United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, El Dorado Division
SAMUEL J. BRYAN PLAINTIFF
NANCY A. BERRYHILL Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration DEFENDANT
BARRY A. BRYANT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
J. Bryan (“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 Disability
Insurance Benefits (“DIB”), Supplemental Security
Income (“SSI”), 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. 5. 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 applications on July 28,
2014 (DIB) and on February 28, 2015 (SSI). (Tr. 20). In his
applications, Plaintiff alleges being disabled due to
blindness in his left eye since birth, ulnar nerve
dysfunction in his left arm, post-concussion syndrome,
post-traumatic arthritis, and migraine headaches. (Tr. 159).
In both applications, Plaintiff alleged an onset date of
September 24, 2000. (Tr. 20). These applications were denied
initially and again upon reconsideration. (Tr. 39-57).
Plaintiff's applications were denied, Plaintiff requested
an administrative hearing on his applications, and this
hearing request was granted. (Tr. 126). Plaintiff's
administrative hearing was held on February 24, 2016 in El
Dorado, Arkansas. (Tr. 441-473). During this hearing,
Plaintiff and Vocational Expert (“VE”) Charles
Edward Smith testified. Id.
March 29, 2016, after the administrative hearing, the ALJ
entered a fully unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's
applications. (Tr. 17-34). The ALJ determined Plaintiff met
the insured status requirements of the Act through March 31,
2007. (Tr. 22, Finding 1). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had
not engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity
(“SGA”) since September 24, 2000, his alleged
onset date. (Tr. 22, Finding 2). The ALJ determined Plaintiff
had the following severe impairments: reduced visual acuity
in the left eye and mild cervical degenerative disk disease.
(Tr. 22-27, Finding 3). The ALJ, however, also determined
Plaintiff did not have an impairment or combination of
impairments that met or medically equaled any of the listed
impairments or “Listings” in 20 CFR Part 404,
Subpart P, Appendix 1. (Tr. 27-28, Finding 4).
determined Plaintiff was thirty-eight (38) years old, which
is defined as a “younger person” under 20 C.F.R.
§ 416.963(c) (2008) (SSI) and 20 C.F.R. §
404.1563(c) (2008) (DIB). (Tr. 448). As for his education,
the ALJ determined Plaintiff had completed high school but
had received no additional training beyond high school. (Tr.
then evaluated Plaintiff's subjective complaints and
assessed his Residual Functional Capacity
(“RFC”). (Tr. 17-34). After assessing his
subjective complaints, the ALJ determined his allegations
were not entirely credible and found he retained the
After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual
functional capacity to perform medium work as defined in 20
CFR 404.1567(c) and 416.967(c) with the exceptions listed
herein. He can occasionally push/pull hand controls on the
left; occasionally climb ramps/stairs; never climb
ladders/ropes/scaffolds; never balance; never be exposed to
hazards, such as unprotected heights, dangerous machinery,
and operating motor vehicles; he could avoid ordinary hazards
in the work place; he can perform work that does not require
good depth perception; and he should not be exposed to
Id. The ALJ then evaluated Plaintiff's Past
Relevant Work (“PRW”). (Tr. 32-33, Finding 6).
Based upon his RFC and PRW, the ALJ determined Plaintiff
remained capable of performing his PRW as a cook helper and
waiter because this “work does not require the
performance of work-related activities precluded by the
claimant's residual functional capacity.” (Tr.
32-33, Finding 6). Based upon this finding, the ALJ
determined Plaintiff had not been under a disability, as
defined by the Act, from September 24, 2000 through the date
of her decision or through April 1, 2016. (Tr. 33, Finding
Plaintiff requested the review of the Appeals Council. On
March 9, 2017, the Appeals Council denied this request for
review. (Tr. 1-4). On April 18, 2017, Plaintiff filed his
Complaint in this matter. ECF No. 1. The Parties consented to
the jurisdiction of this Court on April 18, 2017. ECF No. 5.
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 ...