United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Texarkana Division
BARRY A. BRYANT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Jackson (“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, Disability Insurance benefits
(“DIB”), and Supplemental Security Income
(“SSI”) 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. 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 applications in January
2014. (Tr. 132, 315-324). In her applications, Plaintiff
alleges being disabled due to back problems. (Tr. 347).
Plaintiff alleges an onset date of October 1, 2013. (Tr.
132). These applications were denied initially and again upon
reconsideration. (Tr. 132, 243-247).
Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing on her denied
applications. (Tr. 248). The ALJ granted that request and
held an administrative hearing on May 11, 2015. (Tr.
146-196). At this hearing, Plaintiff was present and was
represented by Greg Giles. Id. Plaintiff and
Vocational Expert (“VE”) Harris Rowzie, testified
at this hearing. Id. At this hearing, Plaintiff
testified she was thirty-one (31). (Tr. 154). As for her
level of education, Plaintiff testified she had graduated
from high school. (Tr. 156).
this hearing, on June 25, 2015, the ALJ entered an
unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's applications for
DIB and SSI. (Tr. 132-140). In this decision, the ALJ found
Plaintiff met the insured status of the Act through December
31, 2017. (Tr. 134, Finding 1.). The ALJ also found Plaintiff
had not engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity
(“SGA”) since October 1, 2013. (Tr. 134, Finding
determined Plaintiff had the following severe impairments:
post posterior lumbar interbody fusion L5-S1 with pedicle
screw fixation, and obesity. (Tr. 134, 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
Regulations No. 4 (“Listings”). (Tr. 135, Finding
then considered Plaintiff's Residual Functional Capacity
(“RFC”). (Tr. 135-138, Finding 5). First, the ALJ
indicated he 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 less than the full range of sedentary work
except occasionally climb ramps, or stairs; never climb
ladders, ropes, or scaffolds; occasionally stoop, kneel,
crouch, and crawl; and time off task could be accommodated by
normal breaks. (Tr. 135).
then evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”). (Tr. 138, Finding 6). Considering her
RFC, the ALJ determined Plaintiff could not perform any of
her PRW. Id. The ALJ also considered whether
Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform other work
existing in significant numbers in the national economy. (Tr.
139, Finding 10). The VE testified at the administrative
hearing regarding this issue. Id. Based upon that
testimony, the ALJ determined Plaintiff retained the capacity
to perform the following: (1) assembler with 4, 700 such jobs
in Arkansas and 229, 000 such jobs in the United States; (2)
telephone quotation clerk with 8, 800 such jobs in Arkansas
and 597, 000 such jobs in the United States; and (3) escort
vehicle driver with 6, 200 such jobs in Arkansas and 780, 000
such jobs in the United States. Id. Because
Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform this work, the ALJ
also determined Plaintiff had not been under a disability, as
defined by the Act, from October 1, 2013 through the date of
the decision. (Tr. 140, Finding 11).
Plaintiff requested a review by the Appeals Council. (Tr.
128). On August 8, 2016, the Appeals Council denied this
request. (Tr. 1-4). On September 2, 2016, Plaintiff filed the
present appeal with this Court. ECF No. 1. The Parties
consented to the jurisdiction of this Court on September 6,
2016. ECF No. 7. This case is now ripe for determination.
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 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 draw two inconsistent
positions from the evidence and one of those positions