indicated he evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and found his claimed limitations were not
entirely credible. Id. Second, the ALJ determined
Plaintiff retained the RFC for light work except an inability
to reach in all directions on more than a frequent basis with
the right upper extremity; inability to reach, finger or feel
with the left non-dominant upper extremity; ability to climb
ramps and stairs constantly but not climbing ladders, ropes,
or scaffolds; inability to crawl; must avoid exposure to
unprotected heights, moving machinery, uneven terrain, open
bodies of water, open flames, or commercial driving; able to
perform simple, routine and repetitive tasks; can be exposed
to the general public; can sustain concentration for two
hours at a time during an 8-hour workday; can tolerate change
in routine work environment; and can use judgment
appropriately. (Tr. 28, Finding 4).
evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”). (Tr. 31, Finding 5). The ALJ found
Plaintiff had no PRW. Id. The ALJ, however, also
determined there was other work existing in significant
numbers in the national economy Plaintiff could perform. (Tr.
31, Finding 9). 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 usher
with 2, 800 such jobs in Arkansas and 75, 000 such jobs in
the nation, hostess with 750 such jobs in Arkansas and 66,
000 such jobs in the nation, and school bus monitor with 450
such jobs in Arkansas and 60, 000 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 since October 29, 2012. (Tr. 32, Finding 10).
Plaintiff requested the Appeals Council review the ALJ's
decision. (Tr. 14). See 20 C.F.R. § 404.968.
The Appeals Council declined to review this unfavorable
decision. (Tr. 1-4). On February 24, 2016, Plaintiff filed
the present appeal. ECF No. 1. The Parties consented to the
jurisdiction of this Court on February 25, 2016. ECF No. 7.
Both Parties have filed appeal briefs. ECF Nos. 11, 12. 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 draw two inconsistent
positions from the evidence and one of those positions
represents the findings of the ALJ, the decision of the ALJ
must be affirmed. See Young v. Apfel, 221 F.3d 1065,
1068 (8th Cir. 2000).
well established that a claimant for Social Security
disability benefits has the burden of proving his or her
disability by establishing a physical or mental disability
that lasted at least one year and that prevents him or her
from engaging in any substantial gainful activity. See
Cox v. Apfel, 160 F.3d 1203, 1206 (8th Cir. 1998); 42
U.S.C. §§ 423(d)(1)(A), 1382c(a)(3)(A). The Act
defines a “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 techniques.” 42 U.S.C. §§
423(d)(3), 1382(3)(c). A plaintiff must show that his or her
disability, not simply his or her impairment, has lasted for
at least twelve consecutive months. See 42 U.S.C.
determine whether the adult claimant suffers from a
disability, the Commissioner uses the familiar five-step
sequential evaluation. He determines: (1) whether the
claimant is presently engaged in a “substantial gainful
activity”; (2) whether the claimant has a severe
impairment that significantly limits the claimant's
physical or mental ability to perform basic work activities;
(3) whether the claimant has an impairment that meets or
equals a presumptively disabling impairment listed in the
regulations (if so, the claimant is disabled without regard
to age, education, and work experience); (4) whether the
claimant has the Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) to
perform his or her past relevant work; and (5) if the
claimant cannot perform the past work, the burden shifts to
the Commissioner to prove that there are other jobs in the
national economy that the claimant can perform. See
Cox, 160 F.3d at 1206; 20 C.F.R. §§
404.1520(a)-(f). The fact finder only considers the
plaintiff's age, education, and work experience in light
of his or her RFC if the final stage of this analysis is
reached. See 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520,