United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, El Dorado Division
STANLEY S. HARRISON, PLAINTIFF
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration, DEFENDANT
BARRY A. BRYANT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Harrison (“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 application for Disability
Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) and period of
disability under Title II 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. 7. 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 application on June 13,
2014. (Tr. 11). In this application, Plaintiff alleges being
disabled due to psoriatic arthritis, bilateral knee pain,
upper body shoulder pain and weakness, painful psoriasis,
coronary atherosclerosis of native coronary artery,
claudication-intermittent, coronary artery disease,
hypertension chronic, and congestive heart failure. (Tr.
353). Plaintiff alleged an onset date of March 28, 2014. (Tr.
11). His application was denied initially and again upon
reconsideration. (Tr. 282-288).
requested an administrative hearing on his denied
application. (Tr. 289). This request was granted, and
Plaintiff's administrative hearing was held on November
5, 2015. (Tr. 210-245). At this hearing, Plaintiff was
present and was represented by Mary Thomason. Id.
Plaintiff and Vocational Expert (“VE”) Thomas
Mungall testified at this hearing. Id. During this
hearing, Plaintiff testified he was fifty-one (51) years old,
and had a ninth grade education. (Tr. 215-216).
December 29, 2015, after the administrative hearing, the ALJ
entered an unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's
disability application. (Tr. 11-24). The ALJ determined
Plaintiff met the insured status requirements of the Act
through December 31, 2018. (Tr. 13, Finding 1). The ALJ also
determined Plaintiff had not engaged in Substantial Gainful
Activity (“SGA”) since March 28, 2014, his
alleged onset date. (Tr. 13, Finding 2).
determined Plaintiff had the following severe impairments:
ischemic heart disease and degenerative joint disease. (Tr.
13, 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.
15, Finding 4).
decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined his RFC. (Tr. 15, 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 had the RFC to perform light work except can only
occasionally reach overhead bilaterally, occasionally climb
ramps/stairs, but never ladders/ropes/scaffolds; occasionally
kneel, stoop, crouch, and crawl, but never balance; should
not be exposed to hazards such as unprotected heights, moving
mechanical parts, or operating a motor vehicle; should have
no exposure to humidity and wetness; should avoid
concentrated exposure to fumes, odors, dusts, gasses, and
other environmental irritants; and should never he exposed to
extreme cold/heat. Id.
then evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”) and found Plaintiff did not retain the
capacity to perform any of his PRW. (Tr. 23, Finding 6). The
ALJ then considered whether Plaintiff retained the capacity
to perform other work existing in significant numbers in the
national economy. (Tr. 23, Finding 10). The VE testified at
the administrative hearing regarding this issue. (Tr.
239-244). Based upon this testimony and considering his RFC,
the ALJ determined Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform
the following jobs: (1) cafeteria attendant with
approximately 145, 904 such jobs nationally, (2) fast food
worker with approximately 2, 321, 421, and (3) housekeeping
with approximately 229, 918 such jobs nationally. (Tr. 24).
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 March 28,
2014 through the date of the decision. (Tr. 24, Finding 11).
sought review with the Appeals Council. (Tr. 39). On December
7, 2016, the Appeals Council denied his request for review.
(Tr. 1-4). On January 3, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Complaint in
his case. ECF No. 1. Both Parties have filed appeal briefs.
ECF Nos. 13, 17. 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. §§