United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Hot Springs Division
BARRY A. BRYANT, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
David Lebow (“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 Supplemental
Security Income (“SSI”) under Title XVI 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. 6. 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 April 19,
2011. (Tr. 8). In this application, Plaintiff alleges being
disabled due to an enlarged heart, back problems, chronic
bronchitis, and anger issues. (Tr. 133). Plaintiff alleges an
onset date of March 1, 2011. (Tr. 8). This application was
denied initially and again upon reconsideration. (Tr. 51-52).
requested an administrative hearing, and this hearing request
was granted. (Tr. 23-50). Plaintiff's administrative
hearing was held on August 28, 2012 in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Id. Thereafter, on September 19, 2012, the ALJ
entered a fully unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's
application. (Tr. 5-18). Plaintiff then appealed this
unfavorable decision to this Court, and Plaintiff's case
was reversed and remanded for further consideration of his
treating physician's opinions. See Lebow v. SSA,
6:17-cv-06026 (W.D. Ark. Nov. 12, 2014).
this remand, the ALJ held another administrative hearing.
(Tr. 543-570). Subsequent to this hearing, the ALJ entered
another unfavorable decision. (Tr. 511-529). In this decision,
the ALJ found Plaintiff had not engaged in Substantial
Gainful Activity (“SGA”) since April 19, 2011,
his application date. (Tr. 516, Finding 1). The ALJ
determined Plaintiff had the following severe impairments:
degenerative disc disease of the cervical spine, bulging disc
in the thoracic spine, disc protrusions in the lumbar spine,
panic disorder, acrophobia, and bronchitis/chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease, and a history of polysubstance
abuse. (Tr. 517, Finding 2). 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. 517-519, Finding 3).
decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined his RFC. (Tr. 519-527, Finding 4).
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 sedentary work as defined in
20 CFR 416.967(a) except he can occasionally climb, stoop,
balance, crouch, kneel, and crawl. He cannot work at
unrestricted heights. He cannot climb ladders or scaffolds.
He cannot operate moving machinery, such as buses, taxicabs,
or forklifts. He cannot operate heavy equipment or drive a
vehicle. He can lift 10 pounds, sit six in an eight-hour
workday, stand and/or walk six hours in an eight-hour
workday, one to two hours without interruption. He can
perform unskilled, rote activities; understand and follow
concrete instructions. Contact with supervision and coworkers
is superficial, he can meet, greet, make change, give simple
instructions and directions. He can have limited contact with
the public, no cashier-type work. He must work inside climate
controlled environments, no temperature extremes, no heavy
chemicals, dusts, or fumes. He can occasionally reach and
his RFC, the ALJ determined Plaintiff did not retain the
capacity to perform any of his PRW. (Tr. 527, Finding 5). The
ALJ then determined whether Plaintiff retained the capacity
to perform other work existing in significant numbers in the
national economy. (Tr. 528, Finding 9). The VE testified at
the administrative hearing regarding this issue. Id.
upon that testimony, the ALJ determined Plaintiff retained
the capacity to perform the requirements of representative
occupations such as a surveillance systems monitor
(sedentary, unskilled) with 500 such jobs in Arkansas and 11,
000 such jobs in the nation. (Tr. 528, Finding 9). 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, since April 19, 2011 (his application
date). (Tr. 528, Finding 10). Thereafter, on March 13, 2017,
Plaintiff filed his Complaint in this action. ECF No. 1. Both
Parties have filed appeal briefs and have consented to the
jurisdiction of this Court. ECF Nos. 6, 11-12. This case is
now ready for decision.
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 ...