United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division
ASHLEY R. GOINS PLAINTIFF
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration DEFENDANT
Recommended Disposition (“Recommendation”) has
been sent to Judge Susan Webber Wright. You may file written
objections to this Recommendation. If you file objections,
they must be specific and must include the factual or legal
basis for your objection.
considered, your objections must be received in the office of
the Court Clerk within 14 days of this Recommendation. If no
objections are filed, Judge Wright can adopt this
Recommendation without independently reviewing the record. By
not objecting, you may also waive any right to appeal
questions of fact.
15, 2013, Ashley R. Goins applied for disability benefits,
alleging disability beginning on July 24, 2006. (Tr. at 22)
Ms. Goins's claims were denied initially and upon
reconsideration. Id. After conducting a hearing, the
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) denied her
application. (Tr. at 37) The Appeals Council denied her
request for review. (Tr. at 1) The ALJ's decision now
stands as the final decision of the Commissioner, and Ms.
Goins has requested judicial review.
The Commissioner's Decision:
found that Ms. Goins had not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since the application date of July 15, 2013. (Tr. at
24) At step two of the five-step analysis, the ALJ found that
Ms. Goins had the following severe impairments: history of
traumatic brain injury with epilepsy, mood disorder with
borderline-personality traits, and anxiety disorder. (Tr. at
finding that Ms. Goins's impairments did not meet or
equal a listed impairment (Tr. at 26), the ALJ determined
that Ms. Goins had the residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) to perform the full range of work at all
exertional levels, with some limitations. (Tr. at 28) She
could not work at unprotected heights, or be around moving or
dangerous machinery, or drive a motor vehicle. Id.
She would be limited to unskilled work where interpersonal
contact is incidental to the work performed and where the
complexity of tasks is learned and performed by rote, has few
variables, and requires little independent judgment.
Id. She would be limited to supervision that is
simple, direct, and concrete, and she could not deal with the
general public. Id.
next found that Ms. Goins had no past relevant work. (Tr. at
36) At step five, the ALJ relied on the testimony of a
Vocational Expert (“VE”) to find that, based on
Ms. Goins's age, education, work experience and RFC, she
was capable of performing work in the national economy as
mailroom clerk, inspector, and hand packager. (Tr. at 37)
Based on the determination, the ALJ held that Ms. Goins was
not disabled. Id.
Standard of Review
Court's role is to determine whether the
Commissioner's findings are supported by substantial
evidence. Prosch v. Apfel, 201 F.3d 1010, 1012 (8th
Cir. 2000). “Substantial evidence” in this
context means “enough that a reasonable mind would find
it adequate to support the ALJ's decision.”
Slusser v. Astrue, 557 F.3d 923, 925 (8th Cir. 2009)
(citation omitted). The Court must consider not only evidence
that supports the Commissioner's decision, but also
evidence that supports a contrary outcome. The Court cannot
reverse the decision, however, “merely because
substantial evidence exists for the opposite decision.”
Long v. Chater, 108 F.3d 185, 187 (8th Cir. 1997)
Goins's Arguments on Appeal
Goins contends that substantial evidence does not support the
ALJ's decision to deny benefits. She argues that the ALJ
erred in his RFC and credibility determinations, that he
failed to fulfill his duty at step five. After reviewing the
record as a whole, the Court concludes that the ALJ did not
err in denying benefits.
Goins suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car wreck in
July of 2006. (Tr. at 410, 499) She claimed she had recurring
seizures as a result, but did not show treatment for seizures
in the six years following the accident. (Tr. at 29) The
failure to seek regular and continuing treatment contradicts
allegations of disability. See Gwathney v. Chater,
104 F.3d 1043, 1045 (8th Cir. 1997). She had a seizure while
in prison in 2012, but stated that she was not using seizure
medication at that time. (Tr. at 29) Ms. Goins was prescribed
Dilantin in April of 2013, but admitted she was not taking ...