United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, El Dorado Division
BARRY A. BRYANT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Clemons (“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 her application for a period of
disability and Disability Insurance Benefits
(“DIB”) under Title II 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. 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 DIB application on September 6, 2013.
(Tr. 8). In this application, Plaintiff alleges being
disabled due to high blood pressure, diabetes, back surgery,
neuropathy, and severe migraines. (Tr. 145). Plaintiff
alleges an onset date of September 6, 2013. (Tr. 8). This
application was denied initially and again upon
reconsideration. (Tr. 47-70).
requested an administrative hearing on her application. (Tr.
79-80). This request was granted, and Plaintiff's
administrative hearing was held on December 17, 2014 in El
Dorado, Arkansas. (Tr. 30-46). At this hearing, Plaintiff was
present and was represented by counsel, Mary Thomason.
Id. Plaintiff and Vocational Expert
(“VE”) Elizabeth Clem testified at this hearing.
Id. During this hearing, Plaintiff testified she was
thirty-nine (39) years old, which is defined as a
“younger person” under 20 C.F.R. §
404.1563(c). (Tr. 33). As for her education, Plaintiff
testified she had completed “some college.”
March 10, 2015, after the administrative hearing, the ALJ
entered a fully unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's
application. (Tr. 5-23). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had not
engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity (“SGA”)
since September 6, 2013, her alleged onset date. (Tr. 10,
Finding 2). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had the following
severe impairments: “diabetes mellitus, migraine
headaches, epilepsy and recurrent seizures (not supported by
objective testing, diagnosis only), hypertension, obesity,
and degenerative disc disease of the spine (Exhibits 1F-10F).
The above impairments cause limitations or restrictions
having more than a minimal effect on the claimant's
ability to do basic work-related activities; and therefore,
are found to be severe.” (Tr. 10-13, 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. 13-15, Finding 4).
decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined her RFC. (Tr. 15-22, 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 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 sedentary work as defined in
20 CFR 404.1567(a) except reduced further with the additional
limitations: The claimant can occasionally climb, balance,
stoop, crouch, crawl, and kneel; and, she must also work in
an environment free from temperature extremes, very noisy
work places, and exposure to respiratory irritant such as
dust, fumes, and gases; and, she should have no exposure to
hazards such as unprotected heights, moving machinery, and
then evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”). (Tr. 15-22, Finding 5). The VE testified
at the administrative hearing regarding this issue. Based
upon this testimony and considering her RFC, the ALJ
determined Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform her PRW
as a dispatcher (semiskilled, sedentary). (Tr. 23, Finding
6). Because Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform her
PRW, the ALJ determined Plaintiff had not been under a
disability, as defined by the Act, from September 6, 2013
(application date) through March 10, 2015 (ALJ's decision
date). (Tr. 23, Finding 7).
sought review with the Appeals Council. (Tr. 28). On April
19, 2016, the Appeals Council denied her request for review.
(Tr. 1-3). On June 7, 2016, Plaintiff filed her Complaint in
this case. ECF No. 1. Both Parties have filed appeal briefs
and have consented to the jurisdiction of this Court. ECF
Nos. 7, 11-12. 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 ...