United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fort Smith Division
KAILA F. GILBY PLAINTIFF
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Commissioner Social Security Administration DEFENDANT
ERIN L. WIEDEMANN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Kaila F. Gilby, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g), seeking judicial review of a decision of the
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
(Commissioner) denying her claims for period of disability
and disability insurance benefits (DIB) under the provisions
of Title II of the Social Security Act (Act). In this
judicial review, the Court must determine whether there is
substantial evidence in the administrative record to support
the Commissioner's decision. See 42 U.S.C.
application for DIB presently before this Court was
protectively filed on January 4, 2012, alleging an inability
to work since August 27, 2011, due to lower back problems,
asthma and depression. (Tr. 140). For DIB purposes, Plaintiff
maintained insured status through December 31, 2016. (Tr.
143). An administrative hearing was held on December 4, 2012,
at which Plaintiff appeared with counsel and testified. (Tr.
written decision dated March 8, 2013, the ALJ found that
Plaintiff retained the RFC to perform light work with
limitations. (Tr. 19-32, 910-920). The Appeals Council
declined review of the ALJ's decision on November 24,
2014. (Tr. 1-3, 925). Plaintiff appealed this decision in
federal district court.
decision dated July 20, 2015, the Court remanded
Plaintiff's case back to the Commissioner for further
consideration. (Tr. 931-939). The Appeals Council vacated the
ALJ's decision, and remanded Plaintiff's case back to
the ALJ on September 10, 2015. (Tr. 940-942). A supplemental
hearing before the ALJ was held January 21, 2016, at which
Plaintiff appeared with counsel and testified. (Tr. 856-906).
written decision dated January 19, 2017, the ALJ found that
during the relevant time period, Plaintiff had an impairment
or combination of impairments that were severe. (Tr. 837).
Specifically, the ALJ found Plaintiff had the following
severe impairments: degenerative disc disease/osteoarthritis
of the lumbar spine; asthma; obesity; chronic obstructive
pulmonary disease (COPD); history of laparoscopic repair of
hiatal hernia; history of syncope; depressive disorder, not
otherwise specified (NOS); major depressive disorder;
post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); schizoid personality
traits; and borderline personality traits. However, after
reviewing all of the evidence presented, the ALJ determined
that Plaintiff's impairments did not meet or equal the
level of severity of any impairment listed in the Listing of
Impairments found in Appendix I, Subpart P, Regulation No. 4.
(Tr. 837). The ALJ found Plaintiff retained the residual
functional capacity (RFC) to:
perform sedentary work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(a)
except she can occasionally balance, stoop, kneel, crouch,
crawl, and climb ramps and stairs. However, she should never
climb ladders/ropes/scaffolds. The claimant should avoid even
moderate exposure to temperature extremes, wetness, humidity,
fumes/odors/dusts/gases/poor ventilation. She should avoid
concentrated exposure to hazards including no driving as part
of work. The claimant is further able to perform simple,
routine, repetitive tasks in setting where interpersonal
contact is incidental to work performed and the supervision
required is simple, direct and concrete.
(Tr. 841). With the help of a vocational expert, the ALJ
determined Plaintiff could perform work as a small products
assembler and a document preparer. (Tr. 849).
Plaintiff filed this action. (Doc. 1). This case is before
the undersigned pursuant to the consent of the parties. (Doc.
5). Both parties have filed appeal briefs, and the case is
now ready for decision. (Docs. 15, 16).
Court's role is to determine whether the
Commissioner's findings are supported by substantial
evidence on the record as a whole. Ramirez v.
Barnhart, 292 F.3d 576, 583 (8th Cir. 2002). Substantial
evidence is less than a preponderance but it is enough that a
reasonable mind would find it adequate to support the
Commissioner's decision. The ALJ's decision must be
affirmed if the record contains substantial evidence to
support it. Edwards v. Barnhart, 314 F.3d 964, 966
(8th Cir. 2003). 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. Haley v. Massanari, 258 F.3d 742, 747
(8th Cir. 2001). In other words, if after reviewing the
record it is possible to draw two inconsistent positions from
the evidence and one of those positions represents the
findings of the ALJ, the decision of the ALJ must be
affirmed. Young v. Apfel, 221 F.3d 1065, 1068 (8th
Court has reviewed the entire transcript and the parties'
briefs. For the reasons stated in the ALJ's well-reasoned
opinion and the Government's brief, the Court finds
Plaintiff's arguments on appeal to be without merit and
finds that the record as a whole reflects substantial
evidence to support the ALJ's decision. Accordingly, the
ALJ's decision is hereby summarily affirmed and
Plaintiff's Complaint is dismissed with prejudice.
See Sledge v. Astrue, No. 08-0089, 2008 WL ...