United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fort Smith Division
TREVOR L. FISHER PLAINTIFF
NANCY A. BERRYHILL Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration DEFENDANT
BARRY A. BRYANT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
L. Fisher (“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 his applications for Supplemental
Security Income (“SSI”), Disability Insurance
Benefits (“DIB”), and a period of disability
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. 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 on September
19, 2013. (Tr. 8, 113-142, 231-244). In his applications,
Plaintiff alleges being disabled due to bipolar borderline
personality and headaches. (Tr. 275). Plaintiff alleges an
onset date of March 16, 2011. (Tr. 8). These applications
were denied initially and again upon reconsideration. (Tr.
requested an administrative hearing on his applications. (Tr.
189-190). This request was granted, and Plaintiff's
administrative hearing was held on October 1, 2014 in Fort
Smith, Arkansas. (Tr. 28-70). At this hearing, Plaintiff was
present and was represented by Fred Caddell. Id.
Plaintiff, a witness for Plaintiff, and Vocational Expert
(“VE”) Jim Spraggins testified at this hearing.
Id. During this hearing, Plaintiff testified he was
thirty-seven (37) years old, which is defined as a
“younger person” under 20 C.F.R. §
404.1563(c) (DIB) and 20 C.F.R. § 416.963(c) (SSI). (Tr.
35). As for his education, Plaintiff testified he completed
two years of college. Id.
April 2, 2015, after the administrative hearing, the ALJ
entered a fully unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's
applications. (Tr. 5-19). The ALJ determined Plaintiff met
the insured status requirements of the Act through September
30, 2014. (Tr. 10, Finding 1). The ALJ determined Plaintiff
had not engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity
(“SGA”) since March 16, 2011, his alleged onset
date. (Tr. 10, Finding 2). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had
the following severe impairments: mood disorder, not
otherwise specified; dysthymic disorder; bipolar disorder;
cannabis abuse, episodic; anxiety disorder; and borderline
personality disorder. (Tr. 10-11, Finding 3). The ALJ also
determined Plaintiff's 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. 11-13, Finding 3).
decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined his RFC. (Tr. 13-17, 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 capacity to perform the following:
After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual
functional capacity to perform a full range of work at all
exertional levels but that he has nonexertional limitations.
Specifically, the claimant is able to perform work where
interpersonal contact is incidental to the work performed and
where the complexity of tasks is learned and performed by
rote with few variables and little judgment. The supervision
required is simple, direct and concrete.
then considered Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”). (Tr. 17-19, Finding 6). Considering his
RFC, the ALJ determined Plaintiff retained the capacity to
perform his PRW as a construction worker II. Id.
Because Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform his PRW,
the ALJ determined Plaintiff had not been under a disability,
as defined by the Act, from his alleged onset date of March
16, 2011 through the date of his decision or through April 2,
2015. (Tr. 19, Finding 7).
sought review with the Appeals Council. (Tr. 26-27). On May
10, 2016, the Appeals Council denied his request for review.
(Tr. 1-3). On June 10, 2016, Plaintiff filed his Complaint in
this case. ECF No. 1. Both Parties have filed appeal briefs
and have consented to the jurisdiction of this Court. ECF
Nos. 6, 13, 15. 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) (2010); 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 ...