United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Hot Springs Division
BARRY A. BRYANT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Thornton (“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”) under Title II of the
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 September
10, 2013. (Tr. 17, 201-204). In this application, Plaintiff
alleges being disabled due to broken legs, panic attacks,
left eye blindness, anxiety, damaged knee cartilage, pins in
both feet, bulging discs in her back, a torn rotator cuff,
colitis, and “spastic” bowels. (Tr. 224).
Plaintiff alleges an onset date of March 18, 2012. (Tr. 17).
This application was denied initially and again upon
reconsideration. (Tr. 90-138).
requested an administrative hearing on May 27, 2014. (Tr.
149-150). This request was granted, and Plaintiff's
administrative hearing was held on February 11, 2015 in Hot
Springs, Arkansas. (Tr. 35-89). At this hearing, Plaintiff
was present and was represented by James Stanley.
Id. Plaintiff and Vocational Expert
(“VE”) Dwight Turner testified at this hearing.
Id. During this hearing, Plaintiff testified he was
forty-seven (47) years old, which is defined as a
“younger person” under 20 C.F.R. §
404.1563(c) (2008). (Tr. 39-40). As for his education,
Plaintiff testified he had completed high school and one year
of college. (Tr. 40-41).
April 23, 2015, after the administrative hearing, the ALJ
entered a fully unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's
DIB application. (Tr. 14-29). In this decision, the ALJ found
Plaintiff met the insured status requirements of the Act
through December 31, 2017. (Tr. 19, Finding 1). The ALJ
determined Plaintiff had not engaged in Substantial Gainful
Activity (“SGA”) since March 18, 2012, his
alleged onset date. (Tr. 19, Finding 2). The ALJ determined
Plaintiff had the following severe impairments: generalized
anxiety disorder, dysthymic disorder, degenerative disc
disease of the lumbar spine, osteoarthritis of the knees,
colitis, and vision disorder. (Tr. 19-20, 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. 20-21, Finding 4).
decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined his RFC. (Tr. 14-29). First, the
ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective complaints and found
his claimed limitations were not entirely credible.
Id. Second, the ALJ determined Plaintiff retained
the capacity to perform the following:
After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual
functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20
CFR 404.1567(b) except he cannot climb ladders, ropes, or
scaffolds. He can only occasionally climb ramps and stairs.
He can occasionally balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl.
He can perform no work where reading of written material is
required. Neither can he monitor of dials, gauges, or monitor
screens, or visually inspect or assembly [assemble] small
parts or components. Mentally, the claimant is limited to
jobs involving simple, routine, repetitive tasks with only
incidental interpersonal contact where supervision is simple,
direct, and concrete (unskilled work).
his RFC, the ALJ determined Plaintiff did not retain the
capacity to perform any of his PRW. (Tr. 28, Finding 6). The
ALJ then determined whether Plaintiff retained the capacity
to perform other work existing in significant numbers in the
national economy. (Tr. 28-29, Finding 10). The VE testified
at the administrative hearing regarding this issue.
upon that testimony, the ALJ determined Plaintiff retained
the capacity to perform the requirements of representative
occupations such as (1) motel cleaner (light, unskilled) with
370, 000 such jobs in the nation; (2) inspection worker
(light, unskilled) with 120, 000 to 130, 000 such jobs in the
nation; (3) assembly worker (sedentary, unskilled) with 160,
000 such jobs in the nation; and (4) machine tending label
cutter (sedentary, unskilled) with 220, 000 such jobs in the
nation. (Tr. 29). 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, from his
alleged onset date of March 18, 2012 through the date of his
decision or through April 23, 2015. (Tr. 29, Finding 11).
sought review with the Appeals Council. (Tr. 11-12). On
October 6, 2016, the Appeals Council denied his request for
review. Id. On December 5, 2016, Plaintiff filed his
Complaint in this action. ECF No. 1. Both Parties have filed
appeal brief and have consented to the jurisdiction of this
Court. ECF Nos. 7, 11-13. Plaintiff also filed a reply brief
in this matter. ECF No. 13. This case is now ready for