United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Jonesboro Division
ORDER REMANDING TO THE COMMISSIONER FOR AN AWARD OF
Yandell (“Yandell”) applied for supplemental
security income, alleging disability beginning May 1, 2004.
(R. at 18).
April 21, 2007, an administrative law judge
(“ALJ”) denied her application. (R. at 122-28).
On October 3, 2008, the Appeals Council remanded the claim
for the ALJ to properly consider Yandell's subjective
complaints, to provide rationale and evidentiary references
for his decision, and to develop the record regarding
Yandell's mental impairments. (R. at 101-02).
2, 2009, Yandell's application was again denied by an
ALJ. (R. at 108-17). On February 17, 2011, the Appeals
Council remanded because the administrative record could not
be located or reconstructed. (R. at 96-97).
February 24, 2012, a third ALJ denied Yandell's claim.
(R. at 47-58). On November 16, 2012, the Appeals Council
dismissed Yandell's request for review, erroneously
finding that it was untimely. On September 16, 2014, the
Appeals Council vacated the dismissal, granted the request
for review, and remanded the ALJ's decision because it
relied on “unavailable medical exhibits” and
improperly adopted the 2009 ALJ's evaluation of that
evidence. (R. at 61-63). In its order, the Appeals Council
stated that it “regrets the [two year] delay involved,
” which was caused by the Appeals Council's
erroneous dismissal of Yandell's request for
review. (R. at 62).
April 28, 2015, a fourth ALJ denied Yandell's claim for
disability benefits. (R. at 18-33). This time, the Appeals
Council denied her request for review, making the ALJ's
decision the Commissioner's final decision. (R. at 8) On
May 16, 2016, Yandell filed this Complaint requesting
reasons stated below, the Court reverses and remands the
Commissioner's decision, and orders the Commissioner to
award Yandell disability benefits.
The Commissioner's Decision
found that Yandell had the following severe impairments:
history of a fracture of her right femur, status post closed
reduction, internal nailing of her right femur; lumbago;
arthritis; post-traumatic stress disorder
(“PTSD”); major depressive disorder; and anxiety
disorder. (R. at 20). Based on those impairments, the ALJ
determined that Yandell had the residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) to perform sedentary work, with the
following additional limitations: occasional stooping and no
crouching, crawling, kneeling, or climbing; no balancing or
exposure to hazards such as unprotected heights, moving
machinery, and open flames; the use of a cane in her dominant
arm to balance or ambulate from her workstation; only work
where interpersonal contact was incidental to the work
performed, i.e., interpersonal contact involving
only limited interaction with others, such as meeting and
greeting the public, answering simple questions, accepting
payment and making change; work where tasks are restricted to
a degree of complexity that can be learned by demonstration
or repetition within 30 days, and that involve few variables
and little judgment; and work that involves simple, direct,
and concrete supervision. (R. at 22).
had no past relevant work. (R. at 31). After considering
testimony from a vocational expert, the ALJ determined that
Yandell could perform unskilled sedentary jobs such as final
assembler/optical goods or document preparer. (R. at 32).
Accordingly, the ALJ held that Yandell was not disabled. (R.
Court's function on review is to determine whether the
Commissioner's decision is supported by substantial
evidence on the record as a whole and whether it is based on
legal error. Miller v. Colvin, 784 F.3d 472, 477
(8th Cir. 2015); see also 42 U.S.C. §
405(g). While “substantial evidence” is that
which a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion, “substantial evidence on the record as a
whole” requires a court to engage in a more
“[O]ur review is more than an examination of the record
for the existence of substantial evidence in support of the
Commissioner's decision; we also take into account
whatever in the record fairly detracts from that
decision.” Reversal is not warranted, however,
“merely because substantial evidence would have
supported an opposite decision.”
Reed v. Barnhart, 399 F.3d 917, 920 (8th Cir. 2005)
argues that the ALJ erred by failing to properly consider the
opinion of her long-time treating physician, ...