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Bradley v. Colvin

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Texarkana Division

June 23, 2017

WILLIAM BRADLEY PLAINTIFF
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN Commissioner, Social Security Administration DEFENDANT

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          HON. BARRY A. BRYANT, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         William Bradley (“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.

         The 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. 5.[1] Pursuant to this authority, the Court issues this memorandum opinion and orders the entry of a final judgment in this matter.

         1. Background:

         Plaintiff protectively filed his disability applications on January 11, 2013 (DIB) and on January 28, 2013 (SSI). (Tr. 13). In his applications, Plaintiff alleges being disabled due to problems with his back, neck, and feet; eight ruptured discs in his back; surgery on both feet; and neck problems. (Tr. 214). Plaintiff alleges an onset date of May 1, 2012. (Tr. 13). These applications were denied initially and again upon reconsideration. (Tr. 64-113).

         Thereafter, Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing on his denied applications. (Tr. 142-143). This hearing request was granted, and Plaintiff's administrative hearing was held on June 10, 2014 in Texarkana, Arkansas. (Tr. 34-63). Plaintiff was present and was represented by counsel. Id. Plaintiff and a Vocational Expert (“VE”)[2] testified at this hearing. Id.

         Subsequent to this hearing, on June 17, 2015, the ALJ entered a fully unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's disability applications. (Tr. 10-29). In that decision, the ALJ found Plaintiff met the insured status requirements of the Act through June 30, 2015. (Tr. 15, Finding 1). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had not engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity (“SGA”) since May 1, 2012, his alleged onset date. (Tr. 15-16, Finding 2). The ALJ determined Plaintiff has the following severe impairments: chronic pain syndrome status/post neck and back surgery and diabetes mellitus. (Tr. 16-17, 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. 17-18, Finding 4).

         In this decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective complaints and determined his RFC. (Tr. 18-26, Finding 5). In this decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective complaints and determined his RFC. Id. Second, the ALJ determined Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform the following:

I find that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b). That is, he can lift and/or carry 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently. He is not limited in pushing and/or pulling with his upper or lower extremities. He can sit, stand, and/or walk for about 6 hours in an 8-hour workday. He can occasionally balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, crawl, and climb ramps and stairs, but cannot climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. He has no manipulative, visual, communicative, or environmental limitations.

Id.

         The ALJ then evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work (“PRW”) and determined Plaintiff had no PRW during the relevant time period. (Tr. 26-27, Finding 6). The ALJ determined Plaintiff was forty-seven (47) years old on his alleged disability date. (Tr. 27, Finding 7). Such a person is categorized as a “younger person” pursuant to 20 C.F.R. § 404.1563(c) and 20 C.F.R. § 416.963(c). The ALJ also determined Plaintiff had at least a high school education was able to communicate in English. (Tr. 27, Finding 8).

         The ALJ then determined whether Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform other work existing in significant numbers in the national economy. (Tr. 28, Finding 10). The VE testified at the administrative hearing regarding this issue. Id. Notably, the ALJ determined that a hypothetical person with Plaintiff's age, education, work experience, and RFC retained the capacity to perform work as the following: (1) poultry dresser (light, unskilled) with 1, 800 such jobs in Arkansas and 40, 000 such jobs in the United States; (2) arcade attendant (light, unskilled) with 300 such jobs in Arkansas and 64, 000 such jobs in the United States; and (3) poultry eviscerator (light, unskilled) with 2, 000 such jobs in Arkansas and 40, 000 such jobs in the United States. (Tr. 28). Accordingly, the ALJ determined Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform this other work. Id. Based upon this finding, the ALJ then found Plaintiff had not been under a disability, as defined in the Act, from May 1, 2012 through the date of his decision or through June 17, 2015. (Tr. 29, Finding 11).

         Plaintiff sought review with the Appeals Council. (Tr. 1-3). On June 20, 2016, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review. Id. On July 20, 2016, Plaintiff filed his Complaint in this case. ECF No. 1. Both Parties have filed appeal briefs and consented to the jurisdiction of this Court. ECF Nos. 11-12. This case is now ready for decision.

         2. Ap ...


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