United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fayetteville Division
JUDY M. DAY PLAINTIFF
NANCY A. BERRYHILL,  Commissioner Social Security Administration DEFENDANT
ERIN L. WIEDEMANN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Judy M. Day, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
405(g), seeking judicial review of a decision of the
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
(Commissioner) denying her claims for a period of disability
and disability insurance benefits (DIB) under the provisions
of Title II of the Social Security Act (Act). In this
judicial review, the Court must determine whether there is
substantial evidence in the administrative record to support
the Commissioner's decision. See 42 U.S.C.
protectively filed her current application for DIB on August
20, 2013, alleging an inability to work since November 26,
2012, due to a fracture and compression of the vertebrae and
depression. (Tr. 13, 54, 141). An administrative video
hearing was held on December 18, 2014, at which Plaintiff
appeared with counsel and testified. (Tr. 28-52).
written decision dated August 18, 2015, the ALJ found that
during the relevant time period, Plaintiff had an impairment
or combination of impairments that were severe. (Tr. 15).
the ALJ found Plaintiff had the following severe impairments:
a compression fracture of her thoracic spine, degenerative
disc disease, osteopenia, hypertension, obesity, diabetes
mellitus, a depressive disorder, not otherwise specified, and
an anxiety disorder, NOS.
after reviewing all of the evidence presented, the ALJ
determined that Plaintiff's impairments did not meet or
equal the level of severity of any impairment listed in the
Listing of Impairments found in Appendix I, Subpart P,
Regulation No. 4. (Tr. 16). The ALJ found Plaintiff retained
the residual functional capacity (RFC) to:
lift/carry 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently,
push and/or pull within those limitations, stand/walk six
hours in an eight-hour workday with normal breaks and sit six
hours in an eight-hour workday with normal breaks. In
addition, she can occasionally climb ramps, stairs, ladders,
ropes and scaffolds, stoop and crouch. She is able to perform
work where interpersonal contact is routine but superficial
and where the complexity of tasks is learned by experience
with several variables and judgment within limits. The
supervision required is little for routine but detailed for
non-routine. She is limited to jobs that do not require
complex written communication.
(Tr. 18). With the help of a vocational expert, the ALJ
determined Plaintiff could perform her past relevant work as
an office worker/general office worker. (Tr. 23).
then requested a review of the hearing decision by the
Appeals Council, which denied that request on July 12, 2016.
(Tr. 1-6). Subsequently, Plaintiff filed this action. (Doc.
1). This case is before the undersigned pursuant to the
consent of the parties. (Doc. 5). Both parties have filed
appeal briefs, and the case is now ready for decision. (Docs.
Court has reviewed the entire transcript. The complete set of
facts and arguments are presented in the parties' briefs,
and are repeated here only to the extent necessary.
Court's role is to determine whether the
Commissioner's findings are supported by substantial
evidence on the record as a whole. Ramirez v.
Barnhart, 292 F.3d 576, 583 (8th Cir. 2002). Substantial
evidence is less than a preponderance but it is enough that a
reasonable mind would find it adequate to support the
Commissioner's decision. The ALJ's decision must be
affirmed if the record contains substantial evidence to
support it. Edwards v. Barnhart, 314 F.3d 964, 966
(8th Cir. 2003). 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. Haley v. Massanari, 258 F.3d 742, 747
(8th Cir. 2001). In other words, if after reviewing the
record it is possible to draw two inconsistent positions from
the evidence and one of those positions represents the
findings of the ALJ, the decision of the ALJ must be
affirmed. Young v. Apfel, 221 F.3d 1065, 1068 (8th
well-established that a claimant for Social Security
disability benefits has the burden of proving her disability
by establishing a physical or mental disability that has
lasted at least one year and that prevents her from engaging
in any substantial gainful activity. Pearsall v.
Massanari, 274 F.3d 1211, 1217 (8th Cir. 2001); see
also 42 U.S.C. § § 423(d)(1)(A), 1382c
(a)(3)(A). The Act defines “physical or mental
impairment” as “an impairment that results from
anatomical, physiological, or psychological abnormalities
which are demonstrable by medically acceptable clinical and
laboratory diagnostic ...