United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Harrison Division
DANNY K. ROWE PLAINTIFF
NANCY A. BERRYHILL Acting Commissioner, Social Security AdministrationDEFENDANT
BARRY A. BRYANT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
K. Rowe (“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 and 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. 6). 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 14, 2012. (ECF No. 9, p. 15). In his
applications, Plaintiff alleges being disabled due to
epileptic seizures and scar tissue on his back. (ECF No. 9,
p. 228). Plaintiff alleges an onset date of May 3, 2011. (ECF
No. 9, pp. 15, 224). This application was denied initially
and again upon reconsideration. (ECF No. 9, pp. 63-106).
Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing on his denied
applications, and this hearing request was granted. (ECF No.
9, pp. 125-26). Plaintiff's administrative hearing was
held on August 15, 2014, in Fort Smith, Arkansas. (ECF No. 9,
pp. 31-62). Plaintiff was present and was represented by
Frederick Spencer. Id. Plaintiff and Vocational
Expert (“VE”) Sarah Moore testified at this
hearing. Id. At the time of this hearing, Plaintiff
was fifty-one (51) years old, which is defined as a
“person closely approaching advanced age” under
20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1563(d), 416.963(d). (ECF No. 9,
p. 39). As for his level of education, Plaintiff earned a
high school diploma. Id.
this hearing, on March 20, 2015, the ALJ entered an
unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's applications for
DIB and SSI. (ECF No. 9, pp. 12-25). In this decision, the
ALJ found Plaintiff met the insured status requirements of
the Act through December 31, 2014. (ECF No. 9, p. 17, Finding
1). The ALJ found Plaintiff had not engaged in Substantial
Gainful Activity (“SGA”) since May 3, 2011, his
alleged onset date. (ECF No. 9, p. 17, Finding 2). The ALJ
determined Plaintiff had the following severe impairments: a
history of burns (NOS); epilepsy; hepatitis c, and; squamous
cell carcinoma status post-surgery. (ECF No. 9, pp. 17-18,
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. 9,
pp. 18-19, Finding 4).
then considered Plaintiff's Residual Functional Capacity
(“RFC”). (ECF No. 9, pp. 19-24, 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:
medium work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(c) and 416.967(c)
except [Plaintiff] can sit for 6 hours out of an eight-hour
workday and can stand and/or walk for 6 hours out of an
eight-hour workday; and [Plaintiff] must avoid even moderate
exposure to hazardous machinery and unprotected heights.
then determined Plaintiff was able to perform his Past
Relevant Work (“PRW”) as a retail manager as
actually and generally performed. (ECF No. 9, pp. 24-25,
Finding 6). Because Plaintiff could perform his PRW, the ALJ
also determined Plaintiff had not been under a disability, as
defined by the Act, from May 3, 2011, through March 20, 2015,
the date of the ALJ's decision. (ECF No. 9, p. 25,
on April 3, 2015, Plaintiff requested a review by the Appeals
Council. (ECF No. 9, p. 10). The Appeals Council denied this
request on April 25, 2016. (ECF No. 9, pp. 5-8). On June 21,
2016, Plaintiff filed the present appeal with this Court.
(ECF No. 1). The Parties consented to the jurisdiction of
this Court on June 22, 2016. (ECF No. 6). 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 ...