United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Texarkana Division
BARRY D. SMITH PLAINTIFF
NANCY A. BERRYHILL Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration DEFENDANT
BARRY A. BRYANT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Smith, (“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 Disability
Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) and Supplemental
Security Income (“SSI”) 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 application for DIB and SSI on March
21, 2011. (Tr. 145). In these applications, Plaintiff alleges
being disabled due to diabetes, atrial flutter, high blood
pressure, depression, and anxiety. (Tr. 511). These
applications were denied initially and again upon
reconsideration. (Tr. 145). Thereafter, Plaintiff requested
an administrative hearing, and that hearing request was
granted. (Tr. 262-275).
initial administrative hearing was held on December 10, 2012.
(Tr. 166-192). Following this hearing, the ALJ issued a
decision finding Plaintiff not disabled. (Tr. 224-233). On
August 27, 2014, the Appeals Council granted review and
remanded this matter for further proceedings. (Tr. 239-244).
second administrative hearing was held on October 27, 2015.
(Tr. 193-216). At this hearing, Plaintiff was present and was
represented by counsel, Greg Giles. Id. Plaintiff
and Vocational Expert (“VE”) Harris Rowzie
testified at the hearing. Id.
March 18, 2016, the ALJ entered an unfavorable decision
denying Plaintiff's application for DIB and SSI. (Tr.
145-157). In this decision, the ALJ determined the Plaintiff
last met the insured status requirements of the Act through
December 31, 2011. (Tr. 148, Finding 1). The ALJ then
determined Plaintiff had not engaged in Substantial Gainful
Activity (“SGA”) since January 1, 2007. (Tr. 148,
also found Plaintiff had the following severe impairments:
hypertension, diabetes mellitus (type I), atrial
fibrillation, and atrial flutter (Tr. 148, Finding 3).
Despite being severe, the ALJ 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. 151, Finding
decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined his RFC. (Tr. 151, Finding 5).
First, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and found his claimed limitations were not
entirely credible. Id. Second, the ALJ determined
Plaintiff retained the RFC to perform the full range of
sedentary work. Id.
evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”). (Tr. 156, Finding 6). The ALJ determined
Plaintiff was capable of performing his PRW as a
dispatcher. Id. Based upon this finding, the ALJ
determined Plaintiff had not been under a disability as
defined by the Act from January 1, 2007 through the date of
the decision. (Tr. 156, Finding 7).
Plaintiff requested the Appeals Council's review of the
ALJ's decision. (Tr. 465-467). The Appeals Council denied
this request for review. (Tr. 1-5). On August 10, 2017,
Plaintiff filed the present appeal. ECF No. 1. Both Parties
have filed appeal briefs. ECF Nos. 11, 14. This case is now
ready for decision.
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. §§