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Green v. Berryhill

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fort Smith Division

July 28, 2017

MICAH N. GREEN PLAINTIFF
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration DEFENDANT

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

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

         Micah N. Green (“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 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. 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 July 16, 2014. (Tr. 151). In these applications, Plaintiff alleges being disabled due to a number of impairments: immune disorders causing fatigue, vomiting, and high fever. (Tr. 329). Plaintiff alleges an onset date of July 2, 2014. (Tr. 151). His applications were denied initially and again upon reconsideration. (Tr. 192-213).

         Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing on his denied applications. (Tr. 234-235). This request was granted, and Plaintiff's administrative hearing was held on June 10, 2015 in Fort Smith, Arkansas. (Tr. 165-191). At this hearing, Plaintiff was present and was represented by David Harp. Id. Plaintiff and Vocational Expert (“VE”) Jim Spragins testified at this hearing. Id. During this hearing, Plaintiff testified he was twenty-eight (28) years old, which is defined as a “younger person” under 20 C.F.R. § 404.1563(c) (DIB) and 20 C.F.R. § 416.965(c) (SSI). (Tr. 158, Finding 7). As for his education, Plaintiff had at least a high school education and was able to communicate in English. (Tr. 159, Finding 8).

         On July 16, 2015, after the administrative hearing, the ALJ entered a fully unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's applications. (Tr. 148-160). The ALJ determined Plaintiff met the insured status requirements of the Act through March 31, 2018. (Tr. 153, Finding 1). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had not engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity (“SGA”) since July 2, 2014, his alleged onset date. (Tr. 153, Finding 2). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had the following severe impairments: chronic lower back pain, obesity, and mood disorder. (Tr. 153-154, 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. 154-155, Finding 4).

         In this decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective complaints and determined his RFC. (Tr. 155-158, 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 medium work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(c) and 416.967(c) except the claimant is limited to jobs involving only simple tasks and instructions.

Id.

         The ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work (“PRW”) and found Plaintiff did not retain the capacity to perform any of his PRW. (Tr. 158, Finding 6). The ALJ then considered whether Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform other work existing in significant numbers in the national economy. (Tr. 159, Finding 10). The VE testified at the administrative hearing regarding this issue. Id.

         Based upon this testimony and considering his RFC, the ALJ determined Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform the following medium, unskilled occupations: (1) commercial cleaner with 208, 000 such jobs in the nation and 1, 800 such jobs in Arkansas; and (2) salvage laborer with 59, 000 such jobs in the nation and 1, 300 such jobs in Arkansas. (Tr. 159, Finding 10). Because Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform this other work, the ALJ determined Plaintiff had not been under a disability, as defined by the Act, at any time from July 2, 2014 through the date of his decision or through July 16, 2015. (Tr. 160, Finding 11).

         Plaintiff sought review with the Appeals Council. On August 10, 2016, the Appeals Council denied his request for review. (Tr. 1-3). On August 30, 2016, Plaintiff filed a Complaint in his case. ECF No. 1. Both Parties have filed appeal briefs and have consented to the jurisdiction of this Court. ECF Nos. 5, 12-13. This case is now ready for determination.

         2. Ap ...


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