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Tyous v. Berryhill

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Texarkana Division

June 28, 2018

DELSHON MARICE TYOUS, SR. PLAINTIFF
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration DEFENDANT

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          HON. BARRY A. BRYANT, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Delshon Marice Tyous, Sr. (“Plaintiff”) brings this action pro se 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 Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”), Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”), and a period of disability under Titles II and XVI of the Act.

         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. 4.[1] Pursuant to this authority, the Court issues this memorandum opinion and orders the entry of a final judgment in this matter.

         1.Background:

         Plaintiff protectively filed his disability applications on May 18, 2007. (Tr. 10). In these applications, Plaintiff alleges he was disabled due to lower back pain and pain in his lower right leg. (Tr. 666). Plaintiff alleges an onset date of November 15, 2006. (Tr. 10). These applications were denied initially and again upon reconsideration. (Tr. 45-48).

         Thereafter, Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing on his applications, and this hearing request was granted. (Tr. 20-44). Plaintiff's first administrative hearing was held on February 18, 2009 in Texarkana, Arkansas. (Tr. 20-44). Thereafter, on May 21, 2009, the ALJ entered a fully unfavorable decision on Plaintiff's disability applications. (Tr. 7-19). The ALJ then entered two additional unfavorable disability determinations. (Tr. 372-402). Plaintiff sought review of those disability determinations, and the ALJ subsequently held two administrative hearings. (Tr. 261-339).

         Thereafter, on November 17, 2016, the ALJ entered a fully unfavorable decision on Plaintiff's disability applications. (Tr. 240-253). In this decision, the ALJ found Plaintiff met the insured status requirements of the Act through December 31, 2011. (Tr. 246, Finding 1). The ALJ found Plaintiff had not engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity (“SGA”) since November 15, 2006, his alleged onset date. (Tr. 246, Finding 2). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had the following severe impairment: left spinal stenosis. (Tr. 246-247, Finding 3). The ALJ, however, also determined Plaintiff did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that met or medically equaled one of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. (Tr. 248, Finding 4).

         In this decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective complaints and determined his RFC. (Tr. 248-251, Finding 5). First, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective complaints and determined they were not entirely credible. Id. Second, the ALJ determined Plaintiff retained the RFC for the following:

After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b) except he can occasionally stoop, crouch, crawl and kneel; cannot climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds; can occasionally climb stairs and ramps; is unable to balance on narrow or moving surfaces, but he is able to balance frequently on level surfaces; and cannot work in proximity to unprotected heights and dangerous moving machinery.

Id.

         The ALJ determined Plaintiff was thirty-three (33) years old on his alleged disability onset date. (Tr. 251, Finding 7). Such an individual is characterized as a “younger individual” under 20 C.F.R. § 404.1563(c) and 416.963(c). Id. The ALJ also determined Plaintiff had at least a high school education and was able to communicate in English. (Tr. 251, Finding 8).

         The ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work (“PRW”) and determined he was unable to perform any of his PRW. (Tr. 251, Finding 6). The ALJ did, however, determine Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform other work existing in significant numbers in the national economy. (Tr. 251-252, Finding 10). The VE testified at the administrative hearing regarding this issue. Id. Based upon that testimony, the ALJ found Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform unskilled, light work such as work as a hotel housekeeper with 138, 073 such jobs in the nation and cashier II with 823, 360 such jobs in the nation. Id.

         Because Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform this other work, the ALJ determined Plaintiff had not been under a disability, as defined in the Act, from November 15, 2006 through the date of his decision or through November 22, 2016. (Tr. 252, Finding 11). Thereafter, the ALJ entered a follow-up unfavorable decision, entitled “Amended Decision, ” adopting the same findings as were outlined in the November 17, 2016 decision. (Tr. 217-230). That Amended Decision was entered on April 26, 2017. Id.

         Plaintiff requested that the Appeals Council's review the ALJ's unfavorable disability determination. (Tr. 216). On August 22, 2017, Plaintiff filed the present pro se appeal. ECF No. 1. The Parties consented to the jurisdiction of this Court on August 22, 2017. ECF No. 4. Both Parties ...


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