United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Hot Springs Division
BARRY A. BRYANT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Wayne Adams (“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 a 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. 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 applications on September
6, 2013. (Tr. 11, 177-187). Plaintiff alleges being disabled
due to chronic reoccurring left ankle injury, bipolar
disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder
(“PTSD”), and anxiety disorder with panic
attacks. (Tr. 17, 38-56, 118, 121, 177-187, 210). Plaintiff
alleges an amended onset date of September 1, 2013. (Tr. 11,
37). These applications were denied initially and again upon
reconsideration. (Tr. 68-117).
Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing on his denied
applications. The administrative law judge
(“ALJ”) granted that request and held an
administrative video hearing on August 28, 2014. (Tr. 33-77).
The ALJ presided over the hearing from Little Rock, Arkansas,
and the Plaintiff testified in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
Id. At the hearing, Plaintiff was present and was
represented by John Miller. Id. Vocational Expert
(“VE”) Kola L. Brown also testified at this
hearing, Plaintiff testified he was forty-two (42) years old,
which is defined as a “younger person” under 20
C.F.R. § 404.1563(c) (DIB) and 20 C.F.R. §
416.963(c) (SSI). (Tr. 36). As for his level of education,
Plaintiff testified he completed high school and attended 20
weeks of training to obtain a small engine repair
certification. (Tr. 36-37).
this hearing, on August 14, 2015, the ALJ entered an
unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's applications for
SSI and DIB. (Tr. 11-27). In this decision, the ALJ found
Plaintiff met the insured status requirements of the Act
through December 31, 2018. (Tr. 13, Finding 1). The ALJ found
Plaintiff had not engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity
(“SGA”) since September 1, 2013, his amended
alleged onset date. (Tr. 13, Finding 2). The ALJ determined
Plaintiff had the following severe impairments: joint
disorder of the ankle, bipolar disorder, and PTSD. (Tr. 13,
Finding 3). Despite being severe, the ALJ determined these
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.
14-16, Finding 4).
then considered Plaintiff's Residual Functional Capacity
(“RFC”). (Tr. 16-25, 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 retained the RFC to
perform the following:
After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual
functional capacity to perform sedentary work as defined in
20 CFR 404.1567(a) and 416.967(a) except he can lift and
carry up to 10 pounds occasionally, sit a total of six hours
in an eight-hour workday and stand/walk a total of two hours
in an eight-hour workday. The claimant is limited to
occasionally stooping, crouching, bending, kneeling,
crawling, and balancing. The claimant requires a cane for
ambulation but could use the free hand to carry small
objects. The claimant would also be limited in the lower left
extremity to only occasional use of foot controls. In
addition to the above, the work must be unskilled, defined as
work which is simple, routine and repetitive with supervision
that is simple, direct, and concrete with frequent contact
with coworkers and supervisors, but only occasional contact
with the general public.
then evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”) and found Plaintiff is unable to perform
his PRW. (Tr. 26, Finding 6). The ALJ also considered whether
Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform other work
existing in significant numbers in the national economy. (Tr.
26-27, Finding 10). The VE testified at the administrative
hearing regarding this issue. Id. Based upon that
testimony, the ALJ determined Plaintiff retained the capacity
to perform the following: (1) table worker (sedentary,
unskilled) with 404, 068 such jobs in the United States and
53, 222 such jobs in Arkansas; (2) lampshade assembler
(sedentary, unskilled) with 192, 491such jobs in the United
States and 2, 376 such jobs in Arkansas. Id. The VE
also answered vocational interrogatories proffered
post-hearing and responded that both of these jobs would
still be compatible for an individual that required a cane
for ambulation, could use the free hand to carry small
objects, and the individual would be limited in the lower
left extremity to the occasional use of foot controls. (Tr.
267). Because Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform this
work, the ALJ also determined Plaintiff had not been under a
disability, as defined by the Act, from April 15, 2013
through the date of his decision. (Tr. 27, Finding 11).
Plaintiff requested a review by the Appeals Council. (Tr. 7).
On August 26, 2016, the Appeals Council denied this request.
(Tr. 1-6). On October 26, 2016, Plaintiff filed the present
appeal with this Court. ECF No. 1. The Parties consented to
the jurisdiction of this Court on November 8, 2016. ECF No.
7. Both Parties have filed appeal briefs. ECF Nos. 12, 15.
This case is now ripe for determination.