United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Texarkana Division
BARRY A. BRYANT, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Rollins (“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 her 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 her applications for DIB and SSI on March
12, 2010. (ECF No. 15, p. 316). In her applications,
Plaintiff alleges being disabled due to diabetes, seizures, a
heart condition, high blood pressure, and acid reflux. (ECF
No. 15, p. 273). Plaintiff alleges an onset date of December
26, 2009. (ECF No. 15, p. 315). These applications were
denied initially and again upon reconsideration. (ECF No. 15,
Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing on her denied
applications, and this hearing request was granted. (ECF No.
15, p. 149). Plaintiff's first administrative hearing was
held on May 13, 2011, in Arkansas before Administrative Law
Judge (“ALJ”) Walter Orr. (ECF No. 15, pp.
45-62). Plaintiff, who appeared without the assistance of an
attorney or other counsel, and Vocational Expert
(“VE”) Julia Crume testified at this hearing.
Id. After this hearing, on July 6, 2011, the ALJ
entered an unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's
applications for DIB and SSI. (ECF No. 15, pp. 102-14). The
Appeals Council remanded the case to the ALJ on October 28,
2011, for further consideration of Plaintiff's RFC and
evaluation of the opinions of consultative examiners Dr.
Cathy Word and Julia Wood. (ECF No. 15, pp. 120-22).
Plaintiff's second administrative hearing was held on
January 18, 2012, in Arkansas before ALJ Walter Orr. (ECF No.
15, pp. 63-97). Plaintiff, who appeared without the
assistance of an attorney or other counsel, VE Russell
Bowden, and psychological expert Betty Feir testified at this
hearing. Id. After this hearing, on April 11, 2012,
the ALJ entered an unfavorable decision denying
Plaintiff's applications for DIB And SSI. (ECF No. 15,
pp. 18-38). Plaintiff thereafter requested review by the
Appeals Council, who denied this request on August 6, 2012.
(ECF No. 15, pp. 10-13).
subsequently filed an appeal with this Court. Rollins v.
Colvin, No. 4:12-cv-04099, 2013 WL 3897771 (W.D. Ark.
2013). The April 11, 2012, decision of the ALJ was reversed
and remanded for failure to properly analyze Plaintiff's
subjective complaints in accordance with the requirements of
Polaski v. Heckler, 739 F.2d 1320 (8th Cir. 1984).
Id. Plaintiff's third administrative hearing was
held on October 9, 2014, in Dallas North, Texas before ALJ
Michael Finnie. (ECF No. 15, pp. 829-61). Plaintiff was
present and was represented by Greg Jones. Id.
Plaintiff and VE Susan Dobson testified at this hearing.
Id. At the time of this hearing, Plaintiff was forty
years old, which is defined as a “younger person”
under 20 C.F.R. § 404.1563(c); 20 C.F.R. §
416.963(c). (ECF No. 15, p. 833). As for her level of
education, Plaintiff completed the twelfth grade.
this hearing, on April 24, 2015, the ALJ entered an
unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's applications for
DIB and SSI. (ECF No. 15, pp. 770-86). In this decision, the
ALJ found Plaintiff met the insured status requirements of
the Act through March 31, 2014. (ECF No. 15, p. 775, Finding
1). The ALJ found Plaintiff had not engaged in Substantial
Gainful Activity (“SGA”) since December 26, 2009,
her alleged onset date. (ECF No. 15, pp. 775-76, Finding 2).
The ALJ determined Plaintiff had the following severe
impairments: seizure disorder, headache, diabetes with
neuropathy, irritable bowel syndrome, gastric esophageal
reflux disease, hypertension, obstructive sleep apnea,
obesity, degenerative joint disease of the left knee,
affective disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, personality
disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder
(“PTSD”). (ECF No. 15, p. 776, 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. 776-77,
then considered Plaintiff's Residual Functional Capacity
(“RFC”). (ECF No. 15, pp. 777-84, 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:
a full range of light work as defined in 20 C.F.R.
404.1567(b) and 416.967(b) except that she can lift and/or
carry 20 pounds occasionally, lift and/or carry 10 pounds
frequently, stand/walk for 6 hours in an 8-hour workday, and
sit for 6 hours in an 8hour workday. The claimant must avoid
exposure to hazardous moving machinery, unprotected heights
and commercial driving. The claimant has the ability to
understand, carry out and remember simple, routine tasks,
with no more than occasional contact with the general public.
then determined Plaintiff was unable to perform any of her
Past Relevant Work (“PRW”). (ECF No. 15, p. 784,
Finding 6). The VE testified at the administrative hearing
regarding this issue. (ECF No. 15, pp. 854-60). 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 a silver wrapper, which has a DOT code of 318.687-018,
with approximately one hundred seven thousand (107, 000) jobs
in the national economy, and approximately three hundred
(300) jobs in the state of Arkansas, as a cleaner, which has
a DOT code of 323.687-014, with approximately one hundred
thirty-four thousand (134, 000) jobs in the national economy,
and approximately two thousand two hundred (2, 200) jobs in
the state of Arkansas, and as a locker room attendant, which
has a DOT code of 358.677-014, with approximately eighteen
thousand(18, 000) jobs in the national economy, and
approximately two hundred (200) jobs in the state of
Arkansas. (ECF No. 15, pp. 784-85, 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
December 26, 2009, through April 24, 2015, the date of the
ALJ's decision. (ECF No. 15, p. 785), Finding 11).
on May 4, 2015, Plaintiff requested a review by the Appeals
Council. (ECF No. 15, p. 799). The Appeals Council denied
this request on August 19, 2015. (ECF No. 15, pp. 765- 69).
On September 28, 2015, Plaintiff filed the present appeal
with this Court. (ECF No. 1). The Parties consented to the
jurisdiction of this Court on September 28, 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 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 to support 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