United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fort Smith Division
CHRISTINA L. ASHLEY PLAINTIFF
NANCY BERRYHILL Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration DEFENDANT
BARRY A. BRYANT, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Ashley (“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 a period of
disability, Disability Insurance Benefits
(“DIB”), and Supplemental Security Income
(“SSI”) 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 application for DIB on
September 25, 2013 and for SSI on October 15, 2013. (Tr. 13,
183-191). In her applications, Plaintiff alleges being
disabled due to arthritis, back, hip, and feet pain, high
blood pressure, diabetes, liver mass, migraines, and one
kidney functioning at 50 percent with the other removed due
to kidney cancer. (Tr. 225). Plaintiff alleges an onset date
of July 26, 2013. (Tr. 13, 183, 186). These applications were
denied initially and again upon reconsideration. (Tr.
Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing on her denied
applications, and this hearing request was granted. (Tr.
141-142). Plaintiff's administrative hearing was held on
November 7, 2014. (Tr. 26-78). Plaintiff was present and was
represented by counsel, Michael Hamby. Plaintiff, her
ex-husband Gregory White, and Vocational Expert
(“VE”) Jim Spragins testified at this hearing.
Id. At this hearing, Plaintiff testified she was
sixty (60) years old and had completed one year of college.
this hearing, on May 8, 2015, the ALJ entered an unfavorable
decision denying Plaintiff's applications. (Tr. 13-20).
The ALJ determined Plaintiff met the insured status
requirements of the Act through December 31, 2018. (Tr. 15,
Finding 1). The ALJ also determined Plaintiff had not engaged
in Substantial Gainful Activity (“SGA”) since
July 26, 2013, her alleged onset date. (Tr. 15, Finding 2).
then determined Plaintiff had the following severe
impairments: osteoarthritis/degenerative disc disease of the
lumbar spine, mild bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome,
hypertension, diabetes mellitus II, chronic kidney disease,
osteoarthritis of the bilateral hips and shoulders,
hyperparathyroidism, obesity, and a history of right
nephrectomy. (Tr. 15, 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 Regulations No. 4
(“Listings”). (Tr. 16, Finding 4).
then considered Plaintiff's Residual Functional Capacity
(“RFC”). (Tr. 17, 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 RFC to
perform sedentary work only occasional climbing, balancing,
stooping, kneeling, crouching, and crawling, and frequent
(not constant) handling and fingering bilaterally.
evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”). (Tr. 20, Finding 6). The VE testified at
the administrative hearing regarding this issue. Id.
Based upon that testimony, the ALJ determined Plaintiff
retained the capacity to perform her PRW as a medical clerk.
Id. Because Plaintiff retained the capacity to
perform her PRW, the ALJ determined she had not been under a
disability, as defined by the Act, from July 26, 2013 through
the date of his decision. (Tr. 20, Finding 7).
on March 14, 2016, Plaintiff filed the present appeal with
this Court. ECF No. 1. The Parties consented to the
jurisdiction of this Court. ECF No. 5. This case is now ready
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 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