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Beasley v. Berryhill

United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division

November 30, 2017

JERRY WAYNE BEASLEY PLAINTIFF
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration DEFENDANT

          ORDER

         I. Introduction:

         Plaintiff, Jerry Wayne Beasley, applied for supplemental security income benefits on September 21, 2011, alleging his disability began on May 28, 2007. (Tr. at 98). His claims were denied initially and upon reconsideration. Id. After conducting a hearing, the Administrative Law Judge (AALJ@) denied Beasley's application. (Tr. at 109). Thereafter, the Appeals Council remanded the case for another hearing. (Tr. at 114).

         After conducting a second hearing, on December 9, 2014 (Tr. at 49) and May 27, 2015 (Tr. at 72), the ALJ denied Beasley's application, and that decision (Tr. at 25) now stands as the final decision of the Commissioner. Beasley has requested judicial review.

         For the reasons stated below, the Court[1] affirms the decision of the Commissioner.

         II. The Commissioner=s Decision:

         The ALJ found that Beasley had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since the application date of September 21, 2011 (Tr. at 13). At Step Two, the ALJ found that Beasley has the following severe impairments: frozen left shoulder, back pain, coronary artery disease, history of aortic regurgitation and moderate to severe aortic insufficiency (post-operative valve replacement), hypertension, and depression. Id.

         After finding that Beasley's impairments did not meet or equal a listed impairment (Tr. at 13), the ALJ determined that Beasley has the residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform the full range of light work, except that: (1) he can only do occasional pushing and pulling with his non-dominant arm; (2) he is limited to work where interpersonal contact is incidental to the work performed and the complexity of tasks is learned and performed by rote, contains few variables, and requires little judgment; and (3) the supervision required is simple, direct, and concrete. (Tr. at 16).

         Because the ALJ found that Beasley had no past relevant work (Tr. at 24), the ALJ relied on the testimony of a Vocational Expert (“VE”) to find that, based on Beasley's age, education, work experience and RFC, jobs existed in significant numbers in the national economy that he could perform, including work as a cashier II, office helper, and marking clerk. (Tr. at 25). Accordingly, the ALJ held that Beasley was not disabled. Id.

         III. Discussion:

         A. Standard of Review

         The 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 Asubstantial evidence@ is that which a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion, Asubstantial evidence on the record as a whole@ requires a court to engage in a more scrutinizing analysis:

“[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) (citations omitted).

         It is not the task of this Court to review the evidence and make an independent decision. Neither is it to reverse the decision of the ALJ because there is evidence in the record which contradicts his findings. The test is whether there is substantial evidence in the ...


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