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Jones v. Berryhill

United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Eastern Division

March 2, 2017

SCOTT JONES PLAINTIFF
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration DEFENDANT

          RECOMMENDED DISPOSITION

         Instructions

         The following Recommended Disposition (“Recommendation”) has been sent to Judge Billy Roy Wilson. You may file written objections to all or part of this Recommendation. If you do so, those objections must specifically explain the factual or legal basis for your objection. Objections must be received by the Clerk of this Court within fourteen days of this Recommendation. By not objecting, you may waive the right to appeal questions of fact.

         Background

         Scott Jones applied for social security disability benefits on April 30, 2013, alleging an onset date of November 13, 1995. (R. at 55). A hearing was held, but Mr. Jones waived his right to appear. (R. at 21). The administrative law judge (ALJ) denied benefits, and the Appeals Council denied review. (R. at 6). Mr. Jones then requested judicial review.

         For the reasons stated below, the Commissioner's decision should be affirmed.

         I. The Commissioner's Decision

         The ALJ found that Mr. Jones had the following severe impairments: depression, anxiety, history of polysubstance abuse, back pain, personality disorders, paranoia, and seizures. (R. at 23). The ALJ determined that Mr. Jones had the residual functional capacity (RFC) to perform light work, with the ability to lift and carry 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently. (R. at 24). In addition to exertional limitations, the ALJ found non-exertional limitations: Mr. Jones could perform simple, unskilled, or rote work; could understand, follow, and remember concrete instructions; should be limited to superficial contact with supervisors, co-workers, and the public; and should not handle money, due to a history of drug use and incarceration. (R. at 24). Mr. Jones had no past relevant work. (R. at 29).

         After hearing testimony from a vocational expert (VE), the ALJ found that Mr. Jones could perform jobs that existed in sufficient numbers, including production assembly or poultry deboner. (R. at 30).

         II. Discussion

         Mr. Jones does not identify any specific error committed by the ALJ. Instead, he argues generally that he is disabled due to various conditions and recounts findings from the medical records. The Commissioner contends that substantial evidence on the record as a whole supports the ALJ's decision.

         The Court reviews the record to determine whether substantial evidence supports the Commissioner's findings. Prosch v. Apfel, 201 F.3d 1010, 1012 (8th Cir. 2000). “Substantial evidence” means “enough that a reasonable mind would find it adequate to support the ALJ's decision.” Slusser v. Astrue, 557 F.3d 923, 925 (8th Cir. 2009) (citation omitted). The Commissioner's decision is supported by ample evidence in the record as a whole.

         Mr. Jones presented to Helena Regional Medical Center's Emergency Department on January 31, 2012, with complaints of pain in multiple areas. (R. at 178). On examination, however, he showed no evidence of trauma; and he had normal vital signs and normal range of motion. (R. at 179). Mr. Jones was discharged after a Toradol injection. (R. at 179-80).

         Thomas O. Bailey, M.D., performed a physical examination of Mr. Jones on June 12, 2013, and found only mild to moderate limitations. (R. at 183-87). Dr. Bailey diagnosed uncontrolled hypertension, type 2 diabetes mellitus, seizure disorder, and paranoia/delusional disorder. (R. at 187). At the examination, however, Mr. Jones had a blood pressure of 126/87 and normal range of motion. (R. at 184-85). The record also contains no record of treatment for hypertension and diabetes. Dr. Bailey's diagnoses, as observed by the ALJ, seemed to be based on Mr. Jones's own statements. (R. at 29).

         Mr. Jones has had three mental diagnostic evaluations with Charles Spellman, Ph.D. At the first, Mr. Jones claimed that he did not know how to cook, make a sandwich, or pour a bowl of cereal. (R. at 268). He stated that he quit school after the seventh grade, had no children, and could not dress himself. (R. at 268). Dr. Spellman ...


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