United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Hot Springs Division
BARRY A. BRYANT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Buckley ("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.
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. 9. Pursuant to this authority, the Court issues this
memorandum opinion and orders the entry of a final judgment
in this matter.
protectively filed his disability applications on October 24,
2013. (Tr. 9). In these applications, Plaintiff alleges being
disabled due to two hip replacements and being unable to move
or stand for long. (Tr. 233). Plaintiff s alleged an onset
date of September 25, 2013. (Tr. 9). His applications were
denied initially and again upon reconsideration. (Tr. 82-83,
requested an administrative hearing on his denied
applications. (Tr. 148). This request was granted, and
Plaintiff s administrative hearing was held on March 3, 2015.
(Tr. 23-50). At this hearing, Plaintiff was present and was
represented by Michael Angel. Id. Plaintiff and
Vocational Expert ("VE") Dianne Smith testified at
this hearing. Id. During this hearing, Plaintiff
testified he was forty-eight (48) years old, and had
graduated from high school. (Tr. 29).
24, 2015, after the administrative hearing, the ALJ entered a
fully unfavorable decision denying Plaintiffs applications.
(Tr. 9-18). The ALJ determined Plaintiff met the insured
status requirements of the Act through December 31, 2016.
(Tr. 11, Finding 1). The ALJ also determined Plaintiff had
not engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity ("SGA")
since September 25, 2013, his alleged onset date. (Tr. 11,
determined Plaintiff had the following severe impairments:
bilateral hip replacements due to a vascular necrosis;
hypertension; and intermittent left shoulder pain. (Tr. 11,
Finding 3). The ALJ also determined Plaintiffs 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. 11, Finding
decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff s subjective complaints
and determined his RFC. (Tr. 12, Finding 5). First, the ALJ
evaluated Plaintiffs subjective complaints and found his
claimed limitations were not entirely credible. Id.
Second, the ALJ determined Plaintiff had the RFC to lift and
carry 10 pounds occasionally and less than 10 pounds
frequently; stand and walk for two hours in an eight-hour
workday, with standing intervals of the entire two hour
period and waling intervals of no more than a few minutes at
a time; sit in intervals of 30 minutes for six hours in an
eight-hour workday; and push and pull 10 pounds occasionally
and less than 10 pounds frequently. The ALJ also found
Plaintiff cannot perform repetitive foot controls; can
occasionally climb stairs, but should avoid crouching,
crawling, climbing ladders or scaffolds, and can occasionally
stoop, but not all the way down to reach the floor level.
then evaluated Plaintiffs Past Relevant Work
("PRW") and found Plaintiff did not retain the
capacity to perform any of his PRW. (Tr. 17, Finding 6). The
ALJ then considered whether Plaintiff retained the capacity
to perform other work existing in significant numbers in the
national economy. (Tr. 17, Finding 10). The VE testified at
the administrative hearing regarding this issue. (Tr. 45-46).
Based upon this testimony and considering his RFC, the ALJ
determined Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform the
following jobs: (1) lock assembler with approximately 8, 600
such jobs nationally and 1, 600 regionally and (2) ornament
setter and semi conductor assembler with approximately 11,
400 such jobs nationally and 2, 800 regionally. (Tr. 18).
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 September
25, 2013 through the date of the decision. (Tr. 18, Finding
sought review with the Appeals Council. On August 1, 2016,
the Appeals Council denied his request for review. (Tr. 1-3).
On August 26, 2016, Plaintiff filed a Complaint in his case.
ECF No. 1. Both Parties have filed appeal briefs. ECF Nos.
18, 19. This case is now ready 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) (2010); 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 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. 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
represents the findings of the ALJ, the decision of the ALJ
must be affirmed. See Young v. Apfel, 221 F.3d 1065,
1068 (8th Cir. 2000).
well-established that a claimant for Social Security
disability benefits has the burden of proving his or her
disability by establishing a physical or mental disability
that lasted at least one year and that prevents him or her
from engaging in any substantial gainful activity. See
Cox v. Apfel,160 F.3d 1203, 1206 (8th Cir. 1998); 42
U.S.C. §§ 423(d)(1)(A), 1382c(a)(3)(A). The Act
defines a "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 techniques." 42 U.S.C. §§
423(d)(3), 1382(3)(c). A ...