United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division
GARY W. BECKHAM PLAINTIFF
COMMISSIONER, SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION DEFENDANT
Recommended Disposition (“Recommendation”) has
been sent to Judge D. P. Marshall Jr. Any party may file
written objections to this Recommendation. Objections must be
specific and must include the factual or legal basis for the
considered, all objections must be received in the office of
the Court Clerk within 14 days of this Recommendation. If no
objections are filed, Judge Marshall can adopt this
Recommendation without independently reviewing the record. By
not objecting, parties may also waive any right to appeal
questions of fact.
August 19, 2014, Gary W. Beckham applied for disability
benefits, alleging disability beginning November 10, 2013.
(Tr. at 41) Mr. Beckham's claims were denied initially
and upon reconsideration. Id. After conducting a
hearing, the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”)
denied Mr. Beckham's application. (Tr. at 51) Mr. Beckham
requested that the Appeals Council review the ALJ's
decision, but that request was denied. (Tr. at 1) Therefore,
the ALJ's decision now stands as the final decision of
the Commissioner. Mr. Beckham filed this case seeking
judicial review of the decision denying him benefits.
The Commissioner's Decision:
found that Mr. Beckham had not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since the onset of his alleged disability, November
10, 2013. (Tr. at 43) At step two of the five-step analysis,
the ALJ found that Mr. Beckham had the following severe
impairments: obesity, hypertension, peripheral neuropathy,
diabetes mellitus, arthropathy, somatoform disorder, alcohol
and substance abuse disorder, personality disorders, anxiety,
and affective disorders. Id.
finding that Mr. Beckham's impairments did not meet or
equal a listed impairment (Tr. at 44), the ALJ determined
that Mr. Beckham had the residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) to perform a full range of sedentary
work, with some limitations. (Tr. at 46) He could only
occasionally stoop, crouch, crawl, and knee; and could only
occasionally reach overhead with the dominant upper
extremity. Id. He further limited him to work where
interpersonal contact is incidental to the work performed,
and the complexity of tasks could be learned within 30 days
by demonstration or repetition. Further, he was limited to
tasks with only few variables that require little judgment
and simple, direct, and concrete supervision. Id.
found that Mr. Beckham was unable to perform any of his past
relevant work. (Tr. at 50) At step five, however, the ALJ
relied on the testimony of a Vocational Expert
(“VE”) to find, after considering Mr.
Beckham's age, education, work experience and RFC, that
he was capable of performing work in the national economy as
basic table worker and paster and cutter of small component
parts. (Tr. at 51) The ALJ determined, therefore, that Mr.
Beckham 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). A Substantial evidence" in this context
means “enough that a reasonable mind would find it
adequate to support he ALJ's decision.” Slusser
v. Astrue, 557 F.3d 923, 925 (8th Cir. 2009)(citation
omitted). In making its determination, 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, Amerely because substantial evidence exists for the
opposite decision." Long v. Chater, 108 F.3d
185, 187 (8th Cir. 1997) (citation omitted).
Beckham's Arguments on Appeal
appeal, Mr. Beckham contends that the ALJ's decision to
deny benefits is not supported by substantial evidence. He
argues that the ALJ should have given more weight to the
opinion of Dr. Samuel Hester, Ph.D.; that the jobs identified
by the VE do not exist in significant numbers in the national
economy; and that the ALJ's credibility finding was
Beckham focuses his argument on his shoulder injury and
mental impairments. According to his medical records, he
complained of shoulder pain as early as July 22, 2013, but a
clinical exam on that date showed normal motor strength in
the shoulder with normal tone in all extremities. (Tr. at
562). Normal findings do not support Mr. ...