United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Jonesboro Division
Michelle Rogers, applied for disability benefits on July 24,
2014, alleging a disability onset date of June 30, 2009. (Tr.
at 15). That application was denied at the initial and
reconsideration levels. Id. After conducting a
hearing, the Administrative Law Judge denied Rogers's
claim. (Tr. at 26). The Appeals Council denied Rogers's
request for review. (Tr. at 1). The ALJ's decision now
stands as the final decision of the Commissioner, and Rogers
has requested judicial review.
reasons stated below, the Court affirms the decision of the
The Commissioner=s Decision:
found that Rogers had not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since the alleged onset date of June 30, 2009. (Tr.
at 17). At Step Two of the sequential five-step analysis, the
ALJ found that Rogers has the following severe impairments:
diabetes mellitus, obesity, status post left leg injury,
major depression, and anxiety. Id.
Three, the ALJ determined that Rogers's impairments did
not meet or equal a listed impairment. (Tr. at 18). Before
proceeding to Step Four, the ALJ determined that Rogers had
the residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to
perform the full range of work at the light level, except
that: (1) she cannot frequently bend, crouch, or climb; (2)
she can only perform work where interpersonal contact is
incidental to the work performed, the complexity of tasks is
learned and performed by rote, involves few variables,
requires little independent judgment, and the supervision
required is simple, direct, and concrete; (3) and she cannot
deal with the general public. (Tr. at 21)
next determined that Rogers had no past relevant work. (Tr.
at 24). Relying upon the testimony of a Vocational Expert
(“VE”), the ALJ found that, based on Rogers's
age, education, work experience and RFC, there are jobs that
exist in significant numbers in the national economy that she
can perform, specifically stamper and cleaner/polisher. (Tr.
at 25). Therefore, the ALJ found that Rogers was not
disabled. (Tr. at 26).
of Review The 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 less than a preponderance but more than a
scintilla. Slusser v. Astrue, 557 F.3d 923, 925 (8th
Cir. 2009). In other words, it is “enough that a
reasonable mind would find it adequate to support the
ALJ's decision.” Id. (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) (quoting Johnson v.
Chater, 87 F.3d 1015, 1017 (8th Cir. 1996)).
Arguments on Appeal Rogers contends that substantial evidence
does not support the ALJ's decision to deny benefits. She
argues that the ALJ failed to fully develop the record and
that the RFC for light work exceeded her physical
capabilities. For the following reasons, the Court finds that
substantial evidence supports the ALJ's decision.
it is clear that Rogers has dealt with some mental health
problems for some time. She reported auditory hallucinations
and panic attacks in September 2008 during a five-day
inpatient stay at Mid-South Health Systems. (Tr. at 844-845).
Discharge diagnosis was chronic PTSD and anxiety disorder.
was admitted to St. Bernard's Hospital for attempted
suicide on September 5, 2008. (Tr. at 520-534, 640-648). She
was placed on suicide precautions. Id. She was
discharged three days later with prescriptions for
Clonazepam, Effexor, Trazadone, and Abilify. Id. She
was urged to follow up with mental health treatment. There is
no record that she did so, and on September 28, 2009, Rogers
was admitted to Pemiscot Memorial Hospital for major
depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder,