United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Texarkana Division
BARRY A. BRYANT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Trotter (“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. 6. Pursuant to this authority, the Court
issues this memorandum opinion and orders the entry of a
final judgment in this matter.
Court previously entered an opinion in Plaintiff's
case. See Johnson v. SSA, 4:08-cv-04032
(W.D. Ark. June 10, 2009). In that opinion, the Court
reversed and remanded Plaintiff's case for further
consideration of the Polaski factors. Id.
Since the time of that remand, the ALJ held an additional
administrative hearing on September 27, 2016. (Tr. 543-570).
Thereafter, the ALJ entered an additional unfavorable
decision. (Tr. 345-355). This is the decision currently on
appeal before the Court.
decision, the ALJ found Plaintiff met the insured status
requirements of the Act through June 30, 2006. (Tr. 348,
Finding 1). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had not engaged in
Substantial Gainful Activity (“SGA”) since August
21, 2003, his alleged onset date. (Tr. 348, Finding 2). The
ALJ determined Plaintiff had the following severe
impairments: fibromyalgia, cervical and lumbar strains,
irritable bowel syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome, depression,
and anxiety. (Tr. 348, Finding 3). The ALJ, however, also
determined Plaintiff did not have an impairment or
combination of impairments that met or medically equaled one
of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P,
Appendix 1. (Tr. 349-350, Finding 4).
decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined his RFC. (Tr. 350-354, Finding 5).
First, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined they were not entirely credible.
Id. Second, the ALJ determined Plaintiff retained
the RFC for 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 that he can
occasionally stoop, crouch, crawl and kneel; cannot climb
ladders, ropes or scaffolds; can occasionally climb stairs
and ramps; is unable to balance on narrow or moving surfaces,
but is able to balance occasionally on level machinery; can
use either upper extremity frequently but not continuously
for reaching, handling, fingering and feeling; can
understand, remember and carry out short, simple
instructions; can perform simple, routine tasks; can make
simple work-related decisions; can tolerate few if any
workplace changes; and would be able to tolerate occasional
interaction with coworkers, supervisors, and the general
evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”) and determined he was unable to perform
his PRW. (Tr. 354, Finding 6). The ALJ did, however,
determine Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform other
work existing in significant numbers in the national economy.
(Tr. 354-355, Finding 10). The ALJ based this determination
upon the testimony of the VE. Id.
the VE testified that a hypothetical person with
Plaintiff's limitations retained the capacity to perform
work such as (1) addressing clerk with 81, 300 such jobs in
the national economy; (2) surveillance system monitor with
113, 020 such jobs in the national economy; and (3) pneumatic
tube operator with 71, 760 such jobs in the national economy.
(Tr. 355). Because Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform
this other work existing in significant numbers in the
national economy, the ALJ determined Plaintiff was not under
a “disability, ” as defined by the Act, at any
time through the date of his decision. (Tr. 355, Finding 11).
12, 2017, Plaintiff filed the present appeal. ECF No. 1. The
Parties consented to the jurisdiction of this Court on May
16, 2017. ECF No. 6. Both Parties have filed appeal briefs.
ECF Nos. 12, 14. 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) (2006); 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 ...