United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, El Dorado Division
BARRY A. BRYANT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Lynn Jordan (“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 and disability insurance benefits
(“DIB”) under Title II of the Social Security 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. 7). 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
August 1, 2013. (ECF No. 10, p. 29). In her application,
Plaintiff alleges being disabled due to soto seizures, high
blood pressure, diabetes, migraines, depression, racing
heart, high cholesterol, and high triglycerides. (ECF No. 10,
p. 248). Plaintiff alleges an onset date of October 26, 2009.
(ECF No. 10, pp. 29, 257). This application was denied
initially and again upon reconsideration. (ECF No. 10 pp.
Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing on her denied
applications, and this hearing request was granted. (ECF No.
10 p. 186-87). Plaintiff's administrative hearing was
held on October 23, 2014, in Little Rock, Arkansas. (ECF No.
10, pp. 118-43). Plaintiff was present and was represented by
Mary Thomason. Id. Plaintiff, Plaintiff's mother
Charlotte Williams, and vocational expert (“VE”)
Mack Welch testified at this hearing. Id. At the
time of this hearing, Plaintiff was thirty-eight years old,
which is defined as a “younger person” under 20
C.F.R. § 404.1563(c). (ECF No. 10, p. 121). As for her
level of education, Plaintiff earned a high school diploma.
this hearing, on April 3, 2015, the ALJ entered an
unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's application for
DIB. (ECF No. 10, pp. 26-39). In this decision, the ALJ found
Plaintiff met the insured status requirements of the Act
through December 31, 2014. (ECF No. 10, p. 31, Finding 1).
The ALJ found Plaintiff had not engaged in Substantial
Gainful Activity (“SGA”) since October 26, 2009,
her alleged onset date. (ECF No. 10, p. 31, Finding 2). The
ALJ determined Plaintiff had the following severe
impairments: migraine headaches, pseudoseizures, depression,
anxiety, and diabetes. (ECF No. 10, p. 31, 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. 10, pp. 31-33,
then considered Plaintiff's Residual Functional Capacity
(“RFC”). (ECF No. 10, pp. 33-37, 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 work at all exertional levels but with the
following nonexertional limitations. She can occasionally
stoop, crawl and kneel but must avoid work requiring climbing
or balancing. She must avoid exposure to extreme heat and
loud noise. Due to pseudoseizures, [Plaintiff] should avoid
working at unprotected heights or around moving or dangerous
machinery. [Plaintiff] retains the ability to perform work
where interpersonal contact is incidental to the work
performed. Incidental is defined as interpersonal contact
requiring a limited degree of interaction, such as meeting
and greeting the public, answering simple questions,
accepting payment and making change. The complexity of tasks
can be learned by demonstration or repetition within 30 days,
with few variables, requires little judgment and the
supervision required is simple, direct and concrete.
then determined Plaintiff was unable to perform any Past
Relevant Work (“PRW”). (ECF No. 10, p. 37,
Finding 6). The VE testified at the administrative hearing
regarding this issue. (ECF No. 10, pp. 140-43). 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 cashier, which has a DOT code of 211.462-010, with
approximately two hundred thousand (200, 000) jobs in the
national economy and approximately one thousand one hundred
(1, 100) jobs in the state of Arkansas, and as a food order
clerk, which has a DOT code of 209.567-014, with
approximately fifteen thousand (15, 000) jobs in the national
economy and approximately one hundred (100) jobs in the state
of Arkansas. (ECF No. 10, p. 38, 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
October 26, 2009, through December 31, 2014. (ECF No. 10, p.
38, Finding 11).
on April 13, 2015, Plaintiff requested review of the hearing
decision by the Appeals Council. (ECF No. 10, p. 24). The
Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request on June 7,
2016. (ECF No. 10, pp. 5-9). On July 8, 2016, Plaintiff filed
the present appeal with this Court. (ECF No. 1). The Parties
consented to the jurisdiction of this Court on July 14, 2016.
(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
represents the findings of the ALJ, the decision of the ALJ
must be affirmed. see Young v. Apfel, 221 F.3d 1065,
1068 (8th Cir. 2000).
well-established that a claimant for Social Security
disability benefits has the burden of proving his or her
disability by establishing a physical or mental disability
that lasted at least one year and that prevents him or her
from engaging in any substantial gainful activity. see
Cox v. Apfel, 160 F.3d 1203, 1206 (8th Cir. 1998); 42
U.S.C. §§ 423(d)(1)(A). The Act defines a
“physical or mental impairment” as “an
impairment that results from anatomical, physiological, or
psychological abnormalities which are demonstrable by
medically acceptable clinical and laboratory diagnostic
techniques.” 42 U.S.C. §§ ...