United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, El Dorado Division
BARRY A. BRYANT, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Marshall Daniels (“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 application for Supplemental
Security Income (“SSI”) under Title XVI of the
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. 7. Pursuant to this authority, the Court
issues this memorandum opinion and orders the entry of a
final judgment in this matter.
protectively filed his disability application on August 5,
2014. (Tr. 362). In this application, Plaintiff alleges being
disabled due to two surgeries on left shoulder-pop out of
joint; right foot injury; heart attack 2007 stents; diabetes;
2011 balloon surgeries both legs; 2010 hernia repaired; high
blood pressure; neuropathy in feet; acid reflux; and high
cholesterol. (Tr. 578). Plaintiff alleged an onset date of
June 1, 2007. Id. This application was denied
initially and again upon reconsideration. (Tr. 362).
February 25, 2016, Plaintiff had an administrative hearing on
his application. (Tr. 444-475). Plaintiff was present and was
represented by Mary Thomason. Id. Plaintiff and
Vocational Expert (“VE”) Charles Smith, testified
at this hearing. Id. At this hearing, Plaintiff
testified he was fifty-four (54) years old and had a GED.
April 14, 2016, the ALJ entered an unfavorable decision
denying Plaintiff's application. (Tr. 362-371). In this
decision, the ALJ determined Plaintiff had not engaged in
substantial gainful activity (“SGA”) since August
5, 2014, the alleged onset date. (Tr. 364, Finding 1). The
ALJ also found Plaintiff had the following severe
impairments: degenerative joint disease; chronic obstructive
pulmonary disease; peripheral vascular disease; and gout.
(Tr. 364, Finding 2). The ALJ then determined those
impairments did not meet or medically equal the requirements
of any of the Listings of Impairments in Appendix 1 to
Subpart P of Regulations No. 4 (“Listings”). (Tr.
366, Finding 3).
decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined his RFC. (Tr. 366-369). First, the
ALJ indicated she evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and found his claimed limitations were not
entirely credible. Id. Second, the ALJ determined
Plaintiff retained the RFC for light work with restrictions.
evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”). (Tr. 369, Finding 5). The ALJ found
Plaintiff was unable to perform his PRW. Id. The
ALJ, however, also determined there was other work existing
in significant numbers in the national economy Plaintiff
could perform. (Tr. 370, Finding 9). The ALJ based this
determination upon the testimony of the VE. Id.
Specifically, the VE testified that given all Plaintiff's
vocational factors, a hypothetical individual would be able
to perform the requirements of representative occupations
such as price marker with 332, 600 such jobs in the nation
and cafeteria attendant with 268, 381 such jobs in the
nation. Id. Based upon this finding, the ALJ
determined Plaintiff had not been under a disability as
defined by the Act since August 5, 2014. (Tr. 371, Finding
Plaintiff requested the Appeals Council's review of the
ALJ's unfavorable decision. (Tr. 5). The Appeals Council
declined to review this unfavorable decision. (Tr. 1-4). On
July 21, 2017, Plaintiff filed the present appeal. ECF No. 1.
Both Parties have filed appeal briefs. ECF Nos. 13, 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) (2010); 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 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. See Young v. Apfel, 221 F.3d 1065,
1068 (8th Cir. 2000).
well-established that a claimant for Social Security
disability benefits has the burden of proving his or her
disability by establishing a physical or mental disability
that lasted at least one year and that prevents him or her
from engaging in any substantial gainful activity. See
Cox v. Apfel, 160 F.3d 1203, 1206 (8th Cir. 1998); 42
U.S.C. §§ 423(d)(1)(A), 1382c(a)(3)(A). The Act
defines a “physical or mental impairment” as
“an impairment that results from anatomical,
physiological, or psychological abnormalities which are
demonstrable by medically acceptable clinical and laboratory
diagnostic techniques.” 42 U.S.C. §§
423(d)(3), 1382(3)(c). A plaintiff must show that his or her
disability, not simply his or her impairment, has lasted for
at least twelve consecutive months. See 42 U.S.C.
determine whether the adult claimant suffers from a
disability, the Commissioner uses the familiar five-step
sequential evaluation. He determines: (1) whether the
claimant is presently engaged in a “substantial gainful
activity”; (2) whether the claimant has a severe
impairment that significantly limits the claimant's
physical or mental ability to perform basic work activities;
(3) whether the claimant has an impairment that meets or
equals a presumptively disabling impairment listed in the
regulations (if so, the claimant is disabled without regard
to age, education, and work experience); (4) whether the
claimant has the Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) to
perform his or her past relevant work; and (5) if the
claimant cannot perform the past work, the burden shifts to
the Commissioner to prove that there are other jobs in the
national economy that the claimant can perform. See
Cox, 160 F.3d at 1206; 20 C.F.R. ...